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Plaid Cymru demands £4bn from HS2 and more control over Welsh resources

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PLAID CYMRU’S leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth, has called for an additional £4 billion in funding for Wales from the HS2 rail project, along with greater control over the nation’s natural resources. Unveiling the party’s manifesto for the upcoming general election, Mr ap Iorwerth outlined several key demands aimed at ensuring “fair” funding and increased autonomy for Wales.

“It’s not a begging bowl, it’s just what’s right,” he stated, highlighting the necessity for investment in public services and the economy. He urged Welsh voters to hold Labour accountable, warning against giving them a “free pass” in the general election.

Mr ap Iorwerth emphasised the need for equitable financial treatment for Wales, advocating for a £20 per week increase in child benefit. This increase, according to the manifesto, would lift 60,000 children out of poverty. He criticised the current funding system, which is governed by the Barnett formula based on population, and called for its replacement with a needs-based approach.

Plaid Cymru claims that Wales is owed £4 billion from the HS2 project, which is classified as an England and Wales project despite terminating in Birmingham. This classification precludes additional funding for the Welsh government. Mr ap Iorwerth argued that the extra funds would significantly enhance public transport in Wales, enabling investments in buses, roads, and railways.

“Just imagine what that could do to transform our public transport network nationwide – buses, roads, and railways – connecting our communities and giving our economy that desperately-needed boost,” he said.

The manifesto also calls for the decriminalisation of “soft” drugs and proposes expunging the criminal records of those convicted of drug possession, provided there are no aggravating factors. Plaid Cymru advocates for devolving criminal justice to Wales to develop a distinct Welsh approach to policing.

Plaid Cymru’s manifesto promotes a “fairer” tax system, with increased windfall taxes on energy companies and a cap on bankers’ bonuses. The party argues that the burden should fall on those with “the broadest shoulders” to ensure a fairer share of overall tax paid.

The party stands against the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system, suggesting that defence funds should be redirected towards conventional defence and peaceful initiatives rather than “weapons of mass destruction.”

Plaid Cymru is pushing for full control over natural resources and waters, along with enhanced powers over migration, including Wales-specific visa schemes. The party also seeks control over broadcasting and Crown Estate properties, allowing benefits from investments, such as renewable energy, to return to Wales.

Currently, the Welsh government only oversees energy projects up to 350MW. Plaid Cymru argues for complete levers over all energy projects.

Plaid Cymru won four seats in Westminster during the 2019 election. Following boundary changes, the party is defending two constituencies: Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Ceredigion Preseli. It aims to gain additional seats in Caerfyrddin and Ynys Mon, fending off competition from Labour and the Conservatives.

Mr ap Iorwerth took over as Plaid leader last June after Adam Price stepped down following a report on allegations of misogyny within the party. Recently, Mr ap Iorwerth led Plaid Cymru out of a co-operation agreement with Vaughan Gething’s Welsh Labour government.

Plaid Cymru’s manifesto sets forth a vision of fair funding, increased autonomy, and progressive policies aimed at enhancing the well-being and governance of Wales. As the general election approaches, the party appeals to voters to ensure their voices are heard and their interests represented in Westminster.

Entertainment

Blue Lagoon to open to the public for one day only as charity fundraiser

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A POPULAR leisure venue will be open to locals this summer with the aim of raising thousands of pounds for local charities.

The Blue Lagoon at Bluestone National Park Resort will throw its doors open to the public on August 27.

Six hundred tickets will be available for the local community to enjoy the tropical water park.

All ticket sales go to local charitable causes, with 75 per cent of funds going to a local charitable organisation and 25 per cent through the Bluestone Foundation.

On Tuesday, August 27, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home and Team Cruising Free will benefit from the fundraising created through ticket sales.

Paul Sartori provides end of life care and support at home for Pembrokeshire patients. Team Cruising Free will row the Atlantic in 2025, raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Paul Sartori.

The Bluestone Foundation, the charitable arm of Bluestone National Park Resort has generated funding totalling £17,500 for west Wales communities from its latest round of events and funding.

It has supported local groups with more than £250,000 since it was launched in 2010.

The Bluestone Foundation offers two avenues of support: the community events and the community fund. The community events at the Blue Lagoon raise funds and awareness for local charities.

This year, the foundation has already hosted events for Get the Boys a Lift and VC Gallery. As well as the August event, there will also be an event in October for Sammy Sized Gap, a local charity supporting young people with mental health issues.

