Tag Archives: Wales

Welsh Lib Dems call for free train travel as cost of living crisis bites

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh government to take a leaf out of Spain’s book on public transport. The party is calling for the Welsh Labour government to consider introducing a scheme similar to the one introduced this month in Spain which will see free train journeys for commuter and medium-distance trains between 1 September and 31 December.

The Spanish policy aims to cushion the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on citizens, particularly those who rely on using public transport to get to work. The policy will also see a 30% discount on all other forms of public transport, including metros, buses and trams.

With inflation set to hit as high as 12% in the UK, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are asking the Welsh Government to consider implementing free rail tickets on Transport for Wales services for a limited period.

Besides helping working families cope with the cost-of-living crisis, the Welsh Lib Dems argue it could help reduce pollution and congestion and encourage some people to make the longer-term switch to public transport, especially given high fuel prices

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Scots and Welsh Lib Dems call for action after drug deaths rise

Figures from the Office for National Statistics released this week revealed that the number of drug-related deaths in England and Wales rose for a ninth successive year in 2021, by 6.2% to a record 4,859. The highest rate of deaths was seen in those aged 45-49. While more than 45% of drug deaths involved opiates, the biggest increase over the last decade has been in cocaine-related deaths, up from 112 in 2011 to 840 in 2021.

Jane Dodds in Wales called for a much more holistic approach to those reported for drug offences, treating offenses as a public health issue rather than a criminal one, learning from best international practice. Earlier, Scottish Lib Dems called for radical action to help those most at risk, including ending the destructive use of imprisonment for people misusing drugs and instead diverting them to treatment.

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Welsh Lib Dems launch Regeneration Plan for Mid Wales at Royal Welsh Show

The Welsh Liberal Democrats today used the first day of the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd, Powys to outline their proposals for a Regeneration Plan for Mid Wales. The party argues that Mid Wales is all too often the forgotten region of Wales, and neglect by both the Conservatives in Westminster and Labour in the Senedd has contributed to a cycle of decline over the last few decades.

The proposals by the party focus on transforming the economy of the region to take advantage of the changing patterns of employment and economic models following COVID-19.

The plan has six main points:

  • Drastically improving connectivity, in both digital and physical infrastructure.
  • Expanding the Rural Fuel Duty cut to Mid Wales and doubling the discount.
  • Protecting access to physical banking, applying pressure on large banks to invest in bank hubs for rural communities.
  • Improving healthcare access in Mid Wales, advocating for more health services to be returned to local communities.
  • Introducing measures to help businesses in the region grow, including a town rejuvenation fund.
  • Tackling the housing crisis in Mid Wales.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Senedd Member for Mid & West Wales Jane Dodds said:

Mid Wales deserves to be an economic force in its own right, connecting North and South Wales, as well as Wales to the Midland, rather than the forgotten territory it has been allowed to have become by the Tories and Labour.

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Senedd backs Lib Dem call to extend basic income pilot to heavy industry

The Senedd yesterday voted to back calls for the Welsh Government’s Basic Income (BI) pilot to be extended to workers employed in heavy industries who will be impacted by the transition of Wales to a net zero carbon economy.

The vote on the debate, which was introduced by Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds, was not binding but means the Welsh Government should now look at the feasibility of extending the pilot.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats argued that in extending the basic income scheme to communities dependent on jobs in heavy industry the sector could avoid seeing the destruction inflicted by Thatcher repeated as industry and the economy changes to meet net-zero commitments.

The leader of the Lib Dems in the Senedd, Jane Dodds said:

It is fantastic to see the Senedd support this idea. I would like to thank the cross-party support we have received and UBI Lab Wales for their support also.

The global economy is undergoing the most significant transformation seen in decades. As we confront the threat of climate breakdown, industry is having to change faster than before in order to meet our climate goals.

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Jane Dodds: Conservatives betray Welsh farmers in Australia/New Zealand trade deal

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservatives of allowing themselves to be “trampled over” during trade negotiations with New Zealand and Australia when it comes to agricultural interests.

