Senedd Bites #55: If it’s got a jack….

(Title Image: Daily Post)

Union flag “disadvantages Welsh food exports”

The body responsible for promoting Welsh red meat – Hybu Gig Cymru – has called for the Union flag not to be prioritised over the Welsh flag as British branding disadvantages exports and is perceived negatively in key markets. This conclusion was also backed by farming unions.

The body’s chief executive, Gwyn Howells, told BBC Wales that British branding had little traction in key markets – particularly in mainland Europe where a majority of Welsh food exports go.

British produce was said to be perceived more negatively in Germany, France, Japan, the USA and Canada, though the opposite was true in Saudi Arabia, China and India.

Council tax set to be scrapped for care leavers

The Welsh Government have announced that all care leavers in Wales will be exempt from paying council tax until they reach the age of 25 from April 2019.

Individual councils had already adopted the policy, but charities had called for the end of a “postcode lottery”.

Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans (Lab, Gower) said, “Today’s announcement is another positive step in our pledge to make council tax fairer and I want to thank everyone who took part in the consultation”. The policy will require regulations to be approved by the Senedd.

Record number of Welsh products at 2019 international trade event

Over 100 Welsh food and drink products will be displayed at a major international trade event due to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport on March 20th -March 21st. The 2017 event generated £14million worth of sales and contracts for exhibitors.

Energy, Environment & Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths (Lab, Wrexham) said, “Surpassing 100 new products to be launched during the event makes it an added celebration of what Wales has to offer both to the domestic and international marketplace.”

Some innovative produces expected to go on display are new lines of vegetarian and vegan burgers produced by Parsnipship and a new water-based energy drink from Radnor Hills.

Labour AM handed warning over anti-Semitic remarks

Jenny Rathbone AM (Lab, Cardiff Central) has been handed an official warning by the Labour party following an investigation into anti-Semitic comments she made at an event marking the Balfour Declaration in 2017. Following a suspension from the Labour group, she was re-admitted at the start of 2019.

She suggested Jewish security fears “were all in their heads” and British Jews had a responsibility to promote peace in the Middle East.

The AM has accepted the sanction without complaint and apologised for any offence caused. She’ll also undertake equalities training.

New AM sworn in

Delyth Jewell AM (Plaid, South Wales East) was officially sworn in on February 8th following the death of the incumbent, Steffan Lewis, on January 11th.

She said, “Everything I do in my role will be to honour Steffan’s memory and to serve the people he represented. It is a tremendous honour for me.”

Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price AM (Plaid, Carms. E. & Dinefwr) said, “Delyth’s wide range of skills and talents will make her an exceptional Assembly Member and a champion representative – not just for South Wales East but for the whole of Wales.”

Newtown bypass officially opens

A southern bypass of Newtown in Powys was officially opened on February 14th, 70 years after being first proposed.

The scheme cost £95million and was funded by the Welsh Government, with hopes it will reduce town centre traffic by up to 40% and aid the economic development of the town.

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