Jane Dodds MS Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has welcomed the concerns raised by NFU Leaders in Wales over the proposed trade deal with Australia and called on the Conservatives not to break the promises they made with local farmers regarding food standards and animal welfare.
The call comes amid rumours that the government is preparing to sign a zero-tariffs trade agreement to Australia with no exceptions for agriculture. The position, said to be supported by International Trade secretary Liz Truss, has been met by a stern warning from the NFU that Welsh farming will struggle to compete if zero-tariff trade on lamb and beef goes ahead with a post-Brexit trade deal with Australia.
Commenting on the developments leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:
“I am disappointed to hear that in a rush to conclude a trade deal with Australia, full tariff liberalisation is on the table. This would be a disaster for Welsh family-owned farms. The Conservatives have repeatedly positioned themselves as great supporters of Welsh farmers, yet the Conservative party seems willing to sell them down the river.
“Allowing Australian farmers to sell their produce tariff-free to the UK would be catastrophic for small family farms.
“This proposed trade deal with Australia threatens the high animal welfare standards that we have enjoyed for decades.
“Australian animal welfare standards are significantly below ours and are below what consumers expect, which means they produce cheaper products. The only way Welsh farmers would be able to compete would be to lower their own excellent standards – a move producers or customers don’t want to see.
“These developments are so concerning because not only could they cause enormous damage to local farmers in the short term, but they could be used as a per cent for free trade agreements with other agricultural producers with low standers including the US and Brazil.
“The NFU are absolutely right to insist that the UK Government safeguards both food and animal welfare standards. Protecting high-quality animal welfare and environmental standards is absolutely vital and I urge Conservative MPs across Wales to urge the government to publish specific steps they will take to ensure that Welsh family farms are able to compete and our food standards aren’t lowered.”
Reacting to the news that the UK Government plans to legislate to introduce a requirement for voters to show photo ID to vote, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:
“Voting is a right that we all enjoy and the government is seeking to undermine that by introducing new obstacles which will inevitably drive turn out down.
“This will not strengthen democracy, it will simply disenfranchise more people at a time when we should be encouraging turnout.
“Requiring voters to show ID was trailed in 2018 across ten English counties and over 2,000 people were refused a vote with around 750 of them not returning to vote later on.
“There are many ways the UK Government can and should be strengthening democracy such as voting reform and lowering the voting age to 16.
“This is illiberal, unnecessary, unjust and will drive down turnout.
“The Welsh Government must not follow the UK Government on this issue.”
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has been elected as Member of the Senedd for Mid and West Wales.
The Welsh Liberal Democrat leader thanked voters for putting their trust in her and her party while pledging to stand up for everyone regardless of how they voted.
Speaking after her declaration Jane Dodds MS said:
"The challenges facing Wales as we emerge from the pandemic must be met by a Senedd that focuses on the needs of communities across Wales.
"My commitment to everyone, whether you voted for the Welsh Liberal Democrats or not, is that we will work constructively and do everything we can to put recovery first.
"Wales needs a recovery for our communities with a plan to support jobs, small businesses and high streets.
"We need a recovery that has a plan to tackle the climate emergency and a recovery that prioritises mental health and wellbeing.
"The next Welsh Government can, and must act on these issues.
"Now more than ever politicians need to focus on our communities and people’s needs. We need more light, and less heat in our political debate. More unity and less division.
"We need plans that meet the real fears that people feel, with genuine hope, and optimism, for the future."
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are pleased to announce their four candidates for the up-and-coming Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales.
- Callum Littlemore will stand in South Wales
- Glyn Preston in Dyfed-Powys
- John Miller in Gwent
- Lisa Wilkins in North Wales
The party is standing on a platform including:
- Putting a strong focus on community policing and working with local communities to help tackle the causes of crime.
- Campaigning around civil liberties, including commitments to ban the use of facial recognition technology, investing in mental health support services.
- Opposing Conservative attempts to restrict the right to protest.
- Pledging to campaign to scrap the roles, devolve justice to the Senedd and returning powers back to local police forces.
Callum Littlemore who will be contesting the South Wales Police force region said:
“For too long our policing been focused on reacting to crime, not preventing it or making people feel safe.
“It’s time to rethink the way we do policing if we want to rebuild trust between the police and the communities they are meant to protect. We cannot continue to have an ‘us and them’ mentality and the police should not be something we have to fear.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats would invest in community policing, ensuring we recruit PCSOs and Police Officers locally and embed them within communities, provide extra funding for community outreach and support services – including local youth groups, and work to right the systemic racism and injustice that plagues our criminal justice system.”