The Welsh Lib Dems have argued that despite Australia having an economy less than 40 per cent the size of the UK’s and New Zealand’s economy being 30 times smaller than the UK, the Conservatives have capitulated to their demands for agricultural access to the UK market, placing Welsh farmers at significant risk.

The Farmer’s Union for Wales (FUW) reported that the increase in New Zealand’s import quota for sheep meat in year one of new trade agreements signed by the UK and EU is more than 40 times higher per head of population in the UK compared with the European Union. The Union has stated this “demonstrates a failure of the UK Government to protect UK agriculture in trade negotiations.”

The warning comes after it has been reported that Australian food imports to the UK will not be required to meet UK food production standards as part of the trade deal. The move has caused some to accuse the Conservatives of merely offshoring pesticide use that UK farmers are prevented from using.

Welsh Lib Dem Leader Jane Dodds said:

The more we hear about these trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, the more evident it becomes that the UK Conservative Government has been walked over by both countries.

The Australian trade deal is set to provide only a 0.08% boost to our economy, yet due to incompetence by Conservative Ministers it could have a devastating effect on Welsh farming communities and in turn, the Welsh language.

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Welsh Government seriously out of step with the rest of the UK on building safety scandal

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have accused the Welsh Government of being “seriously out of step” with the rest of the UK when it comes to addressing the building safety scandal. The accusation comes after the Scottish Government announced that some of the country’s largest housing developers have agreed to work with the Scottish Government towards the remediation of buildings affected by cladding and fire safety issues.

The announcement follows one by the UK Government last month that major developers will contribute towards remediation costs in England. This leaves Wales as the only GB nation where major developers have not …

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Election results open thread – Lib Dems biggest winners in England

As Andy has already said, it’s been a good night for the Liberal Democrats so far, regaining control of Hull after 11 years and gaining from the Conservatives in places like Colchester and West Oxfordshire.

ALDC has done a great job in getting many of its staff members elected. Its Chief Exec Tim Pickstone has left Bury and won a seat on the new Cumberland Council. Frankie Singleton, Chris Twells, Alex Warren and Tim Verboven are among others who have won.

Today we wait for results from Scotland and Wales, English councils and the rest of London.  And we are off to a healthy start:

The Tories are expected to suffer substantial casualties in Scotland. They won many of their seats under STV on the first count last time. They might struggle to pick up a lot of transfers if their vote falls. If it falls by as much as it did in Tweeddale West in the Borders, 16%, they are in trouble.

Lib Dems held that seat with a new Councillor, Dr Drummond Begg.

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Dodds: St David’s Day Should Be a Public Holiday

This St David’s Day, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their calls for the day to become a public holiday in Wales.

St David’s Day is currently only a patron saint day and does not have any legal standing. Meanwhile, in Scotland and Ireland St Andrew’s Day and St Patrick’s Day respectively are already public holidays.

Almost every country on earth has a national holiday, why not Wales? We already know the UK only has one of the lowest numbers of public holidays in the developed world at eight, compared to 13 in Germany and Spain, 15 in Sweden and 16 in Japan.

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Powys Lib Dems call for pause in school transformation process

The 21st Century Schools Programme in Powys is a £200 million project to transform schools across the county. Powys County Council’s cabinet considered a report by Estyn on progress which rated the programme amber/green.

The Lib Dem Group, currently the largest party group on the council, is concerned that the consultation process on the transformation strategy was undertaken prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and may be based on outdated assumptions about how closely individual schools are working together within a cluster.

The group is now calling for the transformation process to be reviewed.

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Jane Dodds: Welsh Government must act on cladding scandal

A protest was held this Saturday in front of the Senedd steps in Cardiff Bay to demand action by the Welsh Government on the cladding scandal. The meeting was organised by the Welsh Liberal Democrats and is the first hosted by a political party in Wales.

Groups attending included: the Welsh Cladiators, Ripped Off by Redrow and Cymru Cladding Crisis.

Victims of Cardiff’s cladding scandal, unveiled during the wake of the Grenfell disaster are facing bills up to £60,000 each for safety work to fix their unsellable, fire defective homes.

Although the Welsh Government have agreed to fund the recladding of social housing, many private leaseholders are still facing both the costs of recladding and interim safety costs themselves.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to introduce a Welsh Building Safety Fund to deal with all fire safety defects as quickly as possible and ensure no tenant or leaseholder is left out of pocket.

