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Wales would ‘lose out’ over Brexit

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Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 15.10.32WALES would lose out if the United Kingdom left the European Union in the EU referendum. That was the message from one councillor at a meeting of the Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The committee met on Tuesday (Feb 2), to discuss the consequences of the EU Referendum on Pembrokeshire.

The UK government has committed itself to holding a referendum before the end of 2017 and at a previous meeting, councillors asked for a report on the potential impacts of leaving the EU.

It was felt that the referendum was important to people across Pembrokeshire while Cllr Keith Lewis said that Wales had ‘no option’.

Cllr John Allen-Mirehouse said: “Wales, as a predominantly rural area, would stand to lose out if the UK left.”

Councillors were shown a brochure which highlights many of the impacts of EU funding in Pembrokeshire in areas such as business and economy, tourism and heritage.

They also heard from the Council’s European Manager, Gwyn Evans, who said: “Simply, the best estimates that are available to us, these are not Council estimates, show that although the UK is a net contributor to the European Union, Wales itself is a net beneficiary and that’s partly due to the European investment which we see in Wales through the European Structural Investment Funds.

“To that end we have recently produced a brochure on some of the investments taking place in Pembrokeshire through the convergence program.

“I think it’s important to stress that the membership of the European Union is about more than money.

“It’s also important in facilitating training for example. The only observation I would make is that it is not clear that any of the benefits that we presently draw will be replaced by others should the British electorate decide to leave the EU in the referendum whenever it might be held.”

Cllr David Lloyd said that this was of importance to people across Pembrokeshire.

Cabinet Member for Economy and Communities, Cllr Keith Lewis added: “I was part of a WLGA (Welsh Local Government Association) group who visited Brussels and had the opportunity of speaking first hand to some of the elected representatives and the message that I gathered as far as Wales is concerned was that there was no option.

“Without European money there was very little scope for hardly any economic development and nobody could offer any guarantee that if Britain were to withdraw that the Westminster Government would make the deficit to areas like Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“That was the views of the elected members and they certainly saw this as the only game in town for Wales.

“The NFU have not come down in support or against the referendum and the feeling was, amongst the WLGA group, that it was high time that they did, especially the Welsh branch.”

Cllr John Allen-Mirehouse said: “We don’t know what the EU referendum is going to be. Is it going to be do we stay in or go out? We don’t know what we’re being asked yet. I certainly agree with the principle that Wales, as a predominantly rural area, would stand to lose out if the UK left.”

Cllr Ken Rowlands highlighted the report which stated that Welsh lamb exports had increased by £76m from 2003 to 2013 and added: “That says it all.”

Cllr David Pugh added: “We’ve got to realise that this is a short term benefit to Wales because in five years’ time the funding streams will probably change. We’re not likely to get the same level of funding when this round of funding finishes. With the expansion of the EU, the former eastern block countries going in, they will receive a net benefit but Wales will probably lose out.”

Gwyn Evans highlighted that the current round of funding would end in 2020 and added that they did not know what Wales was going to get after that.

It was also highlighted that the Welsh Local Government Association has given its support to the UK’s membership of the EU but councillors were told that their decision would not bind Pembrokeshire County Council into that.

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Further coronavirus restriction relaxations brought forward

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FURTHER changes to the coronavirus restrictions have been announced by the First Minister Mark Drakeford today.

The Welsh Government has confirmed further relaxations will be brought forward from 17 May to 3 May – including the resumption of indoor supervised activities for children, indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults, such as exercise classes, and the re-opening of community centres.

This means Wales will have completed the move to Alert Level 3 by Monday 3 May.

From Saturday 24 April, the rule of 6 will allow for up to six people from six households to meet outdoors, not including children under 11 years of age or carers from those households.

The Welsh Government has also confirmed the relaxations that will take place on Monday 26 April. Outdoor attractions, including outdoor swimming pools, funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen, while outdoor hospitality can also resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to take place and weddings receptions can begin again outdoors for up to 30 people.

Wales has the lowest coronavirus rates of the UK nations.  The successful vaccine programme continues with a higher proportion of people vaccinated in Wales than other nations of the UK for both first and second doses.

Changes from Monday 3 May:

  • Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities being able to reopen;
  • People will also again be able to form extended households with one other household.

Relaxations planned for 17 May will be brought forward to the 3 May, including:

  • The resumption of indoor supervised activities for children;
  • Indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults (such as exercise classes and swimming lessons);
  • And the re-opening of community centres.

The First Minister said:

“The sacrifices we have made continue to show results. By us all working together and sticking to the rules, combined with our vaccination programme, mean we continue to make progress. Rates of the virus continue to fall and the public health situation is improving. 

“Due to these efforts we are able confirm more easing of the restrictions from 26 April and for early May we are again able to bring forward some of our plans. However, this progress is dependent on all of us continuing to work together to keep Wales safe.

“At the last three-week review, I set out a forward-look of how the restrictions could continue to be lifted in the weeks ahead, if the public health situation remains stable.

“It will be for the incoming Welsh Government to confirm these arrangements at the next three-week review, which will be held on May 13 – a week after the election. It is my assessment that the hospitality sector – bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes – will be able to open indoors from May 17, together with all other tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions.”

Further possible easements are subject to the public health situation remaining favourable.

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News

Tragedy above Milford Haven takeaway

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DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that a 20-year-old male passed away in Milford Haven last Saturday, April 17.

Police were called to the USA Fried Chicken store on Charles Street at around 1:30pm but have said there are no suspicious circumstances.

A Herald reporter was at the scene and witnessed a number of police cars and an ambulance while plain-clothed officers were also seen.

HM Coroner has been informed.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We were called to Charles Street in Milford Haven on Saturday 17 April at approximately 1.34pm to reports of a medical emergency. We attended the scene with one emergency ambulance where we assisted colleagues from the police.”

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Health

Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’

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THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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