Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Politics

Council to discuss £3.5m housing acquisition in upcoming Cabinet meeting

Published

on

HOUSING worth more than £3.5m has been purchased in Pembrokeshire by the council, senior councillors will hear next week.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, meeting on May 20, will receive an update on acquisitions and disposals of land and buildings in the county.

In accordance with the council’s constitution, Cabinet is to receive a report biannually, on the acquisition or disposal of land and/premises by the authority since the last report, where the acquisition or disposal was for a sum in excess of £100,000.

The report lists 16 acquisitions by the council, in areas including Milford Haven, Haverfordwest, Neyland, Cilgerran, Pembroke Dock, Lamphey, and Broad Haven, for a total of £ 3,502,000, in line with the HRA (Housing Revenue Account) business plan.

The report before members also lists one disposal, the former Ship and Anchor, High Street, Fishguard, at £170,000.

The report ads: “It should also be of note that some temporary additional resource has been obtained to enable capital receipts from the disposal of any surplus property where appropriate so there should be an increase in sales over the next 12–18 months.”

The May 20 meeting wil be the first Cabinet headed by new council leader Cllr Jon Harvey.

Members are recommended to note the acquisitions and disposals, with six-monthly updates to continue.

Community

Campaign group calls to fight US Space Force-led Brawdy radar site plans

Published

on

A CAMPAIGN group, fighting against proposals to for a deep space radar dish array in north Pembrokeshire, described as “the United States’ lurch into an attempt to dominate all of space,” has raised more than £1,000.

The UK/US military plans for a 27-dish Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept (DARC) at Cawdor Barracks, Brawdy is part of AUKUS, a three-way security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States to build three DARC radar installations around the world, one in each of the three countries.

The radars would track foreign countries’ communications and military satellites in space, so that British, US and Australian aircraft could then destroy them with anti-satellite missiles at will.

A scoping report was submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council early last year, as reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, which said DARC would track active satellites above the Earth.

That application stated: “The Ministry of Defence has a duty to protect the UK national interest around the world. This includes the Space Domain, which offers both the UK and its Allies an important strategic advantage, but also emerging threats and vulnerabilities that need to be monitored.”

It added: “The Deep-space Advanced Radar Capability (DARC) is a United States Space Force (USSF) led programme that aims to set up three geographically dispersed radar sites to increase global Space Domain Awareness with the UK and Australia being offered to host one of the three sites.”

Late last year, Cawdor Barrack was identified as the preferred UK site, with the-then UK Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps.

It was said that retention of the base for DARC would create up to 100 jobs.

The DARC scheme would be subject to an as-yet unsubmitted planning application.

Campaign group, PARC Against DARC is hoping to stop the scheme, describing the proposals as a “monument to the needless, sabre-rattling, expansionist vanity project that is the United States’ lurch into an attempt to dominate all of space, against the stated wishes of almost every nation in the UN”.

PARC (Pembrokeshire Against Radar Campaign) was originally set up back in 90s when the US Military unsuccessfully attempted to build a similar radar installation on the Dewisland peninsula, north Pembrokeshire.

The revamped 2024 operation has launched a change.org petition webpage and an online crowdfunder page, along with social media pages.

On the crowdfunder page, which has raised just over £1,000 to date, it says: “In 1991, faced with a near-identical over-the-horizon radar array project barely a couple of miles away in Dewisland, the people of Pembrokeshire formed PARC (Pembrokeshire Against the Radar Campaign), and after one of the most sensational, national and viral UK campaigns of the 1990s, demolished the radar plans, and forced Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher herself to cancel the entire radar project.

“Well, PARC is back—and we’re here to repeat history.

“To pull it off, and defeat the US’s attempt to colonise space in a way that no citizen of the county, the nation or the world has ever voted for, we are going to need all the support and solidarity we can bring together.”

Identifying Cawdor as the preferred site last year, Grant Shapps said: “As the world becomes more contested and the danger of space warfare increases, the UK and our allies must ensure we have the advanced capabilities we need to keep our nations’ safe.”

PARC Against DARC is to is to host a public launch meeting at Solva Memorial Hall at 7pm on June 27.

Continue Reading

Politics

Rhys ab Owen MS calls for justice in ‘pension theft’ scandal

Published

on

A SENEDD member called on the next UK Government to finally put an end to the “theft” of steelworkers’ pensions following a two-decade campaign for justice.

Rhys ab Owen said staff at Allied Steel and Wire (ASW) in Cardiff lost their pensions when the company collapsed in 2002, making thousands of people unemployed.

Leading a Senedd debate, he said: “This meant that it was no longer about fairness, or what pensioners were owed, but whatever the scheme could afford to pay out.