Jane Dodds said:

“It is utterly appalling that over four years on from Grenfell we still have people being trapped in unsafe buildings and let down by those in power. People should absolutely not be forced to front the cost for the serious mistakes of property developers.

“The Welsh Government needs to urgently step in and provide funds to fix all fire safety defects as soon as possible. It should then be up to the Government to pursue property developers to claim the money back. We cannot have people living in limbo and unsafe buildings while they try and chase property developers for funds.

“The stories we have heard at this protest are really harrowing and the Government urgently needs to engage with those affected and step up to the situation.”

Lib Dem Councillor Rhys Taylor said:

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Welsh Lib Dems secure £20 million to support most vulnerable children

The mark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable people. Ours could do a lot better.

Jane Dodds, as leader of the Welsh LIb Dems and the party’s only Member of the Senedd, announced this week that she had secured an extra £20 million for care leavers, who are often just dropped and left to get on with it when they turn 16.

Jane outlined what this extra money would mean in practical terms:

The pandemic has been difficult for young people the length and breadth of Wales. That is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats used our influence in the Senedd to champion children and young people.

“As a result of Welsh Liberal Democrat influence in the Senedd, we will see the establishment of a £20 million fund to be used over the course of this Senedd term to reform services for looked after children and care leavers making sure that children and young people in care have the best start in life.

“We will also see an increase in funding for mental health services over the coming years, which was a key priority for my Party during the election.

“I am also glad to see £20 million extra will be put into the Pupil Development Grant, expanding the programme that was a key part of former Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Secretary Kirsty William’s previous agreement with Welsh Labour.”

“It can only be a good thing when politicians work together to find areas of common ground. That is when we can deliver tangible change to people’s lives.

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Jane Dodds: Welsh Farmers feel sold down the river by the Conservatives

Jane Dodds has said that the Welsh Council elections in May offer an opportunity for voters who feel let down by the Conservatives to send them a message by electing hard-working Liberal Democrats, just like they did in North Shropshire.

Writing in the County Times, she highlighted the failure of the Conservative Government to meet the needs of farmers and highlights growing support for the Liberal Democrats.

Time and time again on the doorstep we heard the sheer anger of voters, many of whom had voted Conservative for decades, that the Government simply doesn’t care about rural areas.

In contrast to the Government’s ‘levelling up’ mantra, many of these communities feel they are being levelled down.

This feeling was particularly strong among North Shropshire’s farming community and their concerns echo that I’ve heard across Powys.

Whether it’s on their failure to engage with the industry over concerns over the Australian and New Zealand trade deals, a failure to solve problems on the UK-EU veterinary agreement or a failure to help address labour shortages, the Conservatives are repeatedly failing to address the problems faced by our farmers.

Many feel as if they have been sold down the river for quick trade deals designed to benefit big bankers in the City with little regard for rural communities.

In contrast, the Liberal Democrats have a lot to offer the rural communities they have always understood and served:

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Lib Dems overtake Conservatives in Powys as Tories descend into chaos

Powys Liberal Democrats have accused the Powys Conservative council group of descending into chaos over its school closure programme. The accusation comes after the Conservative group lost both cabinet member and councillor Iain McIntosh; and Cllr (also MS) James Evans in shock resignations over the Administration’s rural school closures. The events have left the Conservative group on 13 councillors, meaning the Welsh Liberal Democrats are now the largest political party in the council with 14 councillors.

The Powys Conservative Group has now lost four members in the last year, with Cllr Gwilym Williams and Cllr Les Skilton defecting over the council tax rise supported by the party earlier this year. The group also lost Cllr Claire Mills in May 2020 when she defected to the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party and lost a by-election in Llandrindod North to the Liberal Democrats in 2019.

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Tim Farron proposes bill to protect farmers from poor trade deals

The Lib Dems have proposed new legislation to protect Welsh farmers from being undercut by food trade deals that do not meet the UK’s environment and animal welfare standards.

