2013

20 September 2013

Local AM Speaks Out for Local Bus Services

Local AM Paul Davies is pictured outside Haverfordwest bus station.Local Assembly Member Paul Davies has recently fed into the South West Wales Integrated Transport Consortium (SWWITCH) consultation on their draft Regional Network Strategy. The consultation follows the Welsh Government's decision to replace the former Bus Services Operators' Grant (BSOG), the Local Transport Services Grant (LTSG) and the Community Transport Concessionary Fares Initiative (CTCFI), with a single funding scheme known as the Regional Transport Services Grant (RTSG).

Mr Davies said, "Access to bus services and other forms of transport is vital to many of my constituents given the rural nature of Preseli Pembrokeshire. For many people bus services provide a lifeline in terms of being able to travel to work, access shops, health services and other facilities. If there is to be a choice made on future funding arrangements for bus services in west Wales, it is absolutely crucial that rurality and social needs are properly considered. Rural services are already facing pressures and so it is more important than ever that current services are protected to ensure that essential facilities in Pembrokeshire are accessible to all. I look forward to hearing the outcome of this consultation and how it will affect the people of Pembrokeshire."

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Paul Davies Takes Part in Beach Clean at Poppit Sands

Local AM Paul Davies is pictured with Keep Wales Tidy staff and volunteers at Poppit Sands beach.Local Assembly Member Paul Davies has taken part in a local beach clean with Keep Wales Tidy staff and volunteers as part of Keep Wales Tidy week. The group met at Poppit Sands to undertake a thorough beach clean in an effort to raise awareness of preserving the local environment and combat the issue of beach litter.

Mr Davies said, "I was delighted to take part in the beach clean at Poppit Sands. The Pembrokeshire coastline is very important for Wales as it boosts the local economy and supports the tourism industry, whilst all the while allowing us to showcase how beautiful Pembrokeshire is. Therefore it is absolutely essential that we do all that we can to maintain the local environment for local residents and for visitors to enjoy. Keep Wales Tidy do a fantastic job of working with communities across Wales all year round to maintain our beautiful beaches and it is important that we do all that we can to support them. To read more about Keep Wales Tidy's fantastic work, please visit http://www.keepwalestidy.org/home"

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17 September 2013

Pembrokeshire to miss out on Regeneration Funding

Paul is pictured in Milford Haven town centre.Local Assembly Member Paul Davies has expressed his extreme disappointment that Pembrokeshire has not been selected to proceed to Stage 2 of the 'Vibrant and Viable Places' regeneration process. Following the Minister for Housing and Regeneration's recent statement, Pembrokeshire is now one of only four local authorities in Wales not to be considered for regeneration funding from the Welsh Labour Government.

Mr Davies said, "I'm extremely disappointed that the Welsh Government have dismissed Pembrokeshire's proposal to support regeneration efforts in Milford Haven. Sadly, the town centre underperforms with high vacancy rates (17% by unit or 11% by area for ground Class A) and the building of new affordable houses is low compared to need, with only 452 delivered between 2007 and 2013. Given that the Welsh Government's new framework is directed towards regenerating town centres and coastal communities, it's unacceptable that Milford Haven has been overlooked. Therefore, I will be raising this issue with the Minister in the Assembly Chamber to find out why Pembrokeshire has been ignored."

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10 September 2013

Local AM supporting Pembrokeshire Tourism

Pictured is Paul with Jayne Hancock of award winning Fields Lodge Bed and Breakfast in Herbrandston.Local Welsh Assembly Member Paul Davies is supporting a new strategy launched by the Welsh Conservative Party. It focusses on the future of the Welsh tourism industry, aiming to determine how the sector can be improved or marketed differently.

The new strategy will launch two surveys as a twin track consultation, one asking the holiday makers for their views on welsh tourism whilst the other will ask those individuals who work in the industry their thoughts on the current economy and how they want it improved.

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06 September 2013

Paul Davies Visits U3A Group

L-R: Anna Davies (Member), Theresa Arkle (Member), Vernon Devonald (Committee Member), Paul Davies (Local AM), Jan Thomas (Secretary) and Gill Taylor (Chairman).Preseli Pembrokeshire Assembly Member Paul Davies has visited the Preseli's branch of the University of the Third Age to give a presentation to their members on the National Assembly for Wales and the role of Assembly Members. Mr Davies also took part in a question and answer session where members had the opportunity to quiz their local Assembly Member on aspects of his role and his stance on local issues.

