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Food rating system scores a success

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foodratingA LEADING Welsh environmental health officer has praised the success of the Food Hygiene Rating system.

 Mark Elliott, Chair of Wales Heads of Environmental Health Group and Head of Public Protection at Pembrokeshire County Council said 23,540 businesses across Wales now received a hygiene rating with the number getting top marks increasing by almost a fifth. Conversely, the number of businesses rated 0-2 has declined by a third since the introduction of the mandatory scheme. “Giving consumers more information is having a positive effect on food hygiene standards,” he said. “The number of businesses rated 5 (very good) has increased by almost 20% since the start of the scheme and many have reported that a good rating has increased their takings significantly. “In Pembrokeshire too the number of food business operators improving their food hygiene standards is also increasing with 94 per cent of food premises now scoring 3, 4 or 5 under the scheme.” But he warned that the scheme’s success was taking place against a background of rapidly shrinking local authority budgets and if it were to be continued would have to be adequately resourced. “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’s success so far reflects the hard work and dedication of Environmental Health Practitioners in Pembrokeshire and across Wales,” he said. “It is vital that such services are adequately resourced in future to protect public health.” The Food Hygiene Rating system was introduced in 2010 when all 22 Welsh local authorities took the voluntary decision to implement one food premises inspection scheme. The scheme aims to improve business food hygiene standards by making them visible to the consumer so that they can make informed choices about where to eat safely. The ratings awarded by Local Authority officers follow inspections and are then made available to the Food Standards Agency, which publishes them on their website. In November 2013, the Welsh Government made the implementation of the Food Hygiene Rating scheme mandatory. Food businesses were also required to display their food hygiene rating in a prominent place, such as the front door or entrance, or face a fine or prosecution with money generated from fixed penalty notices going to the Welsh Government. Meanwhile businesses that score poorly and want to improve are given assistance to enable them to improve their hygiene rating – although in some cases further appropriate enforcement activity may also be carried out. In November this year the Rating scheme will be extended to businessto- business trade, which means that almost everyone from small producers to factories will also be included. This will help small businesses choose their suppliers and could be used as a selection criterion when public sector contracts are tendered. “Environmental Health Practitioners will take all necessary action, including prosecution, to protect the health of the public where serious failures of law are found during inspections,” said Mr Elliott, who is also a Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. “We are working hard to improve the services we deliver but it is against a background of rapidly shrinking local authority budgets. It is vital that such services are adequately resourced in the future to protect public health.” *Members of the public wanting to check on the rating of a business can do so at http://tinyurl.com/dyvdbgc

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Electrician has ‘fallen from height’ at Neyland Community Hub

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EMERGENCY SERVICES are attending to an injured electrician who has fallen from a height at Neyland Community Hub, whist working on the project.

The air ambulance has been called and is now in Neyland, ready to medivac the casualty.

Cllr Paul Miller, Development Director at Neyland CIC said in a statement: “This afternoon one of our electrical contract staff has unfortunately fallen from height during the course of his work. He has been attended to on site by paramedics and is currently being prepared for “transfer to hospital by air ambulance.

“The thoughts of everyone at Neyland CIC are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

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Local politician reacts to Corbyn’s suspension

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A LOCAL politician has commented on Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour party.

With the announcement that former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the party, local parties have reacted.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who became leader in April, suspended predecessor Jeremy Corbyn from the party after Corbyn said the scale of it’s anti-Semitism problem had been dramaticall overstated.

In an official statement, Labour said that the suspension came after Corbyn’s failure to retract his words.

Jeremy Corby reacted to the suspension by stating he was going to strongly contest it, calling the move ‘political’.

Corbyn in Haverfordwest before election

Commenting on the news that Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the Labour Party after an inquiry found the party was “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” during his time in charge, Paul Davies MS, Leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament said:

“Mark Drakeford was the first Senedd Member to back Jeremy Corbyn for leader of the Labour Party. He needs to confirm whether he supports Sir Keir Starmer in suspending Corbyn or if he backs his political idol.

“The Jewish community in Wales, alongside all those who have fought against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, deserve to know whether he’s with them or against them.”

The decision was made by Starmer following the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report.

Speaking on the findings, Starmer said the report had brought forward a day of shame for the Labour party.

The report found 23 instances of what they called ‘inappropriate involvement’ by Corbyn’s office – with the Labour party responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act.

These were: Failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints, Harrassment and political interference in Anti-Semitism complaints.

Speaking on the suspension, Jeremy Corbyn said: “I will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me. I’ve made absolutely clear that those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.

“It’s also undeniable that a false impression has been created of the number of members accused of antisemitism, as polling shows: that is what has been overstated, not the seriousness of the problem.

“I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism. And I urge all members to stay calm and focused – while this problem is resolved amicably, as I believe it will be – to defeat this awful government, which is further impoverishing the poorest in our society.

The implementation of the recommendations following the report will be ‘as soon as possible in the New Year’ promises Sir Kier.

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Penally asylum seekers warned for breaking Fire-Break Lockdown rules

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POLICE have warned asylum seekers staying at Penally camp that there is currently a Firebreak Lockdown in Wales, and that they must follow the rules or face legal action.

Residents in Penally have said that they have groups of asylum seekers from the facility walking through the village.

“They were shouting, and drinking with a police van following them” one resident said.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police issued the following statement on the incident: “On the evening of Tuesday, October 27, police were made aware that a number of men were on the village green in Penally, breaking the current Welsh Government restrictions.

“The men, from the Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre, were spoken to and advised to return to their accommodation. Officers followed the men to ensure they returned to the centre.

“Officers will always aim to engage, educate and encourage adherence to the national measures with enforcement being the last action.

“The management team at the centre will be advised so that the firebreak requirements can be reinforced to the service users resident at the centre,” they added.

Last weekend police issued a fixed penalty notice to a female who was deemed to be breaking the current lockdown rules by traveling to the Centre.

A spokesman told The Pembrokeshire Herald said: “A female who was spending time with the asylum seekers over the weekend was advised about her non-essential travel to the asylum accommodation centre”

“After failing to adhere to a warning she was issued with a Covid fixed penalty notice and made to leave the area.”

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