A private member’s bill from Spokesperson for Rural Affairs Tim Farron MP would require the government’s Trade and Agriculture Commission to assess the impact of any new trade deal on UK farmers, and guarantee that MPs had the final say on trade deals initiated by the government. This would include an assessment of the impact of new trade deals on farming communities in each region and nation of the UK.

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Budget 2021: Wales levelled down says Dodds

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservative government of levelling down Wales in Wednesday’s budget, stating that measures announced by the Government do not even come close to replacing lost EU funding.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader, Jane Dodds MS, stated:

We are now seriously beginning to feel the consequences of this Conservative Government’s obsessive Brexit ideology and the harm it is inflicting on the Welsh economy. In addition to acute labour shortages, supply shortages and price increases we now have significant evidence provided to us by the OBR showing the damage Brexit is doing to our economy. This can no longer be passed off as project fear, but rather project reality.

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Ending profit making from the care of vulnerable children in Wales

Before my election to the Senedd I was a child protection social worker. I worked with some of the most vulnerable children and young people in society and those staff dedicated to giving them every chance to thrive.

That is why I jumped at the chance to table a debate on legislative proposal in the Senedd on Wednesday, just weeks into the first term. I used the opportunity to shine a light on the work that we must do here in Wales to create a genuine care system based on the needs, hopes, and aspirations of children and young people.

I used my voice in our national parliament, to speak up for the children, young people, and staff who are waiting for the Welsh Labour Government to act.

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Jane Dodds questions First Minister on preventing violence against women

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds used her first question as a Member of the Senedd to the First Minister to demand action on ending violence against women and girls.

This comes at a time when Operation Encompass, an initiative set up to notify schools if domestic abuse has taken place in pupils’ homes, report that there has been a huge rise in Public Protection Notices to do with domestic abuse to 2254 from September 2020 to March 2021 compared to 1043 during the same period in the previous year. The impact of Covid-19 appears to be severe.

What actions, Jane asked,  will the Welsh Government take to end violence against women and girls, particularly within black, Asian and minority ethnic communities?

After Mark Drakeford talked about an increase in funding that the Government had put in place, she followed up with:

Can I just follow that through with a focus on what’s been happening in this COVID time? We all know that there’s been a significant increase in the need for refuge places, in the need for services, and better, more focused responses to those women and children who are coming forward after these lockdown periods. I’m particularly interested to hear what issues and services will be targeted into rural areas, where we know that there are particular shortages of those effective responses and services.

You can watch the exchange here at about  32 minutes in.

Afterwards, Jane said:

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Welsh Lib Dems pledge to make every town in Wales a “Tree Town”

Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced plans to make every town in Wales a Tree Town. This would see every council preparing a long term Tree and Woodland Strategy to deliver and sustain a minimum of 20% tree cover in urban areas and 30% tree cover for all new developments.

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Welsh Liberal Democrat Manifesto puts recovery first

This afternoon, Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds launched the party’s Welsh Manifesto ahead of the Senedd elections on 6 May. Writing in the foreword to Put Recovery First, Jane said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on all of us, and we have much to do. We understand how you feel: frustration, exhaustion, loss, disappointment, anxiety, relief, hope.

Like you, we want to focus on the things that are most important to you and your family after a tough year. To do that, we first have to get Wales back on its feet…

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats will put recovery first.”

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How we lie to ourselves about debt

When I started my first job, I met with our finance officer. She was looking quite stressed, so I asked what was going on. She explained she was working out how much of our ‘bad debt’ to write off as an organisation. I was confused, naively.

Turns out, this is probably what most people know, but every year companies and organisations write off debt. They decide that even if someone owes them £50, they are likely never to get that money back –  in short, it costs them more to chase the debt, than they’d ever make getting it back.

But then, some enterprising people worked out that there was a market there. Now, companies can get some of that back. So rather than writing it off completely, and getting nothing back, they can sell that debt to a debt market, for around £5 (on average, 10% of the debt value).

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Jane Dodds: Welsh Lib Dems will create a Wales where everyone is equal and nobody is enslaved by poverty

Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds gave her keynote speech to Federal Conference yesterday. She talked about the need to tackle poverty and isolation in Wales and for action to save the planet from climate change. Here is her speech in full.

