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A last minute trade deal that ends fears of a no-deal Brexit

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UK AND EU negotiators have announced a trade deal that ends fears of a no-deal Brexit.

With a week to go until the end of the transition period on December 31, the deal’s announcement came this afternoon (December 24).

The agreement means the UK can continue having tariff-free to the EU market. Goods coming from the EU to the UK will also be tariff-free.

Farming unions in Wales, whose industry would have been catastrophically damaged by leaving the EU without a deal, expressed relief at the news.

The negotiators reached a compromise on EU boats’ fishing access to British waters after Brexit. The settlement involves a gradual five-year adjustment to fishing quotas. During that period, British vessels will gradually increase their share of the catch.

UK citizens will be able to enjoy visa-free access to EU countries for 90 days every six months.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senedd Paul Davies welcomed the deal.

The Preseli Pembrokeshire MS said: “The news this afternoon ends years of discussions over the UK’s future with the EU. I’m delighted the UK Government has been able to secure a deal.
“Crucially, this means that we can add the EU to the list of nearly 60 trade deals that have been secured around the World, which come into place as we enter the New Year. Those deals enable the UK to start our new journey as a strong independent nation.

“I have no doubt that, despite the challenges of Covid-19, across the UK, and especially in Wales, people and businesses will take up the opportunities that these deals provide. They will help Welsh businesses to grow and kick start the Welsh economy.”
Wales’ First Minister said that the deal was ‘thin’ and less than ideal.
Faced with a choice of this deal or no deal, Mr Drakeford said: “Welsh businesses will still face significant new barriers to trade. Welsh citizens can no longer travel freely in Europe, and there will be little in it for service sector businesses.

“Even so, this deal is better than the catastrophe which would have been a no-deal.”
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb tweeted his congratulations to Boris Johnson, the UK’s Chief Negotiator Lord David Frost, EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Mr Crabb described the deal as ‘important for the UK, Wales, Pembrokeshire – and the EU’. He said the agreement laid a robust platform for continued trade and co-operation.

The deal’s detail means that there will still be increased checks at borders between the EU and UK and inspections at ports on food exports and imports. That will mean increased bureaucracy for firms trading with the EU. However, businesses could consider that a relatively small price to pay compared to the alternative.
With only a week to go before the end of the transition period, teething problems can be expected from January 1.

Tony Danker, CBI Director-General, congratulated both teams of negotiators for reaching a deal but sounded a cautionary note.

Mr Danker said: “This will come as a huge relief to British business at a time when resilience is at an all-time low. But coming so late in the day, both sides must take instant steps to keep trade moving and services flowing while firms adjust.”

The Speakers of both the Commons and the Lords have recalled both Houses of Parliament on December 30 when the deal will almost certainly receive overwhelming parliamentary approval.

Simon Hart MP said: “It’s been a very long journey, but I hope today’s trade deal strikes a careful balance between those for whom only a clean break would suffice, and those who voted to remain but respect referendum results.

“There will no doubt be copious analysis of the detail, but the fact that we leave on reasonable terms and that certainty is at last established I hope brings this chapter to an orderly close.

“I am very conscious that there are many who doubted (back in 2015) that we would ever win an election that committed to a referendum; that if we did we would not honour it; that if we honoured it the result would have been remain; that we would fail to deliver a withdrawal agreement; but if we did we would never get a deal – and that when all that stalled due to parliamentary numbers that we would never win an election which pledged to “get brexit done”.

“That’s all for now, but I will say more on this and Covid as we close in on the new year. It’s been tough, but our community resilience is unbeatable! Happy Christmas.”

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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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