“We are thrilled to see the positive impact our community events have on local organisations,” said Marten Lewis at the Bluestone Foundation. “The Blue Lagoon provides a unique and enjoyable setting for fundraising, and we are grateful for the community’s support.”

The community fund, which runs in three rounds this year, provides financial assistance to projects focused on economic, social, and environmental initiatives. The foundation recently allocated approximately £7,500 to three projects in its first round of funding and is currently reviewing applications for its second round which closes in July. A third round of funding will close on 17 October.

Among those to have benefited in the first round are the South Ridgeway Community Association in Manorbier to help develop a community garden and allotments; The Tenby Project, to support weekly sessions with a trained nutritionist on healthy eating for adults with learning difficulties; and Transition Bro Gwaun in Fishguard, to host community energy engagement events.

Tickets for the August event can be purchased at Eventbrite For more information about the Bluestone Foundation and its initiatives, visit www.pavs.org.uk/apply-for-funds.

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Entertainment

Broad Haven’s Music Festival set to rock village

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GET ready for an electrifying day of music and fun as the Havens Events Crew proudly presents the highly anticipated Broad Haven Music Festival. Scheduled for Saturday, July 20, from 3 PM to 11:30 PM, this event promises a vibrant mix of live bands, local talent, and a delightful BBQ, making it an unmissable occasion for music lovers and families alike.

The festival, at Broad Haven School Field, will feature an impressive lineup of performers. Attendees can look forward to the acoustic melodies of Cadence Acoustic, the energetic rhythms of Coastal Horizon, and the dynamic performances by Loose Change. These local bands are set to deliver a variety of genres, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

In addition to the musical performances, the festival will offer a range of delicious BBQ options, perfect for enjoying a summer evening outdoors. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a visitor, the Broad Haven Music Festival is an ideal opportunity to experience the local culture, connect with the community, and enjoy high-quality entertainment.

Tickets for the event are available for purchase at the Broad Haven Post Office and Lobster and Môr. Early acquisition is recommended to secure a spot at this popular event.

It promises to be a memorable day filled with music, food, and community spirit. The Broad Haven Music Festival is more than just a concert; it’s a celebration of local talent and a testament to the vibrant culture of our town. Don’t miss out on this fantastic event!

For more information, visit the Havens Events Crew’s official website or follow their social media pages for updates and announcements.


Event Details:

  • Date: Saturday, July 20
  • Time: 3 PM – 11:30 PM
  • Location: Broad Haven School Field
  • Performers: Cadence Acoustic, Coastal Horizon, Loose Change
  • Tickets Available At: Broad Haven Post Office, Lobster and Môr

Be sure to mark your calendars and get your tickets soon – we look forward to seeing you there!

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England’s Euro 2024 semi-final victory captivates millions

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ENGLAND’S Euro 2024 semi-final victory over the Netherlands garnered a peak audience of 20.3 million on ITV, cementing its status as the most-watched television programme of the year. Broadcasters are now hopeful that Sunday night’s final against Spain will attract over 30 million viewers, surpassing the numbers that tuned in for England’s Euro 2020 final defeat.

The overnight viewing figures, provided by ratings agency Digital-i, do not account for the millions who streamed the match on ITVX or watched in public venues. The coverage of Euro 2024 in the UK is split between the BBC and ITV, with the channels alternating first choices for matches in each round. ITV executives celebrated Jordan Pickford’s crucial penalty save against Switzerland, which secured another high-profile England match and delivered a substantial advertising boost to the channel.

Both the BBC and ITV will broadcast the final, with approximately a fifth of viewers typically opting for ITV over the BBC. Euro 2024 has demonstrated the enduring appeal of live sports broadcasting, which continues to draw massive audiences, particularly when the events are free to watch. Even matches not involving home nations have attracted significant viewership, with the Spain v France semi-final on BBC One peaking at 11 million viewers.

The Euros are part of the UK’s “crown jewel” sporting events, which include the football World Cup, Wimbledon, and the Olympics, all mandated by law to be shown on free-to-air channels. In contrast, other sports have opted for the higher revenue available from pay TV channels, resulting in substantially lower audiences for international matches. The England and Wales cricket board successfully lobbied in the 2000s to keep England test matches off the free-to-air list. Consequently, Jimmy Anderson’s farewell match against the West Indies at Lords, broadcast behind a paywall on Sky, attracted a peak audience of only about 700,000 viewers.

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