Welsh News

  1. FINCH-SAUNDERS: 1-in-5 residents not accessing internet in Conwy & Denbighshire Thu, 22/06/2017 - 13:31

    More people in Conwy & Denbighshire do not have access to the internet than in any other part of the UK, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

    New data has shown that 22.8% of residents in Conwy & Denbighshire have either not accessed the internet in the last 3 months, or have never been online.

    The figures have been described as “shocking” by Aberconwy AM, Janet Finch-Saunders, who said she was concerned by the number of old people unable to access services online.

    Janet Finch-Saunders said:

    “We live in a world where the internet is increasingly vital for attaining jobs, accessing services, and for everyday communication. And yet more than one-in-five residents here in Conwy simply aren’t going online.

    “There is an older demographic here, which leaves large parts of the community without a basic understanding of how to use the internet.

    “But that comes with a price, and many people are missing out on discounts for goods and services bought online – which puts them at a distinct financial disadvantage.

    “This has to change, and we need a renewed focus on making sure that people are tech savvy enough to get by – and of course, on improving connectivity.”

    Shadow Economy Secretary, Russell George, added:

    “The internet has changed the way people go about their daily lives, and many activities previously carried out on the high street are now increasingly being carried out online.

    “That’s going to become more and more isolating for people who cannot use the internet.

    “It is important that the Welsh Government is offering ongoing training and support for the many thousands of people in Wales who have never been online.”

     

    ENDS

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/itandinternetindustry/bulletins/internetusers/2017  

  2. DAVIES: Scandalous Welsh Government response to Tesco House closure   Wed, 21/06/2017 - 13:52

    South Wales Central AM, Andrew RT Davies, has expressed his concern and anger at the news that Tesco plans to close its Cardiff Customer Engagement Centre.

     

    The centre, located in Llanishen, employs 1,100 people, and the closure comes just months after Barclays announced 180 jobs would be lost at its mortgage centre in the area.

     

    The decision is part of a wider restructuring by Tesco – and under the plans the centre’s operations would move to a separate site in Dundee.

     

    Responding to the news in the National Assembly for Wales, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates confirmed he had only heard about the decision 45 minutes before it was announced.

     

    Davies criticised the Welsh Government’s response, calling it a “damning indictment” of the Welsh Government’s record on jobs and called on the Cabinet Secretary to respond proactively to safeguard the jobs at risk.

     

    Davies said:

     

    “It is bitterly disappointing and concerning that Tesco plans to close its Cardiff call centre, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.

     

    “It is simply scandalous that the Cabinet Secretary only found out about the decision 45 minutes before it was announced – when the Welsh Government should be far better connected to such businesses making such a major decision.

     

    “This could be the biggest single loss of jobs in Wales since 2009, and will be a huge blow for the employees and their families and the South Wales economy.

     

    “I have requested a meeting with Tesco about the decision, and I call on the Cabinet Secretary to take the initiative to try and safeguard the jobs at risk and develop a far stronger strategy to create and protect jobs in Wales.”

     

    Notes to editors:

     

    Andrew RT Davies has submitted an emergency question to the Presiding Officer for consideration this afternoon.

  3. ISHERWOOD: New helpline for armed forces veterans Tue, 20/06/2017 - 17:54

    South Wales has been chosen as the base for a new 24-hour helpline for armed forces veterans from across the UK returning to civilian life.

    Connect Assist will take on 12 staff to run the £2m Veterans' Gateway at Nantgarw, near Cardiff.

    Advice on housing, finance and health will be on offer, pointing veterans to the relevant charities and support.

    The UK Government's Veterans Minister Tobias Ellwood said it drew together "all facets of support" for veterans and families.

    Welsh Conservative Shadow Communities Secretary, Mark Isherwood, said:

    “The Veterans’ Gateway helpline is great news for Armed Forces veterans and their families, making it easier for them to access the support they need.

    “We have long bemoaned the inconsistency of support for veterans, and this announcement will help service men and women to make a smooth transition into civilian life.

    “Housing, health and other services have often failed to meet their needs, leading to social isolation and reducing the health and wellbeing of individuals.”

  4. ANDREW RT: Disagreement between First Minister and education secretary over key PISA targets Tue, 20/06/2017 - 17:34

    Fault lines have emerged today between the First Minister and his Liberal Democrat Education Secretary over a key Welsh Government target to improve Wales’ scores in the international PISA assessment.

    The previous Labour minister for education, Huw Lewis, had set a target for 500 points on each subject – Science, English and Maths – in the 2021 PISA test.

    This target was seemingly dismissed by Kirsty Williams AM when questioned by a committee last Thursday where she told AMs: “it’s not my target.”

    But during First Minister’s Questions today, the Welsh Conservative leader sought clarification from Carwyn Jones over what in fact the Welsh Government’s target for PISA now was.

    Publicly contradicting his education secretary – sat only yards away - Mr Jones told Mr Davies that the key 500 target remained a priority for the Welsh Government. Baffled by the response, Mr Davies asked: “Who’s taking responsibility for education in Wales?”

    The Labour administration has presided over a decade of decline in the PISA assessment. In 2016, it finished significantly behind all other UK nations and scored beneath the OECD average on all three subject areas. 

    Despite making modest progress in the maths category since the last assessment in 2012, the results revealed that Wales went backwards in reading and science. All scores were however lower than they were in the first assessment 10 years ago.  

    In its worst performing subject, reading, Wales now sits on a par with former Eastern Bloc countries Hungary and Lithuania

    Speaking outside the Assembly Chamber, Andrew RT Davies said:

    “What we’ve learned today is that there exists clear disagreement between the First Minister and his education secretary over how the Welsh Government should prioritise education in Wales.

    “It’s evident that Kirsty Williams had acted outside her authority when she disassociated herself from the Labour administration’s PISA target last Thursday in front of a committee of AMs.

    “Having been very publicly undermined by the First Minister today, who obviously sits in the driving seat where education is concerned, one has to question whether Kirsty Williams’ role in the Welsh Government Cabinet is still tenable.”

  5. TB eradication scheme must not lead to “flurry of regulations” Tue, 20/06/2017 - 17:33

    Welsh Conservatives say they will support an “all-encompassing” scheme to tackle bovine TB, but call for cast-iron guarantees that the Welsh Government’s new scheme won’t lead to extra red tape.

    Responding to today’s statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment & Rural Affairs, Shadow Agriculture Secretary, Paul Davies, said:

    “We want to see decisive action from the Welsh Government to tackle a disease that is having a devastating impact on Welsh farming. I am pleased that at long last the current Cabinet Secretary is starting to take the necessary steps to remove this disease from the wildlife population as well as tackling the disease in cattle.

    “But we need to have cast iron guarantees that the Welsh Government’s change in approach won’t lead to a flood of red tape and regulation on farmers.

    “Ultimately, additional pressure must not fall upon farmers, who have already suffered the effects of TB for too long.

    “Welsh Conservatives will support an all-encompassing and holistic scheme to tackle TB but I hope we will not see extra regulation which would be hugely damaging for the industry.”

     

    ENDS