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MPs debate future of local papers

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PARLIAMENT’s back benchers will debate the future of local newspapers in Westminster next week. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called for local newspapers to encourage their local MPs to attend the debate and ‘argue for their local paper’.

In a letter to local journals the NUJ state the case that cuts to jobs and closures to local newspapers have resulted in a loss of 5,000 editorial roles in local and regional press. The union state clearly that they see this as a threat to local democracy, as local politicians are then not being held to account and voters, as a result, are not being given a range of views, resulting in a deprivation of information required to make informed judgements when voting in elections.

They go on to say that, ‘digital newsrooms are transforming the way journalists are expected to work. Despite taking on many changes, journalists have not seen their pay improve and are experiencing heavy workloads because they are expected to bring in stories, cover events, produce videos and podcasts and use social media’.

A spokesperson for the NUJ said: “Local newspapers and their websites are the most trusted form of the media, read by more than 30 million people each week. Readers expect their local newspaper to be their watchdog, keeping tabs on the decisions made by local politicians, defending local services, supporting the local football team and giving a voice to the community.”

As a result the NUJ have called for: A short, sharp national inquiry into the state of local news; local papers to become community assets to prevent newspaper titles closing overnight and to give potential new owners, including local co-operatives, the time to put together a bid for the paper; action to stem the job cuts and attacks on quality journalism and research into new models for local journalism, levies, tax breaks and other measures to fund community journalism.

Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli, told The Herald: “Local newspapers make a very valuable contribution to our communities and are a vital part of our democracy. They keep people informed of what is happening in their locality and provide an excellent means for people from all sections of the community to have a voice. Good local reporters keep our local public bodies on their toes, asking pertinent questions about how they are spending our money, and making sure they know what local people think of them. I for one certainly value our local papers, even when they take me to task – that’s part and parcel of their role!”

Member of Parliament for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Simon Hart, also stated: “Our local papers in this area have always provided high quality information and news coverage and have adapted incredibly well to changing technology, as well as the evolving tastes and requirements of readers. Being married to a former local news journalist I am always keen to support our local papers and respect their independence.”

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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital

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WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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M4 closed westbound following lorry fire near Swansea

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A SECTION of the M4 near Swansea was shut on Monday (Aug 8) due to a vehicle fire.

The westbound section of the motorway, between junction 47 at Penllergaer and junction 48 at Hendy closed.

Emergency services were called to the scene, and there was queuing traffic in the area.

Traffic monitoring service Inrix reported: “M4 Westbound closed, queueing traffic due to vehicle fire between J47 A48 (Penllergaer / Swansea West Services) and J48 A4138 Pontardulais Road”

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Police appeal after Llanelli assault: victim required hospital treatment

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DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating an assault which occurred on Regalia Terrace, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire at about 12.05am, Sunday 3rd July.

The victim required hospital treatment.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the person in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the person is, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DP-20220703-011

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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