 

These have been hard times for us all.

Covid has dominated our lives over the past year; Personally, professionally, politically.

We have all needed to find extra resilience, additional emotional resources, extra bandwidth in our efforts to get through these times. A year when we lost people. When people lost jobs and livelihoods. When loneliness became an even bigger killer and when Welsh small businesses were brought to their knees.

But Wales is aa resilient nation. Welshness through the centuries has been more than just a political or legal identity. It has been a way of life, a state of mind. Our community spirit has inspired the greatest social reformers who have transformed Britain.

That Welsh community spirit extends an unqualified thank you to our delivery drivers, our shop workers, our pharmacists, refuse collectors, teachers, and social workers who have worked on through the pandemic.

That spirit is what drives us to action as Welsh Liberal Democrats. It also inspires us to set out a progressive and inspiring vision for the Wales we want to see.

That spirit is what drives us to action as Welsh Liberal Democrats.

That is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats will be putting Wales’ Recovery First. At the heart of our recovery will be:
🧠Mental Health;
💷The economy;
🌿 The environment;
👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 and your family.

We will create a Wales where everyone is equal, where no one is enslaved by poverty, ill health or circumstance. We will not tolerate poverty and we will push hard for positive change in all we do – particularly when it comes to saving our planet.

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Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic education report welcomed by Welsh Minister

The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has accepted all the recommendations of a report on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the new school Curriculum.

The Minister has also confirmed £500,000 will be provided to support the implementation of the report’s recommendations, as part of the delivery of the new Curriculum for Wales.

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Scotland beat Wales in thrilling Maraphone clash

As I write, Scotland are playing Wales in the Six Nations at Murrayfield. As I write, Scotland are ahead by 17-3. I don’t know much about rugby but this seems unusual to me. Let’s hope we can hold on to that lead for however long a rugby match lasts.

However, an earlier clash between the two countries brought an assured victory for the Scots. The Welsh and the Scottish Liberal Democrats have spent the day tussling on the phone lines before kick off in a battle to see who could make the most phone calls to voters.

It’s all been great fun. Both leaders pumped up the rivalry, visiting each others’ phone banks Willie Rennie announced to the Zoom Room that the Welsh dragon behind him reminded him of me. I’ve never been so proud.

Jane Dodds almost got away with starting to sing a 14 verse traditional Welsh song to distract us from our work.

And Ed Davey showed up too! For an equal amount of time to both teams so as not to show any favouritism. He seemed to enjoy himself.

There really has never been a better time to make phone calls for the party. People seem genuinely happy to hear from us and are happy to share their concerns. We’ve noticed this both where we have elected representatives and where we haven’t.

Canvassing in a Zoom room is great because it spurs you on to do more, you can have a bit of a laugh with it. If you’re at home sitting there with Connect open, you can feel very alone. It is nice to have others to share your canvassing anecdotes with.

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Privatised Covid Food Aid and Other Examples of Politics in Theory and Practice?

For children in low income families, who normally receive means-tested free school meals, support is provided via cash payments, supermarket vouchers or food parcels, the last being the  preferred choice of the Department for Education.

H. M. G spends millions on food parcel contracts to private companies. Two such, worth £208 million, awarded without tendering, resulted in parcels which did not meet minimum nutritional standards and had a 69% mark up on what could have have been provided by supermarkets. Welsh Local Authority parcels have been excellent and have included recipes. English children have received paltry amounts of poor food, shabilly packaged, sometimes in bank coin bags. 

The Welsh Government is a Labour/Lib-Dem/Independent coalition. It might be labelled “Left-Centre”.

The over-priced, low quality food parcels provided by large companies, often without tender contracts, are preferred by the “English” Government. Such seems to be a pattern, as is indicated by without-tender Personal Protection Equipment contracts, some of which resulted in dangerous equipment. “Track and Trace” contracts were the same.

The U. K./”English” government is single party. It is well to the right of the political spectrum.

This government was elected with the support of many Labour voters who believed that they, and their children, would be better off with a party which offered them benefits, aka “levelling up” and freedom from foreign interference.The actual Brexit agreement, as so far revealed, indicates that you cannot live and function without contact and involvement with other individuals, groups and nations. It demonstrates that the promises of Brexit have not been kept.

