PRIME MINISTER David Cameron used his Welsh Conservative conference speech – in the year of an Assembly Election – to push for continued EU membership.
This may have seemed an interesting choice, given the party’s internal split on the issue, and more so because Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies is a confirmed ‘outer’.
Mr Davies did not mention the EU referendum in his speech, and nor did fellow sceptics like David Davies. However, Mr Cameron devoted more air time to the issue than to May’s election.
Mr Cameron is rumoured to be less-than-pleased with Mr Davies’ public announcement that he would be campaigning to leave the EU, and the leader of the party in Wales was referred to once, briefly, in a list below Junior Wales Minister Alun Cairns.
In a lengthy part of his speech (around 1,200 words) the Prime Minister explained how ‘Brexit’ would have a devastating impact on the people of Wales, especially the ones who own farms.
Mr Cameron, who earlier posed for a number of pictures with a lamb, pointed out that 97% of lamb exports went to the EU, but these exports ‘could be slapped with a 40% trade tariff.’
“Let’s just take one example – agriculture,” he said.
“Welsh farmers and food producers rely on the single market.
“It gives them access to 500 million consumers, to whom they can sell their goods on an open, unrestricted basis.
“No tariffs, no barriers, no bogus health and safety rules designed to keep our products out.
“If we left this single market and relied on WTO rules, as some suggest, the extra costs of exporting British beef would be £240m a year.
“An extra £90m would be added to the cost of British lamb exports.
“And just think what that would mean for Wales, where almost 50,000 jobs rely on agriculture, and where the EU accounts for over 90 per cent of Welsh agriculture exports.
“98 per cent of dairy products go to the EU – but outside the single market they could attract a new 36% tariff.
“92% of beef exports go to the EU – and tariffs there could be between 58 and 70 per cent.
“Welsh lamb, such an important export and a source of national pride, would be hit badly.
“97% of lamb exports go to the EU, but lamb could be slapped with a 40 per cent tariff.
“Now of course relying on WTO rules is just one option that people advocate.
“We could go for a Canadian-style free trade deal instead.
“Now let’s note that for a moment that seven years on from the start of talks on a Canadian Free Trade deal, that deal is still not in place.
“Think about the seven years of uncertainty for business, not knowing what the arrangement would be for trading with Europe.
“Seven years of uncertainty for our farmers, not knowing whether those markets would be open.
“Seven years of uncertainty for businesses wanting to invest in Britain to provide jobs and investment and livelihoods not knowing what our relationship would be with Europe.
“Those seven years of uncertainty – they cannot be justified. They cannot be in our national interest and we should reject that idea out of hand.
“But in that scenario, there would also be quotas and restrictions.
“A free trade deal would mean limits on how many tonnes of meat we could export, and very high extra costs and restrictions for goods over that limit.
“Those asking us to leave seem to think that those countries we would have just left will give us some sort of sweetheart deal.
“But why would French farmers not want a slice of the market share of Welsh sheep farmers or beef farmers?
“Why wouldn’t the Italians want to give a greater advantage to their cheesemakers?
Why wouldn’t the Spanish use the negotiation to help their pig farmers?
“Now, the leavers say we should trade more with the rest of the world.
“Of course we should – and we will. But no-one should be naive about how easy this is.”
Mr Cameron referred to leaving the EU as ‘a leap in the dark’ a phrase commonly derided by those who believe in ‘Project Fear’.
He suggested that Wales had an ‘open, dynamic, confident, successful’ future as part of the EU, and suggested that leaving could have a negative impact:
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that Welsh agriculture, Welsh farmers and Welsh jobs could suffer enormously if we left the single market it’s just a fact,” he said.
“And I do think we’re entitled to a few facts from the other side – from those who want us to leave.
“They’re asking us to trust that leaving would somehow be worth the profound economic shock, and the years of uncertainty that would follow.
“They say we’d have more control.
Senedd praise for Llanelli Youth Voluntary Group.
Plaid Cymru’s Helen Mary Jones MS praised the work of Llanelli-based CYCA, Connecting Youth, Children and Adults in the Senedd.
The Mid and West MS took the opportunity of a 90 second statement in the Senedd to congratulate the organisation on 40 years of working in Carmarthenshire.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister Helen Mary Jones Mid and West MS said:
“It was my privilege last week to visit, with my colleague Adam Price, a wonderful Llanelli-based organisation, CYCA—formerly the Carmarthenshire Youth and Children’s Association, now Connecting Youth, Children and Adults.
“I have known of and supported CYCA’s work for almost 20 years, and it was really inspiring to see how they’ve gone from strength to strength supporting children, young people and families in these challenging times, and this year, they celebrate their fortieth birthday.
“It would be easier to list what CYCA doesn’t do in the field than what they do, such is the breadth of their work. They run nurseries and youth groups, education and training courses, they provide counselling and individual support, and support for families. We were particularly impressed with the stories of two young mothers who, through CYCA, had not only received support with the challenges of isolation and family life, but had also been able to get back into education; one starts her training as a midwife this week.
“And we were struck, too, by an innovative social prescribing scheme where GPs refer children and young people experiencing distress to CYCA. The team then work with the whole family, identifying support needs and providing whatever is needed—counselling, parenting support, support at school—and this support lasts as long as the children and family need it.