Mr Davies said, "I was delighted to visit the U3A group to talk to members about my role as the constituency Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, the National Assembly for Wales and its powers; and of current issues that are important to my constituents.

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02 September 2013

Spirit of Enterprise continues to support arts and craft businesses in Pembrokeshire

Outside PBI Spirit of Enterprise Shop in High St, Haverfordwest with Rhodri Packman (PBI Marketing Adviser), Paul Lloyd (PBI Managing Director), Dilys Jenkinson (test-trader), Kathleen Davies (Spirit of Enterprise project administrator).Pembrokeshire shoppers looking to buy a piece of art or craftwork might be able to find that special gift at 44 High Street, Haverfordwest. Visitors to the Spirit of Enterprise shop are able to browse a unique range of products and by purchasing the quality items on display will be directly supporting Pembrokeshire's budding entrepreneurs.

PBI's project has been designed to give a helping hand to artists and crafts people looking to start a new business, before having to commit themselves to buying or renting their own business premises. The shop, and office space in the same building, provides a high street space as a 'test trading' experience for a period of up to 3 months. The project is free and is open to anyone over the age of sixteen who is thinking of starting, but not already in business and who has a product designed and made by themselves. Whether unemployed or wanting a change of direction in life, the PBI project could be the chance to find out if an artistic leaning could provide a potential future income.

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Labour’s £13million External Legal Fees

Figures uncovered by the Welsh Conservatives reveal that the Welsh Labour Government has spent £13million on external legal services in the past five years, despite having its own legal department with over 120 members of staff.

The total bill for external legal services for the financial years 2008-09 to 2012-13 was £13,021,005. Since the last Assembly election, external legal fees have risen by nearly 50%, standing at almost £3million in 2012-13.

The figures were branded 'startling', given the Welsh Government has its own 120-strong legal department, which is funded from the Welsh Government's £314million annual running costs.

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23 August 2013

Welsh Government Fails to Share Best Practice with Itself

Commenting on the publication of a report by the Assembly's Finance Committee, which concludes that the Welsh Government wastes money through poor asset management and that its departments work independently, Paul Davies AM, Shadow Minister for Finance, said:

"The Welsh Government should practice what it preaches to local authorities and other public bodies in Wales.

"It is the height of hypocrisy to preach to the public sector about the need to tighten belts and spend money wisely, when this Labour Government hasn't even got its own house in order.

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21 August 2013

Local AM Slams Cancelled Ops Figures for Withybush

Paul is pictured in front of Withybush Hospital.Figures obtained by the Western Mail show that in 2012-13, 72 patients at Withybush hospital had an operation cancelled, with 50 of those patients having their operation cancelled due to bed shortages. The latest figures are equivalent to one and a half persons a week, on average in Pembrokeshire.

Commenting on these figures, local Assembly Member Paul Davies said, "These figures are extremely worrying. The cancellation of an operation is difficult for any patient. Therefore it is essential that the health board takes measures to tackle this issue urgently.

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19 August 2013

Local AM Supports FSB Rural Business Agenda

L-R: Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies, FSB Member Stephen Cole, Rachel Bowen FSB Policy Manager for Wales, Stephen Crabb MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire.Local Assembly Member Paul Davies has recently attended a Federation of Small Businesses event at the Pembrokeshire Show, to highlight their agenda for rural business. Their vision promotes three ways of helping rural businesses by improving digital infrastructure, reducing high fuel costs and re-establishing sensible arrangements for business rate relief.

Mr Davies said, "I was delighted to attend the FSB rural agenda launch to learn more ways in which we can help rural businesses. Engaging and understanding the needs of small firms is vital in rural areas like Pembrokeshire. I regularly receive correspondence from businesses regarding a lack of access to fast and reliable broadband and mobile phone coverage is still a big issue in many parts of west Wales. Broadband is no longer a luxury for businesses – it is essential and so more must be done to ensure that businesses in Pembrokeshire are on a level playing field to compete for work. For my part, I will continue to raise this issue at an Assembly level with the Business Minister.