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Kirsty Williams breaks ranks with Welsh Government to oppose Brexit trade deal

We’ve brought you reports from the Commons, the Lords and Holyrood debates on the Brexit trade deal today already.
In Wales, Lib Dem Education Minister Kirsty Williams broke ranks with her Labour colleagues to support an amendment to the government’s own motion which reaffirms the longstanding Liberal Democrat policy to vote against the deal. The amendment which Kirsty specifically voted for stated that she:
Does not support the UK Government’s deal and calls on Wales’ representatives in the UK Parliament to vote accordingly.
Labour dodged making a decision on this and abstained. But Wales’ sole Liberal Democrat voice stood up for her convictions,

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Third extension for Welsh Pacer trains is a ‘disgrace’ say Welsh Lib Dems

These trains are on display in the National Rail Museum and Iran has ditched them, yet Welsh passengers will continue to use them daily.

Following the announcement today from the Department for Transport that Class 142 trains have been given their third dispensation in just over a year to continue in service, Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on Transport for Wales and Ken Skates to apologise to travellers across South Wales.

Pacer trains were built by British Rail in the early 1980s with a planned lifespan of 15-20 years. Following decades of under-investment in rolling stock, they were given extension after extension but were finally due to be disposed of last year as they did not meet disability regulations that came into force on 1 January 2020. Yet passengers in South Wales face many more months of travel on these unsuitable trains.

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15 December 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Government’s failure to secure land at Holyhead for border checks is a shocking show of unpreparedness say Welsh Lib Dems
  • Labour’s failure to stand up for Wales and devolution in key amendment during Internal Market Bill is shocking say Welsh Lib Dems

Government’s failure to secure land at Holyhead for border checks is a shocking show of unpreparedness say Welsh Lib Dems

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.

In answer to a question from Lib Dem Peer Roger Roberts the UK Government admitted that “No land has yet been purchased two potential sites have been identified in partnership with the Welsh Government and commercial discussions are under way.”

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Alison Alexander selected as Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Montgomeryshire

Montgomeryshire Liberal Democrats have selected local councillor Alison Alexander as their candidate to contest the Montgomeryshire seat at next year’s Senedd Election.

Alison lives in rural northern Montgomeryshire with husband Alastair where she is a Llanfyllin Town Councillor.

Alison has degrees in botanical horticulture from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and in Mandarin Chinese, French and Spanish from the University of Durham and is currently completing a Masters degree in Ecology. She paused her career in horticulture and community education to raise their son, who now attends the nearby village school.

Alison is co-founder of Repair Café Oswestry and Borders, a board member of the inclusive environmental group BRACE and a parent governor at her local school.

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Welsh Liberal Democrats come together virtually

Over 120 Welsh Lib Dem members joined our first ever virtual conference this weekend.

We welcomed Ed Davey virtually to Wales for his first Welsh conference where he spoke to us about the challenges facing the party and his burning desire that we as a nation must come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before.

This linked us nicely to our first policy motion: “Wales after COVID” which paid tribute to lives lost and calls for the dial on inequality in Wales to be reset with measures such as social care funding, universal free childcare, debt bonfires, green jobs and investment in housing.

We were then joined by Party President Mark Pack who spoke of how we need to campaign in the years to come, the changes the party is making both federally and in Wales and the exciting future we have in Wales with 16 and 17 year olds now able vote in Senedd elections from 2021 and in local government elections from 2022.

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Kirsty Williams leads the way

I have been very heartened by the news from Wales, and not just because a bit of my heart always lives there. Unlike her English counterparts Kirsty Williams, the Lib Dem Education Minister for Wales, hasn’t had to be challenged by celebrity footballers to remember those children whose needs are greater than others – she had already worked up schemes to support them.

In the very early days of lockdown, Wales was the first country in the UK to announce that children eligible for free school meals would continue to get them through the Easter and summer school holidays, supported by substantial funding.

Kirsty has now taken a further ambitious step by announcing an £11million fund to provide free school meals during term-time and holidays right up to Easter 2021. Special arrangements are in place for children who are quarantining or shielding at home.

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