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First Minister highlights importance of childcare

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Flying visit: The First Minister chats with a parent and two members of staff at the Flying Start Centre

Flying visit: The First Minister chats with a parent and two members of staff at the Flying Start Centre

FIRST MINISTER Carwyn Jones today visited a Flying Start centre in Pembrokeshire to highlight Labour’s pledge to introduce 10 extra hours of free childcare for working parents of three and four year olds if Labour wins May’s General Election.

Labour investment contrasts with the Tories who have slashed funding for Sure Start provision in England resulting in the loss of 40,000 childcare places and the closure of 720 Sure Start centres.

Carwyn Jones AM, said: “These are difficult times for many families in Wales, with parents working hard in order to make ends meet. Labour’s plans to introduce 10 extra hours of free childcare for working parents of three and four year olds will be a huge relief to those struggling to balance family time and work.

“We know too that the lack of affordable childcare can be a barrier to mums returning to work. In Wales we have recognised this and have invested in Foundation Phase scheme which will help transform the futures of children across Wales.

“The number of children benefitting from Flying Start provision under Labour has increased from 18,000 to 33,000 in this Assembly. Contrasting with harsh cuts by the Tories to Sure Start in England which has seen 720 centres close and the loss of 40,000 childcare places.

“This election is a choice between a Labour government that boost childcare provision and help parents back to work, or a Tory government with extreme spending plans and a commitment to slash education funding.”

He added: “I’m here to emphasise the importance of childcare, we’re in a childcare setting, and also the benefits from Flying Start, the Welsh Government scheme. We know that one of the major obstacles people will have to overcome to get back to work is what they do with children and being able to provide affordable childcare is really important to help people earn money and get back to work.

“We’ve already doubled the number of children who are entitled to Flying Start which is one of the schemes we run. It has been extremely successful and I have heard today how successful that has been were children development mentally a way ahead of where they should be which is great news and the pleasure to be made in terms of increasing access to childcare.

“When our children were young, having childcare was a really important issue and it’s that way for many people.

“What we want to do is make sure that were people have the opportunity to work, we know that work is the best way out of poverty, and people have that opportunity to work and that we do as much as we can for them to remove any barriers that prevent them from working.

“We want to make sure that we (Wales) have the same offer as is in place in England. We don’t want our children to be in a different position. We are already ahead of England in that sense. One of the things we did of course was to introduce Flying Start. In England they did it the other way, getting rid of sure start, and that meant that many families didn’t have the extra help that children needed. We take the view we want to give the best start in life to our kids.”

Labour candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Delyth Evans, said: “Families across the constituency tell me that the cost of childcare is a huge issue for them. Labour’s plan to double free childcare will be a real help to families who are working hard and still struggling to make ends meet. It shows that Labour is listening to families and taking action to tackle the issues that matter to them.”

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Appeal after woman sexually assaulted on cycle path near Haverfordwest

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POLICE officers in Haverfordwest are appealing for witnesses after a woman was sexually assaulted at approximately 4.30pm on Sunday (May 16).

The woman was walking along the cycle path between Haverfordwest and Tiers Cross when she was approached by a man who threatened and assaulted her, before walking away towards Haverfordwest town.

The male is described as a white male, between 5ft 4 and 5ft 11 tall , normal build with a welsh accent. He has short dark hair, a beard and a moustache, brown eyes, and wearing light blue jeans, navy/dark blue jersey with grey sleeves. Anyone who saw a man matching this description in the area between 3.30pm and 5pm in the afternoon.

A 35-year-old man has been arrested and is currently in police custody.

The cycle path is currently closed while the investigation continues.

Detective Superintendent Jayne Butler, who is leading the investigation, said “Incidents of this nature are extremely rare in the Dyfed-Powys area. The public may see an increased presence of police officers in the coming days as police investigate the incident. Anyone with concerns or information that could help our enquiries can speak to those officers or contact police. While a man was quickly arrested we would still like to speak to anyone who saw a man matching the above description in the area yesterday afternoon.”

Anyone with information which could help the investigation is asked to contact police. This can be done online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet endorses STEP Fusion application

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’S Cabinet have today endorsed proposals from Cllr Paul Miller (Cabinet Member for Economic Development) to further progress the nomination of a Pembrokeshire site to host a Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) fusion power station in the county.

Working with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the proposed site is adjacent to the existing energy facilities on the South Shore of the Haven waterway.

If approved, the facility will initially host research with the ultimate aim of developing this technology which could offer a virtually limitless source of clean electricity by copying the processes that power the sun.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “I am pleased my Cabinet colleagues endorsed this important programme of work. The Haven Waterway has provided livelihoods, underpinned by fossil fuels, for thousands of Pembrokeshire families, mine included, for more than 50 years. It’s my job to help ensure the waterway continues to provide high skilled, engineering, science and technology jobs for the next generation of this county – and so linked to our focus on climate change (and in addition to our existing multi-million pound commitments to supporting wind, wave and tidal clean power generation) my team have been exploring whether we can also support the development of clean, green fusion technology.

“It’s very early days in the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s site selection process but we’ll provide regular updates as things progress.”

•       STEP is an ambitious programme to design and build a prototype fusion power plant;
•       It is a UKAEA programme, currently with £222m funding from the UK Government to produce a concept design by 2024: https://step.ukaea.uk/

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Re-opening of indoor hospitality and attractions at Milford Waterfront

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RESTAURANTS and indoor visitor attractions in Milford Waterfront are welcoming the return of indoor services from today.

The re-opening of indoor dining allows all restaurants at Milford Waterfront to seat customers indoors. As well as all restaurants on the Waterfront now being able to offer this service, the brand-new Foam Domes overlooking the Milford Haven Waterway are able to open, with bookings being taken from the 19th May.

Indoor visitor attractions are also allowed to re-open. This includes the Waterfront Gallery, which is open today and Phoenix Bowl & Pirate Pete’s Adventure Play which is making preparations to open from Wednesday 19th May. Also, Milford Museum, which has had a new rendered exterior finish, is preparing to open for the end of May.

Lucy Wonnacott, Marketing Manager for Milford Waterfront commented: “We are delighted to see the re-opening of indoor hospitality and visitor attractions here at Milford Waterfront. Each business has their own safety and social distancing measures in place and we kindly ask that you respect and adhere to these for your own safety, and that of others. We hope you enjoy your visit to Milford Waterfront and stay safe!”

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