The Party has also reiterated its opposition to these roles which they say have done nothing to reduce crime, reassure the public or improve accountability amongst the police.
Lisa Wilkins who will be contesting North Wales said:
“These roles were created by the Conservatives in Westminster and have done little to catch the public’s imagination, or their perceptions of the police and the vast majority of Wales will struggle to name any PCC yet alone their own.
“It’s time these offices were scrapped once and for all.”
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have unveiled their plans for an environmental recovery ahead of next month’s Senedd election.
The party has unveiled ambitious plans to tackle the climate breakdown with a pledge to create a package of investment worth £1billion a year to fight the climate emergency, build green homes and create green jobs across Wales.
Responding to the comments by The First Minister who said he is in "conversations" with the UK Government over so-called vaccine passports. Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has described them as "unworkable and illiberal."
Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:
"We oppose the proposed introduction of divisive and discriminatory 'vaccine passports' which are both unworkable and illiberal. These plans could deny individuals access to pubs/restaurants, services or even jobs.
"As the party of civil liberties and personal freedoms we were proud to successfully oppose the previous attempt to introduce of ID cards to the UK and we oppose these vaccine passports."
Responding to the news that Wales will soon move into a Level 3 status, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:
“This is good news. We are cautiously optimistic about the future, especially given the positive news regarding vaccine roll out.
"Small businesses especially in the hospitality industry have been hit hard by this closure and they will be relieved that many of them can start trading again.
“We have seen scenes of people enjoying the good weather and with a four day weekend approaching it’s important that people continue to stick to the rules. Any increase in virus numbers and a move back towards Level 4 would be a disaster."
Commenting on the news that self-contained holiday accommodation in Wales can now re-open, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:
“This is a sensible first move in reopening the Welsh economy. For many people, the ability to travel within their household bubble will bring much needed welcome relief. The tourism sector in Wales has been badly hit and I hope in the coming weeks more sections of the economy can begin to re-open.”
Commenting further on the news that the stay local restrictions have been lifted Jane Dodds said:
“This will come as welcome news to many who have been cut off for a long time. The public have a duty to follow these new rules carefully as the virus is still very much circulating amongst us. I hope this will the start of the end of our final lockdown.”
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed the long over due decision to close the Panally Camp in Pembrokeshire which has been housing asylum seekers for several months.
Alistair Cameron Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd Candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire said:
“It is absolutely no surprise that the Camp is to be closed following the damning report from the Independent Inspector of Borders and Immigration into the unsafe and distressing conditions for the residents at the camp. This left the Home Office with no option but to close the Camp.
“It is now vital that the Home Office works closely with the Welsh Government in order to provide safe, secure and decent accommodation which any of us would expect if we were in a similar position.
“There have been a lot of unpleasant and nasty scenes outside the Camp due to demonstrations from the far-right who have tried to stir up hatred. However, we must remember that many local people volunteered to help the asylum seekers with clothing, language assistance and many other acts of kindness. This represents the true spirit of Pembrokeshire.
“I know this has been a distressing experience for many of the residents in the Camp and that many have suffered depression and anxiety in accommodation which was not suitable for long term use. I wish them all the best for the future and hope they can rebuild their lives for the better.
“As we move forward, the Home Office needs to act urgently to address the “fundamental failures of leadership and planning” highlighted in the Independent Inspector’s report. In particular, it must consult with local residents and service providers over its proposals and assess the impact on local services, particularly in rural areas where there are less facilities than urban areas.”
Kirsty Williams the Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister has announced an additional £30 million to develop new Welsh-medium education.
The capital investment aims to help reach the longstanding target of 1 Million Welsh speakers by 2050, by supporting young learners to become Welsh speakers by the time they leave school.
This announcement follows hot on the heels of the new Welsh Curriculum approved by Senedd members this week which will be introduced after an extensive consultation and is the first complete reform of the curriculum in a generation.
Kirsty Williams Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister, said:
“Providing first class schools for children in Welsh-medium education is a key driver for Cymraeg 2050. Attending a Welsh-medium school ensures children become at least bilingual.
“We also need to increase the number of learners in English-medium and bilingual schools who are learning Welsh successfully. I want to ensure more bilingual schools introduce a greater proportion of the new curriculum in Welsh, to give learners a strong linguistic foundation.
“The funding complements our fantastic 21st century Schools and Colleges programme, which has completed 170 new schools or college projects in its first phase, with 43 new projects in the pipeline.
“We are driving forward the delivery of capital projects to increase the percentage of learners in Welsh-medium education, helping achieve our long-term goal of a million Welsh-speakers by 2050.”