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An interview with…..Paul Davies



an interviewLocal AM Highlights the Importance of “Vital” Local Hospital Services

AS part of our continued series of interviews with local high profile politicians, The Herald this week spoke to Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, Paul Davies.

The Herald started by asking what a typical week is like for an Assembly Member.

“I am the Deputy Leader of the Welsh Conservative Assembly Group and the Shadow Minister for Finance, as well as the constituency Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire. Usually, I am based in my constituency office in Haverfordwest on Mondays and Fridays. This provides me with an opportunity to engage with my constituents on local issues such as health services, planning, education and housing. It also allows me to attend local events and set up meetings with local groups and organisations. I travel to Cardiff on a Monday evening, ready for plenary business which takes place on a Tuesday and a Wednesday. On Thursdays, I am usually in a Committee session. As the Welsh Conservative Spokesperson for Finance, I am a member of the Assembly’s Finance Committee. On this Committee, we scrutinise the use of resources by the Assembly Commission or Welsh Ministers”.

On the subject of local issues, Paul Davies had this to say, “The biggest issue that I have dealt with is the threat of downgrading services at Withybush hospital. This issue has been the largest in terms of correspondence from constituents. Maintaining access to hospital services based locally is vital to the safety and convenience of the people of Pembrokeshire. I have also been campaigning for the dualling of the A40 in Pembrokeshire. There are a number of economic benefits to dualling the A40 for businesses in the area. It would certainly provide job opportunities and it would help make travelling to Pembrokeshire much easier for residents and for the thousands of visitors who come to the area each year. I have also received a great deal of correspondence from constituents regarding the lack of Broadband provision in Pembrokeshire”.

Asked how an AM balances local and national duties within the job, Mr Davies said, “Each week brings different challenges and demands, and while I take my role as the Shadow Minister for Finance very seriously, it is far more important that I am working on behalf of the people of Preseli Pembrokeshire, raising local issues whenever the opportunity arises”.

He went on to discuss the nature in which the Conservatives can maintain an effective opposition, “As the perennial opposition, we are committed to holding the Welsh Government to account and to scrutinising Welsh Ministers’ policies. I believe that we are a constructive opposition, and that we make every effort to do our job as the people of Wales’ watchdog. That is why we, as a group, have put forward a number of policies throughout the Fourth Assembly to help serve the people of Wales. For example, last year, I launched our flagship Finance policy “Invest Wales” which looked to support small and medium sized enterprises and to stimulate the local economy, by establishing a system of geographically accountable Welsh regional investment ‘banks.’ Some weeks later, the Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, himself recognised these challenges and said that Labour in England would seek to establish a network of regional banks, if elected, to help small business get access to finance. As a result, the Minister for Economy and Transport committed to reviewing Finance Wales’ financial products so that they are as attractive as possible to businesses, and that process is still ongoing”.

The Herald asked what it is like to be a part of the election process and what the best and worst parts of the job are,

“I’d like to think that I’m a realist and the risk of losing any election comes with the territory of the job. I will, of course, continue to work to the best of my ability for the people of Preseli Pembrokeshire, and they will have the opportunity in 2016 to have their say on my performance as their local Assembly Member. The best aspect of my job is the opportunity to meet so many people from so many different backgrounds. I don’t think that I would get this opportunity in any other job. The worst aspect of my job is the continual frustration of being in opposition”.

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St David’s Day boost: Pembs creamery launches new Welsh milk price



PEMBROKESHIRE CREAMERY, which is set to begin production this spring, has used St Davids’ Day to launch its new milk price for Welsh milk.

Using the industry-recognised Liquid Standard Litre the company has announced an April milk price of 38.5 pence per litre.

Pembrokeshire Creamery will be the only liquid milk bottling facility in Wales certified to supply Welsh supermarkets. Ultimately this will be local Welsh milk, produced, processed and distributed from this new development.

Eliminating the need for transporting milk to England for processing, Pembrokeshire Creamery significantly reduces food miles, streamlines the supply chain, creates new skilled jobs in Pembrokeshire, and bolsters local farming communities. This efficiency enables Pembrokeshire Creamery to offer producers who have already committed, and those following the project as it develops, a competitive milk price from April 2024.

Mark McQuade, managing director, Pembrokeshire Creamery said: “It seemed fitting, on St David’s Day, to launch an April milk price for Welsh milk which we hope will be sufficiently competitive to attract farmers from across the region to consider us as a potential customer.

“We will be the only BRC Certified facility to offer Welsh milk that is also bottled in Wales enabling us to offer an authentically Welsh milk supply for Welsh supermarket stores.

“This unique selling point gives Pembrokeshire Creamery, and the farmers who work with us, a strong point of difference in meeting the needs of both retailers and consumers who increasingly value locally-sourced produce,” he said.

The development of Pembrokeshire Creamery has been supported by the Welsh Government and the EU RDP-funded Food Business Investment Scheme. Additional funding has been supplied by HSBC.

(Cover Image: Mark Sinclair)

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Seren shines in shooting sports, breaking records and winning medals



SEREN THORNE, a young talent from Letterston, has been making waves in the world of 10m air rifle precision shooting. A former student of Ysgol Casblaidd, Ysgol Bro Gwaun, and the sixth form at Haverfordwest’s VC High School, Seren is currently furthering her education in music at Cardiff University. However, it is her achievements in shooting sports that are capturing the nation’s attention.

Seren’s journey in shooting began at the tender age of 8, initially with the pistol as part of her participation in the Pony Club tetrathlon. Her transition to the air rifle in 2020 marked the beginning of an illustrious path in this discipline. Since then, Seren has not only embraced the sport but has excelled at it, demonstrating an exceptional level of precision and composure.

Her hard work and dedication bore fruit in November when she clinched two gold medals at the Welsh Championships. At this event, Seren not only topped the podium but also broke the Welsh and British junior women’s qualification record, setting a new benchmark for aspiring shooters.

However, Seren’s achievements did not stop at the national level. In February, she represented Great Britain at the Junior World Cup in Granada, Spain. There, she added to her medal tally by securing an individual silver medal and breaking the British junior women’s final record. Seren’s success continued as she contributed to a mixed team bronze medal, once again breaking the previous British junior record.

More recently, Seren participated in the British Open Championships, where she was crowned the British junior women’s champion and won the British confined open women’s championship. These victories are a testament to her skill, determination, and the promising future she has in the sport of shooting.

Seren Thorne’s achievements are not just personal victories but also a source of pride for her community in Letterston, her schools, and indeed for the whole of Britain. As she continues to study and train, the nation watches eagerly to see how far this talented young shooter will go.

Seren’s journey in shooting sports is a vivid reminder of the dedication and hard work required to excel at the highest levels, and she is undoubtedly a rising star to keep an eye on in the years to come.

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Detectives investigating the death of boy, 15, near Lampeter



Dyfed-Powys Police is investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a 15-year-old boy at a location near Lampeter on Friday afternoon (March 1), the force has confirmed.

The family is being supported by specialist officers.

The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be prepared for H.M. Coroner.

The police issued a statement saying: “We are aware of concern in the community, however as an investigation is ongoing we would ask that support is given to the family by not speculating on the circumstances surrounding the death.”

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