“’Wind up’ is one term for it – an aptly named term, perhaps – another term is ‘pension theft’, and I believe that is a far more effective term.”

“The ASW workers were not the first nor the last to experience this injustice, this gutting of their pensions. Wind-ups were increasingly common in the early 2000s and punished those who were most loyal and hard-working.”

Mr ab Owen, who sits as an independent, said the then-Labour UK Government’s financial assistance scheme had an arbitrary maximum payout of 90% of the pension value.

“This meant pensioners lost 10% of their pensions from the get-go,” he explained. “Then more due to inflation, and on top of it all, many had to pay tax on the measly sum.

“For workers who had worked for decades – slaving away day after day in dangerous work –  it is no wonder this faulty scheme led to protests across the UK.”

The South Wales Central MS warned that many pensioners have still not been offered compensation despite a parliamentary ombudsman report and a Court of Appeal case.

“Do we really need another ITV drama to resolve this scandal?” he asked, appearing to refer  to Mr Bates vs The Post Office which brought the Horizon scandal to life.

His father – Owen John Thomas, a former Plaid Cymru politician, who represented the same region in the then-Assembly – was involved in the steelworkers’ campaign from the outset.

Mr ab Owen paid tribute to his father in a statement to the Senedd in the days following his death in May, saying it was characteristic of him to put other people and the country first.

During the debate on June 21, he said: “This struggle for Cardiff workers has lasted so long that it’s been through two generations of the Thomas family, my father being a constant voice in this battle from which I am glad to take on the mantle.”

The former barrister and law lecturer warned countless workers have died waiting for their pensions to be restored, with some unable to pay for their own funerals.

“Some have, tragically, taken their own lives waiting to find justice,” he said. “This is a scandal still unresolved, a scandal that has been going on for 22 years; widows still paying mortgages that should have been paid off decades ago.”

Expecting a Labour landslide in the general election on July 4, Mr ab Owen asked: “Will the party founded and funded over the years by the workers, will they finally give the ASW steelworkers and their families the money that they are owed?”

Adam Price said it was fitting for the debate to take place next door to T? Hywel where the steelworkers’ journey for justice began in a meeting organised by Mr ab Owen’s father.

He told the chamber or Siambr: “Time after time, the story of capitalism in these islands –  and the story of the failure of our democracy – is the story of pension scandals….

“It says something about these countries in the UK – the way we treat our workers, our older workers in retirement. It’s that moral question this incoming Labour Government now faces.”

The former MP and Plaid Cymru leader welcomed a pledge in Labour’s manifesto on miners’ pensions, calling for an equal commitment to former steelworkers.

Sarah Murphy, responding for the Welsh Government, acknowledged the injustice the Allied Steel and Wire pensioners have faced.

The minister pointed out that pension powers are not devolved as she called on the UK Government to “do the right thing and give restorative justice” to former ASW workers.

She told the Senedd: “We are disappointed the UK Government has failed to secure the pensions justice for the former ASW workers that they deserve.

“I recognise the sense of betrayal that they must feel….

“These pensions are not a gift; they are deferred salary. The contributions were made in good faith by ASW workers in the expectation that they would receive security in retirement – not just for them, but also for their families.

“Those contributions should be honoured and honoured in full.”

Continue Reading

News

Welsh Conservatives ask voters to send a message to Labour: ‘Enough is enough’

Published

on

THE WELSH CONSERVATIVES are rallying voters to use their voice on Thursday, July 4th, to signal that 25 years of Labour governance in Wales is enough. However, the question remains whether their message will resonate with the electorate amidst predictions of a near-wipeout for the Tories in Wales.

Since 1999, Labour has overseen critical areas such as the Welsh NHS, education, transport, housing, rural affairs, and job creation. According to the Conservatives, this quarter-century of Labour rule has left Wales with the longest NHS waiting lists in the UK, the poorest educational outcomes, and the lowest employment levels in the country.

Unveiling the Welsh Conservative manifesto in Kinmel Bay this morning, David TC Davies highlighted their achievements, stating, “We have a strong record of action in Wales, from cutting taxes and putting £700 back into the pockets of hardworking Welsh workers, to delivering two freeports which will create thousands of jobs and investing over £2.5 billion to support transport, tourism, heritage, and culture across Wales.

“This is just the start. Our bold plan for Wales will go further so that people in Wales keep more of their hard-earned money to spend on what they want, not what the government wants. We will continue to bring investment and jobs to Wales, so that people can provide for their families and enjoy the security of home ownership. We will make sure our children have the best start in life, with access to opportunities they never thought possible.