“It’s already proving very successful, with young people’s well-being greatly enhanced. One service user said to me many years ago, ‘The thing about CYCA is that they never give up on you’. And they don’t. CYCA never gives up on a child, a young person, a vulnerable adult or a family. We are lucky to have them in our town, our county and our community. Pen-blwydd hapus iawn, CYCA. I’m looking forward to seeing what you get up to in the next 40 years.”
Llanelli thanked for all their efforts to help control the spread of Covid-19
RESIDENTS in Llanelli are being thanked for all their efforts to help control the spread of Covid-19 – almost a week after new local restrictions were introduced.
A large part of Llanelli has been designated a ‘health protection zone’ following a large increase in Covid-19 cases in the area.
The temporary restrictions were introduced on Saturday, September 26 in a bid to halt the spread of the virus and to protect people’s health.
Council Leader Emlyn Dole has praised locals for changing their behaviour and adhering to the new restrictions.
However, it is still very early days and residents, not only in Llanelli, but across Carmarthenshire are being urged to please continue to follow the advice around social distancing, washing hands, face coverings, self-isolation and testing.
Anyone who has a positive Covid-19 result or has been in contact with someone with confirmed Covid-19 will receive a call from the Test, Trace Protect team on this number 02921 961133. Residents are being urged to please answer the phone. If you do miss a call, the team will continue to try and reach you. Calls from this number are outbound only, so you will need to wait for a call back.
In the last week, the council’s enforcement team, with support from Dyfed-Powys Police, has visited more than 100 business premises to offer advice and support. The majority of businesses are compliant, however, there is a small minority of licensed premises who have failed to put appropriate measures in place. As a result, a total of seven closure notices and five improvement notices have been issued for breaches of coronavirus regulations.
Cllr Dole said: “I cannot thank residents enough for all they are doing to protect their loved ones, their families and friends. I can assure you that all your efforts and sacrifices will make a big difference.
“It is vital we keep on following the rules and do all we can to stop the spread, we all have a part to play in this, and together we will come through it.
“Please follow the advice on self-isolation and if you have any symptoms get a test; we are working closely with the health board and they have increased testing capacity in the town so there is no need to travel far. And those residents that do test positive, please work with our TTP teams so that we can trace anyone you may have come into contact with. This is now part of our ‘new normal’, and people should not be alarmed, but should listen carefully to their advice.
“As promised, we have increased our monitoring and enforcement and we are grateful to local businesses who, on the whole, are providing a safe environment for their customers. And where they have fallen short, action has been taken.
“We will continue to monitor the infection rates, the effectiveness of the measures that have been introduced and the compliance of residents and businesses, working closely with our key partners, Welsh Government and Public Health Wales.
“We know what we need to do to stop the spread, and together we will beat this and Keep Carmarthenshire safe.”
It will take some time before these restrictions have an impact on the number of cases in the area, so it is important residents do not become complacent.
They will be reviewed every two weeks. The main restrictions are:
- people will not be allowed to enter or leave the defined area of Llanelli without a reasonable excuse
- people will no longer be able to form, or be in, an extended household (sometimes called a “bubble”)
- this means meeting indoors with anyone who is not part of your household (people you live with) is not allowed at the moment, unless you have a good reason, such as providing care to a vulnerable person
- all licensed premises must stop serving alcohol at 10pm, and will have to close at 10.20pm
- people must work from home wherever possible
Increased testing capacity for residents in Llanelli is available by appointment at the following locations:
- Parc y Scarlets Car Park B, accessed via Trostre Retail Park, in Llanelli
- The Ty’r Nant site (next to KFC), Trostre, Llanelli
- The Carmarthen showground (signposted in both directions off the A40)
Tests should be booked via the UK Portal. Any Llanelli residents experiencing difficulty booking a test locally via the UK portal can instead email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0300 333 2222.
Visit carmarthenshire.gov.wales/localrestrictions for further information, including some Frequently Asked Questions and to find out if you live in the restricted area.
The latest increase in coronavirus in Wales is ‘sobering’ says First Minister
THE FIRST MINISTER, Mark Drakeford has criticised the lack of communication with the UK government as he gave a briefing on what he described as the “sobering” increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalisation in Wales.
The infection rate in Wales has risen to 23.6 infections for every 100k people as cases have spiked in areas including Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly and Newport.
Hospitalisations remain low but are rising, with five people currently in intensive care with Covid-19 and and 53 Covid patients on all hospital wards, according to the latest data from Public Health Wales from Sunday, September 13.
Mr Drakeford said that the number of people in hospital with coronavirus had risen to 41 with four people in intensive care.
He also said that the R number in Wales was almost certainly now above one – meaning the virus is spreading exponentially again. The latest estimate, he said, was between 0.7 and 1.2.
Mr Drakeford said: “In this most difficult week, there has been no meeting offered to First Ministers of any sort. Since the 28 May, there has been just one brief telephone call from the Prime Minister.
“This is simply unacceptable to anyone who believes that we ought to be facing the coronavirus crisis together.
“We need a regular, reliable, rhythm of engagement: a reliable meeting even once a week would be a start. I make this argument not because we should all do the same things, but because being round the same table allows each of us to make the best decisions for the nations we represent.
“There is a vacancy at the heart of the United Kingdom, and it needs urgently to be filled, so we can talk to each other, share information, pool ideas and demonstrate a determination that the whole of the country can face these challenges together at this most difficult time.”
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