In response to today’s unemployment figures the Welsh Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Andrew Parkhurst said:
With just 16 days until the end of the transition period the UK Government has admitted it has failed to secure land at Holyhead to carry out the extra checks on vehicles entering the country leading to fears of gridlock in the area.
The Brecon & Radnorshire Liberal Democrats have selected William Powell as their candidate to contest the Brecon & Radnorshire constituency at the Senedd Election due to be held on 6th May 2021
Welsh Liberal Democrat Economy Spokesperson Andrew Parkhurst and Welsh Lib Dem Leader Jane Dodds have issued a joint statement regarding the devastating job losses following the collapse of the Arcadia Group:
“The announcement of job losses at Arcadia Group stores and Debenhams will be devastating news for those working in their shops and there will be disappointment amongst their customers.
“Debenhams is seen as an anchor shop for many communities in Wales such as Wrexham, Swansea and Newport. The failure of the owners of the businesses in the Arcadia Group to properly understand retail business and the long term failure to invest has played as much of a part in this crisis as the very difficult trading circumstances.
“Covid has hit Welsh high streets and shopping centres hard. Sectors whose activities involve social contact - such as non-critical retail, hospitality, and restaurants - have been completely shut down, and temporary or permanent job losses here have been concentrated among low-paid service workers.
“The Welsh Government must provide what support they can for attempts to save some of these businesses and some of these jobs, and ensure that comprehensive re-training and job search support is available for all those effected whose jobs cannot be saved.
Welsh Liberal Democrats have condemned the decision by the Conservative UK Government to scale back rural broadband connectivity targets.
In last week’s Spending Review, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak backtracked on the Tory’s previous commitment to make broadband internet available to “every home” by 2025, instead promising 85% coverage by that date. Furthermore, only £1.2 billion of the £5 billion support to operators, such as Openreach, for bringing gigagbit connectivity to rural homes will now be made available before 2021.
Commenting, Jane Dodds said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the disadvantages that households and families with limited or no access to the internet face in accessing education, economic opportunities, public services and vital support at times of crisis.
“I’ve seen first-hand the challenges that a lack of high-quality broadband causes for our rural communities and this pandemic has brought this issue to the forefront once more.
“Since 2010, the Conservatives have consistently made and broken hollow promises about rural broadband. Conservative MPs made superfast broadband commitments a part of their election campaign just twelve months ago. This will come as a bitter blow to many communities locally.”
Welsh Lib Dem Education Minister Kirsty Williams has announced Christmas travel plans for students.
Universities across Wales will also end face-to-face lessons in the week ending 8 December, allowing anyone who tests positive for coronavirus to self-isolate for 14 days before traveling home for the Christmas break.
New covid-19 lateral flow tests, designed to diagnose people without symptoms, will be provided to students who are planning to travel home for the holiday.
Students at universities in Wales who plan to travel home for the holidays will be asked to:
- minimise their social contacts in the run up to the end of term;
- get an asymptomatic test, ideally within 24 hours of their intended travel time. New asymptomatic testing facilities will be available at participating universities in Wales within the next few weeks;
- Plan to travel no later than 9 December, allowing time to rearrange their travel plans in case they need to self-isolate;
- familiarise themselves with their university’s plans for concluding in-person teaching and arrangements to ensure people can exit campuses safely.
The governments of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland will announce separately their plans for students living there. Each government has worked together in recent weeks on these matters. The Welsh Government will also communicate directly with Welsh students at universities elsewhere in the UK.
Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister, said:
“Many students will wish to return home for the Christmas break and I’m pleased to confirm arrangements to enable that. Our priority, and the priority for our universities, has been to enable students to travel home safely, while minimising the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.
“It’s also important students take action to minimise the chances they could bring the virus back home to friends and family members, who may be far more vulnerable to its effects. That’s why we’re asking students to limit their social contacts as they’re preparing to travel home. The more people socialise, the greater their risk of contracting coronavirus.
“We have been working with the other nations to ensure that all students, no matter where they live or study, are treated fairly and can travel home as safely as possible.
“We are also working with our universities to roll out the asymptomatic mass testing pilot before the end of term. I would encourage students to sign up for the testing pilot to make returning home at the end of term easier.
“I have been determined that students here in Wales are able to spend the holidays where they most want to, in a safe way, and these arrangements will allow that to happen.”
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds Welcomed the announcement:
“Enabling students to return home safely for Christmas is a significant achievement and one that should not be underestimated. Kirsty Williams has championed this united approach and I’m pleased she has been able to make this announcement today.
"It’s pleasing to see all universities across Wales working together to work together to achieve this as well as the four governments of the UK working together at this difficult time.
“It’s fantastic to see Kirsty Williams and the Welsh Lib Dems helping families up and down the UK plan for a Christmas that is as normal as possible.”
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have this week called on both the Welsh Government and local councils to work together along with industry to ensure Wales is not left behind in the roll-out of electric vehicle charging points.
Sales of electric vehicles grew by over 130% in the year to May 2020, with sales expected to grow further in the coming years.
Welsh Liberal Democrat MS Kirsty Williams has announced after careful consideration that she will stand down at next year’s Senedd election.
Kirsty has served as the member for Brecon and Radnorshire since 1999, served as Chair of the Health Committee in the first Assembly from 1999-2003, as leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats from 2008 until 2016 and has been the Welsh Government’s Education Minister since her appointment in 2016.
Commenting Kirsty said:
“After a great deal of thought and reflection, I have decided not to stand as a candidate at the next Senedd election.
“There is, of course, sadness in making this decision, but also with a sense of achievement and pride.
“I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and I remain committed to my role in Brecon and Radnorshire and look forward to continuing to campaign with my successor to ensure Brecon and Radnorshire returns a Welsh Liberal Democrat voice.”
Paula Yates, President of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:
“Kirsty has been an exceptional constituency champion for Brecon and Radnorshire for the last 21 years. There isn’t a street or village where someone doesn’t know someone who’s been personally helped by Kirsty over the years.”
Former Welsh Lib Dem leader Mike German added:
“Kirsty has been my friend and political ally for 25 years. As well as being a tremendous champion for Wales and for liberalism.
“I know she will continue to inspire others in whatever she does next and her legacy in her constituency and across Wales will be felt for years to come."
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed the news that malicious calls to the ambulance service have fallen over the last three years but have warned that more must be done to reduce them further.
Over the last three years 1,823 hoax calls were received and answered by the Welsh Ambulance Service.
"Now more than ever Ceredigion needs its voice to be heard"