January 2010

01 February 2010

Free School Breakfast Scheme Must Be Reviewed

WELSH Conservatives today demanded that the Assembly Government review the value for money of its free school breakfast scheme after it emerged they are spending more than £8mn on the initiative.
Figures obtained by the party reveal that the cost of operating the scheme last year was £8.3mn. It is thought this will rise even higher in 2010.

The news comes after it emerged average spend per pupil in Wales is £527 less than in England. Education Minister Leighton Andrews has also pledged to hold a review of education spending to "make sure we make the best use of the resources available to us".


29 January 2010

Pembrokeshire Pupils Have £229 Less Spent On Them Than English Counterparts

Pembrokeshire's school pupils have on average £229 less spent on their education each year than their English counterparts, new figures reveal.

Preseli Pembrokeshire AM and Shadow Education Minister Paul Davies says that children in Wales are missing out because of the spending gap.


28 January 2010

Pembrokeshire’s Vital Holiday Let Sector Hit By 85 % Higher Rates

Pembrokeshire's vital holiday let sector will be hit by an 85% average hike in business rates bills this spring, local AM Paul Davies has revealed.

Business rates bills are rising from April following a rates revaluation and the Welsh Assembly Government concedes that the self catering industry has been hit extra hard.

But it is refusing to give any special financial help to the sector.


27 January 2010

Education Spending Gap Unacceptably Wide

COMMENTING on today's figures which show that the gap in average spend per pupil between Wales and England has risen above £500, Shadow Education Minister Paul Davies AM said:

"Breaking through this unacceptable barrier puts added pressure on the First Minister to fulfil his commitment to increase education spending in Wales.

"We will also be looking at how the new Education Minister addresses this issue in light of his recently announced spending review.


25 January 2010

Assembly Government Needs To Spend Nhs Money More Wisely

New figures revealing that productivity in the Welsh NHS is lower than in England proves the Government must spend health money more wisely, says Pembrokeshire's AMs.

The Nuffield Trust report into healthcare systems across the UK showed that while more was spent on the NHS in Wales, productivity levels were considerably lower than across the border in England.


Paul Davies Am Kicks Off Farmhouse Breakfast Week At Senedd

farmhouseBreakfastWeekPreseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies recently attended the launch of Farmhouse Breakfast Week in Wales.

The event, aimed at promoting the use of Welsh farm produce in traditional breakfasts, was hosted by Mr Davies at the Welsh Assembly Building.


22 January 2010

Chevron’s Restructuring

Commenting on Chevron's restructuring plans, Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies said: "This news is of huge concern. Chevron has said it won't make any more detailed announcements for at least another five weeks so the 1,400 workers now face a very stressful time waiting to hear what the future holds.

"I am supporting my Conservative colleagues in pressing Chevron's Head Office in California for more details as soon as possible and stressing to them the importance of the refinery to both Pembrokeshire and the whole of Wales."


20 January 2010

Universities Paying The Price For Government Failure To Invest

COMMENTING on today's concerns by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales that jobs and courses may have to be cut at Welsh universities due to a funding squeeze, Shadow Education Minister Paul Davies AM said:
"A thriving university sector is vital for the Welsh economy, particularly during difficult economic times.

"By failing to invest in higher education the Assembly Government risks long-term damage to the Welsh economy, skills base, and the promotion of life-long learning.


18 January 2010

Education Review Must Deliver Real Outcomes

COMMENTING on Assembly Government plans to review the way schools, colleges and universities are funded, Shadow Education Minister Paul Davies AM said:

"We don't need a review to tell us that far too much money which should be spent on teaching is wasted on bureaucracy.


15 January 2010

Am’s Disappointment As 20 High Quality Jobs Lost In County

Commenting on the closure of Haverfordwest's tax office, Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies said: "While this comes as no great surprise I am still bitterly disappointed by the news.

I emphasised to the consultation into the closures just how important high quality jobs are in an area as rural as this.

"This is yet another example of services being "centralised" by this Government and taken away from Pembrokeshire.


Farmer’s Ombudsman “Must Have Teeth” Says AM

A new watchdog designed to keep an eye on the way supermarkets treat farmers has been welcomed by Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies.

Consumer Minister Kevin Brennan announced on Wednesday that the body will come into force on February 4.

"I'd like to congratulate the farming unions on winning their 10‐year campaign to get this ombudsman scheme set up," said Mr Davies.


14 January 2010

Don’t Punish Schools For Staying Open During Snow

Pembrokeshire schools that stayed open despite the snow shouldn't be punished by getting poor attendance records, says
Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies.

Schools that managed to stay open with skeleton staff and half of their pupils are officially classed as having had a 50% absentee rate.
But if the school was officially closed then that school day is not counted towards attendance statistics.

Mr Davies, who is also shadow Welsh education minister, is concerned that head teachers worried about their attendance records may be too hasty in closing schools.


13 January 2010

Demands On Sar Helicopters Proves Need For 24‐hour Chivenor Cover

Overwhelming demand on Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters during the extreme winter weather has underlined the need to keep 24‐hour cover at RMB Chivenor, say Pembrokeshire's AMs.

Choppers from military search and rescue teams have been called upon to help deal with a record number of 999 calls, many of which were unreachable because of the snow.

Latest figures show that RAF rescue helicopters across the UK have been called out 100 times in the first ten days of the year – double the usual rate.


12 January 2010

Ministers Must Clarify School Closure Guidance

COMMENTING on today's reports that schools are being penalised for staying open during the bad weather, Shadow Education Minister Paul Davies AM said:

"It seems grossly unfair that schools are being penalised for absenteeism if they stay open but not all pupils can make it into class.


08 January 2010

Don’t Stop The Music – Village Halls, Churches And Charities Face New Tax

Government to hit local voluntary groups across Pembrokeshire with new music charges Churches, village halls, charity shops and sports clubs across Pembrokeshire face a new £20 million tax from Gordon Brown's Government, Conservative parliamentary candidate Simon Hart warned today.

In the small print of obscure new regulations, the Government is abolishing charities' and voluntary groups' long‐standing exemption from music licensing rules – hitting them with unexpected new bills of around £80 each just for holding events with recorded music or for playing a radio.


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