As a “water-rich nation”, Wales should be a shining example to the rest of the world when it comes to preserving our greatest natural resource. That’s the view of Wrexham’s Labour Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, at the start of World Water Week 2009.
The AM made her remarks as the leaders and experts gather in Stockholm, Sweden this week to take stock of mounting global concern about the demand and supply of water in many countries in the future.
Access to water is becoming more challenging every year due to a rising water demand and unreliable availability.
A Labour Member of the Welsh Assembly, has urged the UK Government to “avoid playing catch-up” with other European countries when it comes to having a greater reliance in the future on greener, solar power.
Wrexham’s AM, Lesley Griffiths made her remarks following news that a subsidiary of the French state-owned energy company EDF, is to collaborate with an American solar panel manufacturer, to build a huge new solar energy plant which will create an annual capacity of more than 100 Megawatt Peak (MWp).
The French announcement came just a week after Germany bolstered its position as the predominant European nation, when it comes to solar technology. A new project – which has the full backing of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and her Government – aims to provide 15% of Europe’s electricity needs from solar thermal power produced in the Sahara desert and delivered to Europe via high-voltage cable.
Wrexham’s Labour Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, has warned that North Wales must not become a “soft touch” location for those intent on defying the 2004 Hunting Act.
The AM made her remarks following the publication of new statistics that show since 2006, no prosecutions have taken place in North Wales, following complaints received from members of the public about the suspicion that illegal hunting has taken place.
In the period between February 2006 and March 2009, sixty-six incidences of alleged “illegal hunting” took place in North Wales with not a single prosecution ensuing.
In nearly each and every incident, the reason North Wales Police gave for not pursuing the complaint, was due to “no evidence of offences”.
The practice of hunting with dogs was outlawed in the Hunting Act 2004 and came into force in the UK in February 2005 ending the barbaric killing of foxes with hounds.
Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, has urged the Welsh Assembly Government to change the schools curriculum in Wales to include the teaching of entrepreneurship.
The Labour AM believes Wales needs to have a “more flexible economic mix” between the public and private sector within its economy, in order for the country to adapt and respond more quickly to any future global economic crises.
Ms Griffiths wants to see greater integration of business teaching and entrepreneurship into the Welsh national schools curriculum to move the country away from its reliance on the public sector to provide employment.
During Questions to the First Minister, Lesley Griffiths told her National Assembly colleagues:
Wrexham’s Labour Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, wants to see those UK banks who have been bailed out by the UK Government, compelled to participate in a new EU microfinance fund to tackle unemployment in Wales.
Under the newly unveiled scheme, people who have recently lost their jobs and who are looking for loans to start up their own business, will be able access up to €25,000 via loans and credit guarantees from the European Union. In total, a €100 million will be made available over a four-year period starting from 2010.
According to the European Commission, the microfinance fund will be designed to help people who have lost their jobs, those who wish to start a small business, assistance for microenterprises and people who have difficulty securing finance from traditional banking sources.
Labour Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, has told colleagues she believes Wales is already on the way to implementing many of the anticipated changes expected to take place, when the EU-wide jobs and growth strategy is revised next year.
Wrexham’s AM made her remarks in the National Assembly for Wales, during Questions to the Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones.
The Lisbon Strategy – which is also known as the Lisbon Agenda – was the action and development plan unveiled in March 2000, to make the European Union “the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world”. The strategy was based on the principle that EU economy would be “capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and respect for the environment by 2010″.
Attention is now turning towards developing the revised post-2010 strategy for the EU – one which will need to be relevant to current economic circumstances and one which looks beyond the global downturn.
Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, is urging all Welsh mobile phone users who are intending to visit Europe next week, to mark Wednesday, 1st July on their calendars, as the day roaming costs for texts, calls and data downloads across the EU will be slashed by up to 60%.
The AM is welcoming the move which sees the introduction of the new roaming rules which will substantially cut the cost of texting and surfing the internet with your mobile phone while abroad and further reduce roaming caps for calls, made and received while abroad in the EU.
The new roaming rules which will be directly applicable within the EU as of 1 July 2009 are as follows:
* Introduce a ‘Euro-SMS tariff’ limiting the price that consumers can be charged for sending a text message while abroad to €0.11 excluding VAT (compared to an average of around €0.29 today) which will lead to consumer savings of around 60%;
* reduce the cost of surfing the web or downloading movies with a mobile phone while abroad by introducing a wholesale cap of €1 per MB downloaded…
Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, has described a new plan by the Welsh Government to help homeowners facing repossession, as “providing real help for those in real need” during these difficult economic times.
The AM was commenting following publication of the Welsh Government’s new Mortgage Rescue Action Plan.
The plan has been produced by the Welsh Government working in collaboration with a number of partners including local authorities, housing associations and the Council of Mortgage Lenders, to provide support to struggling families as well as ensuring they know what help that is available in Wales.
It was recently estimated there could be as many as 2,250 repossessions in Wales this year – a figure which has prompted the Welsh Government to introduce the plan to help support the most vulnerable households.
A North Wales AM has been a “flip-flopper” for his contradictory views on free prescriptions.
Last year, Mark Isherwood, an Assembly Member for the North Wales region, complained that residents of North Wales, who had GP surgeries or pharmacies in England were being denied free prescriptions.
In April 2008 he told the Flintshire Evening Leader:
“It is unfair that people living in Holt face this problem when people in the rest of Wales receive their prescriptions free.”
But yesterday, during a debate on NHS budget priorities at the Senedd, he backed Tory proposals to abolish universal free prescriptions in Wales.
Car Sargeant, Assembly Member for Flintshire, said:
“Like his fellow Tory colleagues, Mark Isherwood doesn‘t know whether he is coming or going on policy matters.
“It’s absolutely hypocritical of him to moan about North Walian residents not receiving free prescriptions and then a year later pledging his support to get rid of them altogether.
New proposals to improve people’s sexual health in Wales, must address “unacceptably high teenage pregnancy rates” in parts of the country, according to a Labour AM.
Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, was commenting following publication of the Welsh Government’s new strategy on sexual health services.
The proposed draft working document ‘Sexual Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Wales 2009-2014′, aims to increase awareness of the importance and understanding of sexual health and relationships, improve access to sexual health services; reduce the number of unintended pregnancies; and reduce the number of new diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections, HIV and Hepatitis B and improve the health and social care for people living with HIV.