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16 August 2013

Paul Davies encourages Holidaymakers to have their say

Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies is encouraging local holidaymakers to have their say on what Welsh tourism has to offer and how the industry could be improved or marketed differently. The Welsh Conservatives have launched a twin track consultation on the future of tourism in Wales and the results of the surveys will feed directly into Welsh Conservative policy development and inform the Welsh Conservative manifesto for the 2016 Assembly elections. The second survey will invite contributions from people working in the Welsh tourist industry, seeking views about the work and structure of Visit Wales.

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Local AM Encourages Buying Local Produce

Local AM is pictured with Jayne Hancock, of Fields Lodge B&B, Herbrandston.Local Assembly Member Paul Davies is encouraging the people of Pembrokeshire to buy food locally, following the launch of the Welsh Conservatives' vision for Welsh produce. The vision is designed to promote local foods, support food tourism and encourage eating in season. With business support and tourism at its heart, the policy aims to bring food, drink and hospitality businesses together in a partnership scheme.

Speaking at the Pembrokeshire County Show, Mr Davies said, "In Pembrokeshire, we have many quality food producers, with an exceptionally high standard of produce, and we should take advantage of that. The quality of Welsh meat is particularly high and local and independent suppliers will often know the farm on which an animal was reared. Therefore, there is no better time to support your local butcher and the local agricultural industry."

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30 July 2013

Local AM Visits British Heart Foundation Shop!

Local AM Paul Davies is pictured with staff and volunteers from the BHF shop in Haverfordwest.Preseli Pembrokeshire Assembly Member Paul Davies has recently visited the British Heart Foundation shop in Haverfordwest, to meet shop staff, volunteers and customers. Following a recent independent report to the Welsh Government, there are concerns that the Business Minister will reduce the business rate relief for charity shops in Wales from 80 to 50 per cent, and to taper rate relief according to the rateable value of shops. If the rate proposals go ahead, the BHF Cymru Haverfordwest shop would need to find an additional £4,825 to pay on their annual rates bill – and an extra £150,000 countrywide if all their shops in Wales were to stay open.

Mr Davies said, "I was delighted to visit the British Heart Foundation shop in Haverfordwest to learn more about how the potential reduction in business rate relief for charity shops would impact the work of charities at a local level. The role of charity shops on the Welsh high street is important for our society and also for our local economy. It is essential that we recognise the valuable contribution charity shops make to the organisations they represent and the essential services that they help to provide, such as health research, nurses and palliative care. The staff and volunteers here do a tremendous job, and it's crucial that they can continue to do so, given that coronary heart disease is the single biggest killer in Wales. Therefore, I will be taking on board the concerns raised with me from the visit and I will be monitoring the Welsh Government's action on this issue over the coming months."

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24 July 2013

New Panel Set Up to Advise on Health Board Changes

Preseli Pembrokeshire Assembly Member Paul Davies is calling on the Welsh Government to bring forward a Ministerial statement on Hywel Dda local health board's reconfiguration plans, following the Health Minister's recent decision to set up a scrutiny panel to advise on the controversial changes. The panel will include Dr Jim Wardrope, a consultant in A&E medicine in Sheffield; Professor of neonatal medicine Neena Modi; and David Salter, former deputy chief medical officer for Wales.

Mr Davies said, "I'm extremely disappointed that the Minister has created this panel, without discussing its terms of reference. Very little is known about this panel and its remit, and the timing of this announcement, at the end of the Government term, is very worrying. It's quite clear that the Minister has chosen to announce the creation of this panel at the end of the Assembly term which seems to suggest that the Government is avoiding thorough and robust scrutiny of this matter.

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19 July 2013

Pembrokeshire children’s services: ‘The time has come for change’

Commenting on the Education and Local Government Ministers' response to two recent highly critical reports into children's services in Pembrokeshire, Shadow Minister for Education and Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Assembly Member Angela Burns said:

"Recent events in Pembrokeshire have been hugely worrying for parents - and absolute confidence that their children are not being repeatedly failed still remains absent.

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