September 2007

28 September 2007

AM Seeks Reassurance From Health Minister That Trust Merger Won't Hit Services

Preseli Pembrokeshire's AM has outlined his fears that the proposed health trust merger will lead to service cutbacks in the County.

He asked Edwina Hart in the Senedd why the consultation on the proposed trust merger is only being carried out with the Community Health Councils and members of staff, and not the general public.

"The proposals contain no specific costings or details as to how health services would be better delivered and patient care improved," he said.

"I am genuinely concerned that creating one trust for west Wales could lead to vital services being transferred from Pembrokeshire, to other parts of the former county of Dyfed.

"In any large organisation, it is the peripheries that suffer, and given that Pembrokeshire would, geographically, be on the periphery of such a large trust, it would be the first to suffer."

Mrs Hart reassured him that the merger was purely an administrative one.

"There is no intention of changing any of the existing service provisions," she said in Wednesday's plenary session of the Senedd. "There is no question of anything happening with regard to service provision or where services are located within the area.

However, I see this as the administrative merger of trust boards, and the streamlining of administrative structures. If it came to looking at services within the areas — we are currently looking at Withybush Hospital — that would be a different type of consultation, and it would have to go out for public response."

Mr Davies also asked her why the health boards are not being merged and Mrs Hart hinted that they may be next.

"I note your point on local health boards. I will be considering in future how they can work together better," she said.

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21 September 2007

"Price Fixing" By Supermarkets Has Hit Pembrokeshire Farmers

Pembrokes

hire’s Assembly Members have condemned a price-fixing scandal which has seen the county’s dairy farmers losing thousands of pounds.

The Office of Fair Trading has provisionally found Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, as well as dairy processors, guilty of colluding to increase the price of dairy products.

Consumers were charged an extra 3p for a pint of milk, but the rise in price was not passed on to the farmers meaning that both producers and consumers lost out.

“This is a very serious allegation and I am pleased that the OFT has taken the matter so seriously,” said Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies.

“I have said for some time now that the supermarkets have got too much purchasing power.  I would like to introduce a statutory code of conduct to ensure there is agreement between producers and supermarkets.”

Angela Burns, AM for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, said: “This has only confirmed what farmers have suspected for years - that the supermarkets’ claims that they have farmers interests at heart is nothing more than marketing spin.   

“The supermarkets and dairies now have an obligation to do the right thing for their suppliers and customers.”

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19 September 2007

Affordable Housing And Planning Are Key Issues For Pembrokeshire

More needs to be done to help youngsters and key workers get on the housing ladder and planning laws need to be more flexible, housing experts in the county have been told.

Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies identified planning and affordable housing as the two key issues facing the county when he addressed the AGM of the Pembrokeshire Housing Association.

"All too often, it is our young people who find it so difficult to get on the housing market," he told delegates at the Plas Hyfryd Hotel in Narberth.

"Ten years ago, almost half a million people got onto the Housing Ladder. In 2005, that figure stood at just over a quarter of a million – The lowest total since 1980."*

Mr Davies pointed out that it was often key workers who found it hardest to get on the first rung of the property ladder. And he praised the Association for operating the Homebuy and Local Keyworkers' Schemes which aim to help people buy their own affordable homes.

"Efforts such as these show that Pembrokeshire Housing Association leads the way in providing affordable housing," he said.

He added that he and South Pembrokeshire's AM Angela Burns want to increase the involvement of town and community councillors in the local planning process.

"This is an area where responsibility truly needs to be handed back to residents, not arbitrarily decided in Cardiff Bay," he said. "Rather than massive developments of thousands of houses, we could regenerate many villages if we were to build a few homes in different villages.

"This would preserve the character of the village whilst also increasing the community."

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Grow It

Paul-Grow_ItThe week-long event was attended by more than 1,100 schoolchildren from the county who learned about where food comes from and different ways to enjoy it.

"Coming from a farming background I appreciate how important it is for school children to understand where our food comes from," said Mr Davies.

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06 September 2007

Pembrokeshire's AM Hears Plans To Make Carew Airfield a Tourist Magnet

Paul-Carew_AirfieldAmbitious plans to recreate the wartime airfield in Carew have been spelled out to Pembrokeshire's Assembly Members.

The Carew Cheriton Control Tower had been used as a cowshed but has been restored to its former glory by a band of volunteers over the past seven years.

Two school parties a week now visit to learn about Pembrokeshire's role in both the world wars. The group is planning a £1.6 million redevelopment project that includes building a hangar for an Anson aircraft as well as visitor and education centres.

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05 September 2007

Haverfordwest Musuem Enlightens Shadow Culture Minister

Paul-SimonHaverfordwest Town Museum has been revealing the challenges faced by Wales' smaller museums to shadow Culture Minister Paul Davies.

The Preseli Pembrokeshire AM visited the museum in Castle House and was shown around by curator Simon Hancock.

"I was deeply impressed by the museum which is a fascinating resource for our schoolchildren and which is kept afloat by a loyal band of volunteers," said Mr Davies.

Mr Hancock is paid as a part time manager for the museum but more than 2,000 volunteer hours were put into the museum by 16 helpers last year alone.
"As Paul is our local AM and also the shadow Culture Minister I wanted to introduce the museum and to make him aware of what we offer," said Mr Hancock, who is also Neyland's County Councillor.

"I also told him of the challenges faced by smaller museums operating in Wales. We were delighted that he was able to visit and pleased to get his support."

The museum gets a grant of £1,600 a year from the county council but its largest benefactor is Haverfordwest Town Council.

Mr Davies is now writing to the county council to see if they can provide any more funding for the museum, especially in the run up to marking Haverfordwest's 900th anniversary in 2010.

*Haverfordwest Town Museum currently has a Horrible Homicides of Haverfordwest exhibition running. It costs just £1 per adult for entry and it's free for children and those in education. Call 01437 763087 for details.

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