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First Minister taken to task over Ed Sheeran Cardiff concert chaos

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THE WELSH CONSERVATIVES have slammed the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay for failing to plan ahead for major events after the chaos that befell the capital the weekend before last.

When asked by Leader of the Opposition Andrew RT Davies MS about why rail services were not prepared for an influx of visitors to the city – there to see Ed Sheeran and My Chemical Romance at the start of half term – the First Minister said: “On capacity, it is genuinely difficult to expect a train company with fixed assets and a fixed pool of staff to provide those services to turn the tap on in a major way around any sort of event.”

After suggesting the lack of capacity was just something people had to live with, Davies challenged Mark Drakeford over the trains that never arrived at all, coupled with the jammed roads and miles-long tail-backs at a time when roadbuilding in Wales has been banned by his government.

Drakeford added: “Transport for Wales are currently in the process of loaning [sic] two trains from Northern trains [sic].”

He did agree with the Welsh Conservative leader that the lack of information for those experiencing delays at Cardiff rail stations was not good enough and will be taken on board by Transport for Wales.

The events in Cardiff saw 15 mile-long queues on the M4 from the Severn Bridge into Wales, further showing that the Drakeford’s decision to cancel the M4 relief road three years ago after spending £150m on a review he ignored was a mistake.

Commenting afterwards, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies MS said: “Cardiff is meant to be a destination city, but in order to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other great European cities, we need a modern transport network.

“Sadly, two weekends ago, just two concerts brought the city’s transport routes to a standstill, not only showing that the appropriate infrastructure is not in place, but also that planning around major events is simply not up to scratch.

“It wasn’t just Cardiff that was gridlocked, it was vast swathes of South-East Wales.

“The answers the First Minister, a Cardiff MS, gave today fell short of the ambitions the people of the city have – it is not good enough to simply say there is no possibility of ramping up capacity ahead of major events. We know the influx of people will come, and we should plan accordingly.

“Wales needs and deserves integrated, modern transport infrastructure fit for the 21st Century, not more Labour excuses.”

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Deputy chief whip made ‘massive misjudgements’, says cabinet minister

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A PEMBROKESHIRE MP has said that Tory deputy chief whip Chris Pincher appears to have made “massive misjudgements”.

Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales, told GB News: “…my first reaction with all of this is always one of sadness rather than anger because so many people are affected by this.

“Clearly massive misjudgements appear on the face of it to have been made and and I think our first priority, rather than turning this into a sort of part of political discussion, with which it sounded almost dangerously like it was about to be, that we look after the interests of people who have been adversely affected by this.

“They must be and will remain our absolute first priority so that anybody in Parliament for any party who feels that they have ended up in one of the very unfortunate positions has an independent grievance procedure they can go to.

“They can expect to be heard, as I say, anonymously, and independently and I, that for me seems to be the priority that we should be addressing, rather than so try to use this as an opportunity to say notch up a couple of political goals that seems sort of sounds and feels to me a bit unedifying, in a very difficult situation.”

Speaking during an interview on Breakfast with Stephen Dixon and Anne Diamond, he was asked what he could say that will restore people’s faith in MPs.

Mr Hart said: “Me standing here alone, I probably, there isn’t a sentence or a word that I can use which is instantly going to change all of this and suddenly make everybody feel better about it.”

He added: “There isn’t a workplace in the land, which could say with absolute certainty that these sorts of things never happened.

“We want to minimise the risk and above all, we want to make people, we will make people proud to work here, people love working in this place, it is fantastic that most MPs do a really good job and take their standards incredibly seriously as do most of the staff who work here too.

“So yes, there are some really sad and unfortunate, very stark examples of where this goes wrong.

“Nine times out of 10 it doesn’t go wrong but when it does, I hope that there are measures in place…it’s still in its infancy. I hope it protects people’s interests as well, best we can.

“Nobody likes hearing these things. I mean, I’d much rather come on here and talk about other stuff but we have to confront these things when they come off.”

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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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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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