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Politics

Conservatives promise tax cuts

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rtdaviesANDREW RT DAVIES continued to hone his vision of Wales as the ‘low tax capital of the Union’ as he claimed that Plaid Cymru would raise income tax in Wales.

Referring to an interview Ms Wood gave to Andrew Neill after the Chancellor’s Spending Review last week, Mr Davies claimed that “Within minutes of the Chancellor’s announcement, Leanne Wood admitted that she plans to use the new tax levers to raise additional funds, that a Plaid administration would hike your taxes.”

Ms Wood said that as a priority, Plaid Cymru would ‘maximise the amount of money in the budget to spend on public services.’

In response to a question about taxation, Ms Wood said that she was not in a position to give that information at this point in time.

When asked whether she would raise taxes, Ms Wood pointed out that there were different rates of tax, and Plaid would look at what they intended to do with each of those.

“If you leave the tax rates as they are, as there is every chance that we could, the fact that you are investing in job creation and are then able to realise the benefits – that is the purpose of having income tax powers,” she added.

However, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, saw instead the potential for tax breaks:

“The Chancellor’s announcements on income tax present us with an opportunity to break the mould, to think radically and offer hardworking families the support they need,” he said.

“I can categorically say that no Welsh Conservative Government under my leadership would ever use these powers to raise your taxes.

“Welsh Labour has no interest in taking responsibility for the money it spends and raises. The current arrangement suits them, because it allows them to shirk responsibility, blaming everyone but themselves for years of managed decline.”

Mr Davies pointed at his party’s record of removing tax obligations from the low-paid: “Conservatives in Government have already taken almost 160,000 people out of paying tax, and the Welsh Conservatives are now putting plans in place to deliver a cut in the basic rate of income tax.

“I want to be clear. Hardworking families would benefit under a Welsh Conservative Government.

“We’ve already pledged to scrap stamp duty on all properties valued up to £250,000 for first-time buyers. We now have an opportunity to be just as radical with income tax and it’ll mean more money for every family in Wales.”

An income of around £60,000 PA would be necessary to get a mortgage on a £250,000 home. However, Mr Davies was happy to pledge further benefits to struggling members of the middle class: “It’s also crucial to look at a cut to the higher ‘aspirational’ rate, which has the potential to benefit small businesses, create job opportunities and boost economic growth,” he added. The aspirational rate is thought to refer to the 40p tax rate, which applies to those earning over £41,000PA.

“Whilst Leanne Wood will be going into this election planning to raise your taxes, Welsh Conservatives will be campaigning to make Wales the low tax capital of the Union,” Mr Davies added.

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Community

Changes to housing scheme once feared to have been sold to Birmingham backed

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Amendments to previously-granted plans for a Pembrokeshire housing estate, which was once feared to have been sold off to Birmingham City Council, have been given the go-ahead.

Back in 2022, Wales and West Housing and construction partners Jones Brothers (Henllan) Ltd were granted permission by Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee for a 50-home social housing estate on land off Maesgwynne Lane, Fishguard.

That permission, subject to the completion of a S106 planning obligation, was finalised in early 2023.

The 1.7-hectare site is being developed into a mixture of one-bedroom flats, one-bedroom bungalows, two, three and four bedroom houses.

Since then, rumours surfaced that the development had been sold off to Birmingham City Council for overflow housing, dismissed by the developers as having “no truth whatsoever”.

Wales & West Housing rubbished the claims saying that they are completely untrue.

“There is no truth whatsoever in this rumour,” a spokesperson for Wales & West Housing said earlier this year.

“We are very much continuing our development of the site off Maesgwynne Lane. We’re working with our construction partners Jones Brothers (Henllan) Ltd to build 50 new homes for affordable rent on the site, as approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee.

“The development is being funded by Wales & West Housing in partnership with Pembrokeshire Council and Welsh Government.

“When it’s finished, we’ll be working with Pembrokeshire County Council to let them to local people who are most in need of homes they can afford to rent.”