“Labour’s lack of ambition for Wales is clear for all to see – Labour in Westminster and Wales ruling out the electrification of the North Wales main line. Only the Conservatives will deliver for North Wales.

“It is only by voting Welsh Conservative can our clear plan, with bold action be put in place and deliver a secure future for Wales.”

Andrew RT Davies MS echoed these sentiments, calling for a change in leadership: “Keir Starmer said that Labour in Wales was his blueprint for what he would do to the rest of the UK. Here in Wales, we know that is a stark warning as we suffer with 20,000 people waiting two years or more for treatment, a 50/50 chance of an ambulance arriving in our hour of need and 20mph speed limits hitting the Welsh economy by up to £9 billion. That is what 25 years of Labour in power looks like.

“But it doesn’t have to be like this. We have a plan to save our Welsh NHS, a plan to kickstart our economy and a plan to get Wales moving. On the 4th of July, it is essential that people use their voice to tell Labour that enough is enough and that Wales deserves better.”

At the heart of the Welsh Conservative election manifesto, set to be published on Friday, is the pledge to reverse Wales’ controversial 20mph speed limit policy by giving people a legal right to challenge existing zones. The policy, introduced by former First Minister Mark Drakeford’s government, has faced significant backlash despite figures showing a reduction in road injuries.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Welsh Secretary David TC Davies, and Tory Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies will present the manifesto in Kinmel Bay, Conwy. Mr Sunak will describe Wales as a “great country, but a country let down by Labour,” which has led the Welsh government since devolution 25 years ago.

Additional neighbourhood police officers and a £1bn investment plan to electrify the North Wales main rail line will also feature prominently in the document. The electrification project, initially announced by Mr Sunak in October 2023 after cancelling the second leg of the HS2 high-speed rail line, aims to revitalise transport infrastructure in North Wales. However, transport experts estimate the actual cost could exceed £1.5bn.

During the manifesto launch, Mr Sunak is expected to criticise Welsh Labour’s priorities, accusing them of focusing solely on maintaining power. He will highlight initiatives like lowering the voting age to 16 in Senedd and local elections and increasing the number of Senedd members as examples of Labour’s self-serving strategies.

Despite calling the election last month, Mr Sunak has not seen a significant reduction in Labour’s lead in opinion polls. David TC Davies, expressing scepticism about Labour’s predicted victory, suggested that any Labour majority would lack enthusiastic support from the electorate.

As the July 4th election approaches, the Welsh Conservatives are emphasising the need for a dramatic shift in governance, advocating for policies they believe will rejuvenate Wales and rectify the issues they attribute to 25 years of Labour control.

Continue Reading

News20 hours ago

Welsh Conservatives ask voters to send a message to Labour: ‘Enough is enough’

THE WELSH CONSERVATIVES are rallying voters to use their voice on Thursday, July 4th, to signal that 25 years of...

News1 day ago

Climber rescued after falling 40ft from cliff at St Govans

TENBY’S all-weather lifeboat was launched at 6pm on Thursday 20th June, after the Coastguard received a report that a climber...

Health2 days ago

NHS performance: Ambulances tied up as hospitals burst at the seams

The Welsh Government described the data as “disappointing”. WG “LACKS GRIP” ON FUNDAMENTALS Sam Rowlands MS, the Conservatives’ Shadow Health...

Charity2 days ago

Two more shouts for the busy Angle RNLI crew

AT 5:47am on Sunday 16 (Jun 16), Angle All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch to assist a police incident at...

Community3 days ago

Renewed partnership safeguards access and conservation at Castlemartin

A NEW agreement has been made to provide continued funding for a Ranger Service on the Military Ranges of South...

Crime3 days ago

Youth arrested for racially aggravated common assault in Haverfordwest

DYFED-POWYS POLICE are appealing for witnesses to a racially aggravated assault which occurred in Tesco, Haverfordwest on Tuesday June 11,...

News5 days ago

Tributes paid to ‘much-loved’ couple who died in A477 collision

THE FAMILIES of a much-loved couple who died in a collision on the A477 on Thursday, June 13, 2024, have...

Crime5 days ago

Police confirm arrests following violent disorder in Pembroke Dock

POLICE in Pembrokeshire have made a statement following the incident on Saturday in which a man on a hoodie was...

Health5 days ago

Welsh cancer care in peril as workforce crisis escalates, warn radiologists

THE ROYAL College of Radiologists (RCR) has issued a stark warning about the escalating workforce crisis in Wales, revealing alarming...

Business5 days ago

Port reports over £40m in revenue for the first time in its history

IN the Port of Milford Haven’s 65th year, revenues exceeded £40m for the first time; closing the year at £41.3m....

Popular This Week