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The Race is ON!

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By Jon Coles

  • Plaid take a hammering
  • IPG gain support
  • Labour gains
  • Kilmister loses
  • Conservatives hold firm

NEWLY-ELECTED members will have a crucial role following Thursday’s County Council election.

The Conservatives will be the largest political group based around a traditional party.

Labour improved its position and will likely end up with ten seats.

The Liberal Democrats have lost Bob Kilmister but won Kilgetty/Begelly and the neighbouring new ward of Amroth and Saundersfoot North with comfortable majorities.

Plaid has suffered serious reverses. Paul Rapi, Jonathan Preston, and Cris Tomos all lost their place.

Plaid also lost its grip on Boncath and Clydau, leaving it with two councillors. The Party of Wales has very little positive to take from the election.

The loss of those three councillors – one to the Conservatives and the other two to Independent candidates  -damages incumbent leader David Simpson’s efforts to pull together disparate groups and individuals to form a coherent Cabinet.

However, the loss Cllr Simpson will feel keenest is Bob Kilmister’s.

Cllr Kilmister’s grasp of his Finance brief was a key factor in addressing the financial problems left behind by the previous administration.

However, he bore the burden of increases to Council Tax forced on the local authority after almost a decade of local government budget cuts.

The big gainers from the election are Jamie Adams’s IPG.

The IPG will almost certainly be the largest opposition group. Jamie Adams will doubtless be ringing round to persuade undecided councillors to join his group over the coming days.

He will not, however, be able to govern alone.

A loose IPG/Conservative agreement could form either a majority administration or a minority with sufficient support to get by issue-by-issue.

David Simpson, the current Council leader, faces a trickier task in assembling a coalition.

Unaffiliated councillors will remain the largest single bloc. Still, it will take all of their support, Labour support, Liberal Democrat support, Plaid Cymru support, and enough councillors elected as independent to stand by the word and not join the IPG for David Simpson to form an administration.

The reality is that only David Simpson has enough heft to pull such a coalition together and keep it together.

Faced with the IPG’s return, long-standing unaffiliated councillors will likely rally to the flag.

Again that depends on newly-elected members rejecting whatever titbits the IPG can offer them.

The next week will be vital to the formation of a new administration.

Whoever wins the battle to get enough councillors to form a Cabinet and then maintain an administration, the next five years of Council politics will be livelier and more uncertain than the preceding ones.

News

New mobile visitor centre ready to help visitors gear up for the Pembrokeshire Coast

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Park Authority Ranger Richard Vaughan and Summer Ranger Megan Holt with the new information van at Poppit Sands.

PEOPLE visiting some of Pembrokeshire’s top beaches and events may soon encounter a new mobile information centre, with a specially converted van ready to hit the road and help people enjoy their visit.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s new information van will be set up at seaside locations and popular local events, with Rangers on hand to give advice to those who need help and suggest free activities for those looking to discover the area’s wildlife.

National Park Authority Ranger Service Manager, Libby Taylor said: “This new vehicle will help our staff provide a range of information at locations where we know many people head to enjoy the National Park.

“As well as helping people learn more about the area and the different ways they can make the most of their visit, people can also find out how they can make the least impact on the Park during their stay.

“As well as having an awning to provide shelter, the van also includes space for magnetic panels that can be changed so the information that’s most relevant to the location or event can be provided.”

The vehicle, which has been converted by local company Poppit Campers, also includes a solar panel, which will help to power two iPads, which will give members of the public a chance to find further information on subjects such as nearby walks and wildlife identification.

The purchase and conversion of the vehicle was made possible through the support of the Welsh Government.

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Community

Deadline approaching for £500 payment to unpaid carers

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THE DEADLINE to apply for a one-off £500 payment to eligible unpaid carers in Wales is rapidly approaching.

The Welsh Government scheme, administered by Pembrokeshire County Council, is open to all unpaid carers in Wales who were in receipt of Carers Allowance on 31 March 2022.

The deadline to apply is 5pm on 15th July 2022 and those who believe they are eligible are urged not to miss out.

The Council is also sending out 400 letters this week to those they believe may be eligible and who have not yet applied.

The payment is in recognition of the increased financial pressures many unpaid carers experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic and to help with some of the additional costs they have incurred. 

The payment is targeted towards those individuals who care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and have low incomes.

You will not be eligible for the payment if:

  • You have an underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance but do not receive a payment because you are in receipt of another benefit at the same or higher rate; or
  • You only receive the carer premium  

If you have already applied please be assured the Council is working its way through the applications as quickly as possible.

How to apply

Applicants (this should be the person in receipt of carer’s allowance)

are required to complete the online form at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/grants/unpaid-carers-500-pound-payment

Required information is:

  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address
  • Date of Birth
  • National Insurance Number
  • Post code
  • A bank statement showing your name, address, account number and sort code

If you are having problems completing the on-line application form please email: UnpaidCarers@pembrokeshire.gov.uk alternatively call 01437 764551 for assistance.

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Crime

Lola James: Two people have denied charges in connection of the death of 2-year-old

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TWO people who have been charged in connection with the death of a Haverfordwest toddler have denied charges.

30-year-old Kyle Bevan of Aberystwyth, denied a charge of murder at Swansea Crown Court.

Lola’s mum Sinead James, 29, denied a charge of causing or allowing the death of a child.

Lola died in Hospital on July 21, 2020, four days after sustaining a severe head injury at her home address in Princess Royal Way, Haverfordwest.

Bevan was remanded into custody.

James was released on conditional bail.

The trial will take place in 2023 and Judge Thomas said it is expected to last four weeks.

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