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Welsh Lib Dems plan to stimulate the rural economy

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Welsh Lib Dems plan to stimulate the rural economyNot enough is being done to help the economic recovery in rural Wales, the Welsh Liberal Democrats will claim in their Assembly debate on Wednesday.

The Shadow Economy Minister, Eluned Parrott and Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, William Powell, will lead a debate calling on the Welsh Government to implement a three point plant to get the rural economy back on track.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the Welsh Government to:

· examine a community bank structure to sustain the presence of local banks in rural communities, and to work with credit unions to increase lending to businesses;

· work with businesses in the agricultural, renewable energy and tourism sectors to identify ways to overcome barriers to increasing the supply of rural apprenticeships;

· make universal access to broadband an obligation for providers and to work with Ofcom and network operators to investigate the shared provision of infrastructure in rural areas to maximise coverage. William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Rural Affairs Minister said:

“As an Assembly Member that represents a huge rural region, I speak to many small and medium size businesses and they tell me that they feel that they are being left behind in the economic recovery. The rural economy faces significant challenges that urban areas do often do not encounter.

“Given Labour’s lack of understanding about the needs and concerns of rural Wales, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on this government to implement a three point plan to give rural Wales a fighting chance of coming out of the economic downturn stronger. We want to see the Welsh Government examine how rural SMEs can have better access to finance, more apprenticeship opportunities and have increased access to the internet.

“In terms of banking services, rural Wales has endured a substantial number of branch closures. For our economy to grow it is essential that residents and small business owners have full and proper access to banking services just like any other part of the UK.

“Unfortunately, due to the rate of closures and a woefully inadequate broadband network, this is increasingly not the case – most notably across rural Wales. The Welsh Government must act swiftly to address this, and fully explore innovative options of branch management and ownership.

“It is a sad fact that Wales has a large proportion of premises in potential not-spots and the lowest availability of superfast broadband services. The majority of these premises are in rural Wales. “Broadband is key to everyday, business activities, from contacting customers, ordering supplies, sourcing new tariffs for energy and services or managing finances. Inadequate internet and mobile connections mean that many businesses in Mid and West Wales may be getting left behind, missing out on the benefits of being able to compete in new and wider markets.”

Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Economy Minister said:

“Jobs and economic growth remain a priority for the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

“It is vitally important that all parts of Wales, urban and rural, benefit from the economic recovery. For that to happen, Wales needs an economic plan which recognises the specific challenges and opportunities in rural areas.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that apprenticeships must play a key part in healing our economy. While there has been an increase in businesses expressing an interest in apprenticeships, this trend has been less apparent in rural areas. This must change. The Welsh Labour Government needs to be encouraging employers in all parts of Wales to take on apprentices and to show the benefits that this can bring.

“Sadly, according to Welsh Government statistics, the number of apprenticeships in Wales has decreased. We need to be giving people the skills that will allow them to build a career and become part of a high-skill, high-value economy in Wales for the future.”

 

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Pembroke Dock: Armed police ‘make arrests’

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ARMED POLICE were seen entering a flat at Arthur Street in Pembroke Dock at around 6pm on Sunday evening (Jul 5). Witnesses at the scene say they saw two people arrested in an operation involving around six police vehicles.

There are also reports that there was armed police activity at The Terrace, also in Pembroke Dock.

We have contacted the police for an official statement.

Police had left the scene by 7pm.

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Show your appreciation and thoughts for the NHS and key workers

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PEOPLE around the UK are being urged to celebrate and commemorate health, care and other essential workers this weekend to mark the 72nd birthday of the NHS, says UNISON today (Thursday).

It will culminate in what is hoped to be the biggest ever clap for carers on Sunday (5 July) as the country shows its appreciation for the health service and those who have been keeping people safe throughout the pandemic.

UNISON has become a partner in the /Together coalition, which has the goal of healing divisions in society and reuniting communities over the course of the next decade. It is backed by NHS bodies, businesses, civil society organisations and celebrities.

On Saturday evening (4 July), the group is calling on everyone to commemorate coronavirus victims, whether key workers or members of the public, by putting a light or LED candle in their window to show support.

Then at 5pm on Sunday, the anniversary of the NHS’ creation, people across the UK are encouraged to join the biggest ever ‘clap for carers’ to thank all key workers, as well as safely raise a cup of tea – or a drink of their choice – with their neighbours. UNISON also hopes that everyone will act responsibly.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “As a society we’re living through troubled times, and sadly we’re not out of the woods yet. Communities and families have been devastated by the virus, which has taken too many lives, kept loved ones apart and made people fear for the future.

“But we can come together, as demonstrated by the weekly claps from our doorsteps and balconies showing our appreciation for those who’ve been keeping us safe.

“This is an opportunity to give thanks and thoughts for all those who’ve lost their lives, as well as recognising the wonders of the health service, social care sector and other essential public services.

“As the lockdown eases, we must all remain careful; behaving sensibly is vital, if the NHS is to be protected and the virus is to be kept at bay.

“This weekend is all about celebrating and showing appreciation for our wonderful NHS.”

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Broad Haven: Car overturns in wet weather on B4341

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A CAR overturned in the wet weather on the B4341 Haverfordwest to Broad Haven road on Friday evening (Jul 3).

First on the scene, local Stephen Hughes told The Herald: “I was driving along and noticed a car had overturned on the Broad Haven Road past the left turning for Tiers Cross. I stopped and checked to see if everyone as okay.

“No one was injured, and I stayed until the police arrived.”

Police directed traffic and assisted with the recovery of the vehicle.

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