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.


07 January 2010

Rates Bill Hike Final Straw For Struggling Self Catering Sector?

Increases in rates bills could be the final straw for Pembrokeshire's self‐catering businesses already facing a downturn in business, warns local AM Paul Davies.

New figures reveal that almost a quarter of self‐catering properties in Wales were empty in August last year.

Mr Davies is worried that the drop in visitors at such a peak time of year, coupled with the huge hike in rates bills that many self‐catering businesses are facing, could spell the end for some.


Make European Broadband Funding Easily Accessible, Says AM

Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies is calling for new European grants for better broadband to be easily accessible.

The European Commission has agreed to allow European funds to be used for wiping out broadband "not‐spot" areas in Wales.

But Mr Davies is concerned that information on how to access the money and support in applying for it may be hard to come by.


01 January 2010

Pembrokeshire Charity Facing Annual £1,500 Inspection Fee

APembrokeshire charity is facing an annual inspection fee of up to £1,500 to continue providing a lifeline for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sufferers, Paul Davies AM has revealed.

The Hyperbaric Oxygen Pembrokeshire Endeavour (HOPE) charity provides physio and hyperbaric oxygen therapy for up to 65 people a week at its Neyland base.


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