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Public anger over MP’s ‘Hart-less decision’

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A PEMBROKESHIRE MP who backed the UK government not to extend the free school meal scheme to cover children throughout England for school closures up until Easter 2021, has experienced huge backlash on social media.

A motion on providing 1.4 million disadvantaged children in England, with a £15 a week voucher during school holidays until Easter 2021, was voted down in the House of Commons last Wednesday (Oct 21).

Simon Hart MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, stood with his Government and voted against the bill by 322 to 261, a majority of 61.

Simon Hart was named, along with over 300 of his Conservative colleagues, on The Daily Mirror’s front page, after voting to allow some of the UK’s poorest and vulnerable children to return to school ‘too hungry to learn’.

Stephen Crabb, the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, abstained from the vote.

With many organisations calling the decision ‘cruel’ and ‘callous’, one Pembrokeshire pub has taken their stance on the situation further.

Taking to their Facebook page, The Globe in Fishguard has issued a lifetime ban for both Pembrokeshire MP’s, they said: “Following the decision by the Mill and Il Manilo pub in West Yorkshire to ban their local MP Rishi Sunak and other MPs in nearby constituencies over their voting against extending free school meals over the holidays, I would like it known that abstainer Stephen

Crabb and Simon Hart, who voted in support of allowing children to starve, are similarly barred for life from The Globe!

“Thank God that the WG has promised to provide food vouchers for children in need in Wales.

“Anyone who actively or passively enables children to go hungry cannot possibly possess any humanity in our opinion. Here in the Globe we only allow humans and dogs to enter the building; as

Mr Crabb and Mr Hart appear to be neither of these then we feel we have no option but to impose a lifetime ban.”

In a statement on his Facebook page rounding up the week of politics, Mr Hart defended toeing the Government line: “The “opposition motion” last Wednesday seeking an extension to the free school meal programme into the holidays was non-binding and even if passed would not have changed anything.

“The frustrating thing about these motions is that they are nothing more than political theatre. For what it’s worth, it was this Government that extended FSM’s in Easter and Summer holidays in the first place but which has now decided that families in greater need are best served through increasing benefits over a whole year, not just via food vouchers in the holidays.

“I do understand how this looks in the media though (which is exasperating for all of us) but it’s not as straightforward as just removing something without trying to offset the consequences.”

Mr Hart omitted to mention that FSM provision over the summer holidays only happened after the Westminster Government was shamed into action after a massive public outcry over its initial refusal to provide them.

His position was not helped by a series of inflammatory tweets from fellow Conservative MPs, such as Ben Bradley, who claimed over the summer meal vouchers were traded for drugs and prostitutes in his Mansfield constituency.

However, Mr Hart will be pleased to have had support echoing his point on free school meals from Carol Peett, the wife of his constituency chairman, Rayner Peett.
Mrs Peett posted the following on Facebook: “All this Marcus Rashford rubbish – momentum scam to try & destabilise the government using a thick footballer’s name as a frontman – the Government had already given money to councils to make sure these children are fed so totally pointless.”

The Welsh Government has extended free school meals for those eligible through the school holidays up to and including Easter 2021.

Commenting on Simon Hart’s vote, Alistair Cameron, Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd Candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire said: “Simon Hart’s recent voting choices demonstrate callous neglect for struggling families. Whilst Kirsty Williams in the Senedd has been ensuring that poverty should not mean hunger for our most disadvantaged children, our MP has chosen to deny children across the border the funding that could stop them from going hungry. I am deeply disappointed in our MP.”

The Herald asked the Conservatives’ Education Shadow Minister in the Senedd, Suzy Davies MS, to say whether or not she supported the Welsh Government’s decision to extend free school meal provision.

A spokesperson replied: “The UK Government has invested more than £4 billion in Wales to fight Covid-19 which the Welsh Government are able to use to fund support for people including free school meals during holidays.”

“While the primary duty to feed children lies with the parents, we recognise lockdowns and other restrictions have placed real pressure on family budgets, especially where people haven’t been able to access support or have to use convenience shops which can be more expensive.

“Ensuring children stay physically and mentally healthy during this time is a priority so that they can get the best out of their education and not let Covid-19 define their future. But any scheme must support those who truly need it; those that can afford to contribute should.”

The £4bn claimed to be ‘invested’ in Wales is funding the UK Government was obliged to provide to our country using the Barnett funding formula. It came as a result of the UK spending further money in other parts of the UK to tackle COVID-19.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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