What should have been a controlled response to a possible attack by the larch fungus seems to have turned into wholesale clearance in Craig Gwladus. There is a report by Cadoxton photographer Mike Davies on the Neath Guardian website.
I should be interested to learn what action Councillor Annette Wingrave is taking.
At a special meeting of Neath Port Talbot Council yesterday, the council tax for Blaenhonddan for the coming financial year was confirmed as £1551.48, a rise of 4.41%. This includes the borough-wide police precept of £190.34 and the community council’s precept. Full details are at http://www.npt.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=3530&name=Council&mtg_date=28/02/2014&id=COUN&qt=LST and select COUN-280214-REP-CDG for the council tax calculations.
The budget itself having been determined in January, both the council tax proposals and the report on staff pay were passed without dissent. However, Linet Purcell (Plaid Cymru councillor for Pontardawe) raised the subject of the discrepancy between “unparished” areas of the county borough and those with community councils. Were people in community council areas paying twice, for halls and other facilities in their area, and for those elsewhere supported by the county borough? Did this not have an impact on the recommendations of the Williams Commission? The director of finance explained the historical reason for the difference – the Neath and Rhiw components of the county borough had parish councils at the time of the last local government reorganisation, while Port Talbot did not – but suggested that it was a subject for more detailed consideration on another day, if that was what the council wanted to do. Labour councillors John Warman and Peter Rees pointed out that communities had the ability to disband by referendum if they wished to do so, and both councillors felt there was no popular demand to do so.
This is the route which the energy company wants the abnormal loads of turbine components to take if the developer succeeds in overturning last Wednesday’s vote: http://www.mynyddmarchywel-windfarm.co.uk/media/25320/Site%20Access.pdf.
It will be noted that it includes this rail bridge of restricted height between Neath Abbey and Cadoxton.
I trust that residents will be supporting this initiative, which is supported by all political parties at the national level. More details here: http://neath.fyinetwork.co.uk/my,4232-12-Neath-Business-Champs
The two politicians and the two independent candidates for the post of police and crime commissioner (PCC) for the South Wales area were interviewed for half-an-hour by Vaughan Roderick on BBC-Wales’ “Sunday Supplement” this morning. The Web page for this programme is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nly4r.
The outcome illustrated many of the flaws in the whole Conservative experiment. (It should be remembered that the United States of America, where the system originated, has given up on electing their police commissioners.) I would single out Alun Michael for an unashamedly party political approach – virtually all his answers included an attack on the coalition government. Caroline Jones, to be fair, began with a non-party pitch, but was dragged into a partisan fight by Michael’s approach. One is still disappointed by her support for not only the PCC concept, but also the bias in the electoral process to those candidates with money behind them.
There is a BBC summary of the candidates here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19509951
The candidates’ web-sites are:
I still object, largely on moral grounds, to a system which involves students taking on a lifetime debt in order to undertake a university course. I would much prefer reverting to the system of state and local authority grants which I grew up with, even if this means that less than Tony Blair’s target of 50% of young people go to university. It is a pity that Liberal Democrats were outnumbered ten-to-one on this issue in parliament after the 2010 election, but having bitten the bullet Vince Cable and his team at BIS worked hard to take as much of the pain away as they could. The first thing that the coalition agreed upon, of course, was that tuition fees would be capped at £9000 instead of the unlimited amount proposed by Labour’s Browne report.
As this 24-minute video, Student funding from 2012 by money expert Martin Lewis, explains, the new system is better in many ways than the one inherited from Labour. All students will be repaying less per year, if they have to repay anything at all. Part-time students will no longer have to pay tuition fees up front. Lewis also voices a few criticisms; I would add that if inflation is to be used at all in calculating repayment interest, then CPI rather than RPI be used.
But Lewis explains it all much better than I could. Enjoy.
If I could afford the trip to probably the most expensive conference town, I would put up with the excessive security arrangements. The two factors together, however, mean that I shall be watching proceedings on BBC-Parliament.
There will also be coverage, which I predict will be occasionally critical, on Liberal Democrat Voice.