Birmingham City Council added at the time: “This is not something we are aware of here, so it appears to be an inaccurate rumour.”

Amendments to the previously-granted scheme were recently submitted to county planners by Jones Brothers (Henllan) Ltd, with minor changes to roofing and other visual alterations.

In approving the amendments, a report for planners stated: “The proposed amendments are not so significant as to have a greater impact than the approved scheme; there will be no detrimental impact visually or in terms of local amenity; no third-party interests would be disadvantaged; and there will be no conflict with national or development plan policies.”

The amendments were conditionally approved.  

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News

Plaid Cymru leader visits Pembrokeshire to support local candidate

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RHUN ap Iorwerth, leader of Plaid Cymru, made a notable visit to the Mid and South Pembrokeshire constituency this week to lend his support to the party’s candidate, Cris Tomos. The visit saw ap Iorwerth joining Tomos and his supporters as they canvassed the area, discussing their vision and plans for the local community.

Cris Tomos, the local candidate for Plaid Cymru, has articulated a clear and ambitious agenda aimed at leveraging the economic opportunities presented by green and renewable energy. He emphasised the necessity of reinvesting the benefits derived from these initiatives back into local services and creating new skills training programmes to ensure that residents can secure quality jobs within the burgeoning green economy.

“Revenues generated from the Celtic Sea floating wind development should be channelled into a ring-fenced economic fund for Pembrokeshire,” Tomos stated. “This would enable the establishment of new start-up companies and the expansion of existing green economy businesses, offering competitive salaries to local people.”

Tomos highlighted the significant financial gains expected from the green revolution, pointing out that the Crown Estate in West Wales stands to benefit substantially. However, he expressed concern that the current financial structure means these funds would go directly to the Treasury in London. “We must fight now for the retention of this funding to remain in Wales,” he asserted, “and ensure it is focused on providing quality jobs, housing, and public services for the people of Mid and South Pembrokeshire.”

Looking towards the future, Tomos outlined the potential positive impacts of this revenue, including the construction of new affordable, energy-efficient homes and the financing of threatened services such as day centres and libraries. He also stressed the importance of offering more practical support for families living in poverty, a situation exacerbated by what he described as the “austerity and mismanagement of the economy by the current Conservative government in Westminster and the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay.”

The visit from Rhun ap Iorwerth marks a significant boost for Tomos’s campaign, reinforcing Plaid Cymru’s commitment to addressing local issues through sustainable economic development and community-focused initiatives.

The following people have been nominated for election as a member of the UK Parliament for Mid and South Pembrokeshire constituency:

Hanna Andersen (Women’s Equality Party);

Alistair Cameron (Welsh Liberal Democrats);

Stephen Crabb (Welsh Conservative);

Stuart Marchant (Reform UK);

James Purchase (Green Party);

Vusi Siphika, (Independent);

Cris Tomos (Plaid Cymru);

Henry Tufnell (Welsh Labour).

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News

One week left to register to vote

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ANYONE wanting to vote in the general election on July 4, must be registered to vote before the deadline on midnight 18 June. 

Voters can apply online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. It takes just five minutes.

Voters have a range of options – they can vote in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 19 June. The deadline to apply for a proxy vote is a week later, 5pm on 26 June.

For the first time at a UK general election, voters will need to show photo ID at a polling station. To find out which ID you can use in the polling station, visit the Electoral Commission website.

If you do not have one of the accepted types of ID, you can apply for free ID at Applying for a Voter Authority Certificate | Electoral Commission or by completing and submitting a paper form to your local authority. You must apply by 5pm on 26 June, to be able to use the Voter Authority Certificate on 4 July.

Craig Westwood, Director of Communications at the Electoral Commission, said: “It is important that people check they’re election ready ahead of upcoming deadlines. All voters must be registered, and some may need to apply for a postal or proxy vote or free ID. Registering to vote is quick and easy, and can be done online.

“Voters will need to show photo ID at polling stations for this general election. Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of photo ID can apply for free ID online or by completing a paper form and submitting it to their local council.”

Information about the new requirement and all your voting options can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website.

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