AGM 2014 Report
The chair warmly welcomed Elfyn Llwyd to the meeting as guest speaker. Elfyn was first elected in 1992 and will be retiring from Parliament in 2015. He was noted for securing landmark anti-stalking legislation. He is seeking tougher measures against domestic violence and hopes that “veterans’ courts will soon be in use in the UK.
He was the first MP to call for a Children’s Commissioner for Wales. Further the Plaid group was the first to pioneer the case for getting greater support for veterans of the armed forces who encounter problems when they return home.
Elfyn had pushed for tougher laws on domestic violence earlier this year and has “high hopes” that a change in the legislation is on the way.
Elfyn highlighted the dangers of the Assembly sucking powers from councils. This was a danger as many in the Assembly considered that the institution did not have enough powers. Even worse Labour did not believe in Local Government and the relationship between Labour AMs and Councillors were fraught.
Members’ comments included:
It was important to note that co-operation between councils was continuing.
The 2016 manifesto must give the clear message that Plaid Cymru the Party of Wales fully supported a strong, well funded level of County Councils.
The meeting supported change but it must be on a voluntary basis.
There was a need for an overview of events taking place across the county
There is a need to engage more with the Assembly.
The advantage of more council focused conferences should be explored.
Finance. The2013 Financial Statement was presented by the Treasurer and reported that the funds of the Association showed a health balance. He further reported an increase in membership fees received in 2014 which would be included in the 2014 Statement.
The following officers were elected:
Chairperson: Phil Bevan email@example.com
Sian Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
Sectretary: Chris Franks email@example.com
Treasurer: John Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org
NEC representative: Phil Bevan email@example.com
Town and Community council Representative: Del Morgan firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor of "Cyngor" Sian Thomas email@example.com
Geraint Davies Geraint.R.Davies@rhondda-cynon-taff.gov.uk
Alun Lenny AlunLenny@carmarthenshire.gov.uk
The conference edition of the Associations newsletter "Cyngor" is available here :
Local Government Cuts : Emergency Conference Motion
Councillor Phil BevanConference passed unanimously the Associations Emergency Motion on the cuts being imposed by the Welsh government :
"Conference notes the further reduction in WG financial support for local authorities. This is on top of the previous year’s reductions. The impact on many services that are valued by communities such as libraries, swimming pools, highway maintenance, environmental schemes and traffic management projects could be significant. However even key services such as Education and Social Services might not be immune from financial cuts.
Conference deplores the failure of Labour to effectively protect local services.
Further Conference deplores the level of control that WG exercises over many Council matters with an excessive degree of interference, regulation and management.
Conference calls on the party to campaign vigorously against these challenges to a fair and civilised society and;
Calls on the party to seek to restore to councils significant amounts of authority and fair funding to run services for the benefit of local communities."
Elfyn Llwyd Guest speaker at Association AGM
County Council Cuts 2014 -15
Apart from Wrexham, the 14 County Councils (out of 22) having the least cuts in Welsh Government funding are all Labour controlled, albeit 3 with Independent councillors. None of the 8 councils with the highest cuts are Labour (although Conwy’s coalition has a Labour component) – these include the 2 Plaid controlled councils (1st and 6th highest cuts).
Local Government Symposium
Participants at the successful local government symposium organised by the Association in Aberystwyth at the end of September
Education Bulletin October 2014
"I have pressed the Welsh Education Minister in the Senedd chamber over his failure to protect the education and skills budget from in-year cuts............"
Plaid Leader Cleared
The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales has dismissed claims that Cardiff Plaid Leader Coun Neil McEvoy had made “misleading claims” to constituents about the Cardiff LDP.
The Public Services Ombudsman, in a letter sent to Coun McEvoy, said no further action taken.
The letter states : “Councillor McEvoy is entitled to his views about the LDP proposals. “Councillor McEvoy was doing no more than raising awareness of the proposals as they might affect the community and ward which he was elected to represent. In other words, he was simply performing his function.”
Coun McEvoy said: “The Ombudsman has been very clear and dismissed the council’s accusations out of hand. I will now be demanding answers about the proposal of a rapid transit corridor through Fairwater and Cowbridge Road East and a proposed rail line through existing housing in Fairwater. Our residents deserve nothing less than answers after the Ombudsman’s conclusion. The public now know who has and had not been telling the truth.”
Plaid councillors warn against proposed local government shake-up
The Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly council have declared their opposition to plans to merge the authority with neighbouring Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen councils.
Plaid Gain in Blaenau Gwent
Aberbeeg ward on in Aberbeeg and Llanhilleth has a new Plaid councillor Ivor Beynon was elected unopposed on July 3rd.
Another Plaid Victory
Pontardawe Town Council has a new Councillor in Trebanws Ward. Charlotte Ford – Plaid Cymru. In a by-election in a strong Labour Ward, she won by 179 against 90, that’s 66% of the vote!
Charlotte Ford with County Councillor Rebecca Lewis
Crime Prevention Scheme Scrapped
Plaid Cymru is urging the Dyfed-Powys Police Commissioner to step in stop a highly-effective crime prevention scheme from being scrapped. Over the past 15 years, the Bobby Van scheme has helped more than 30,000 householders – mostly elderly and vulnerable people – to secure their homes and make them feel safe. But now it’s due to end. In asking Police Commissioner Christopher Salmon to intervene, Cllr Emlyn Dole, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Carmarthenshire County Council, stongly criticised the Chief Constable for scrapping such a remarkably successful scheme
Strategic Plans for Welsh Education
Education Bulletin 19/06/14
This week I quizzed the First Minister over Welsh medium education plans.
The Welsh Government’s strategic plan for Welsh-medium education sets a target of 30% of seven-year-olds being educated through the medium of Welsh by 2020. However, if you look at the strategic plans as they have been brought forward to date, it is impossible to see how they will attain that target because only five of them make any mention of new schools.
Plaid Cymru’s policy by now is that the foundation phase should be available through the medium of Welsh to every child in Wales.
The Welsh Government is abolishing the Welsh as a second language process that I benefitted from. I would like to hear more about what will replace it, and what will replace it for adults too, because the teaching of Welsh to adults is something that has been neglected in terms of public policy over recent years.
Scrutiny of the Qualifications (Wales) Bill
The Children, Young People and Education committee has provided pre-legislative scrutiny of the Qualifications (Wales) Bill. This week we have discussed the draft report.
Next week the Education Minister will be in post for a year and he will be taking his usual question time in the Senedd on Wednesday.
I will be meeting officials from the Welsh Government’s education department next month to discuss the white paper on additional learning needs. I would like to hear from you if you would want to raise any particularly issues.
Professor Graham Donaldson is conducting a review of the National Curriculum. You can find details here on how to respond to the review. The closing date is 30 June.
New Leader in Carmarthen
Coun Emlyn Dole
"Although we are the biggest group on the Council, it is controlled by the Independent/labour Coalition which means I take over as Leader of the Opposition ......."
Plaid councillor re-elected as champion of young people for two more years
Caerffili Plaid Cymru councillor Mike Prew has been re-elected as Caerphilly’s youth champion for two more years.
In a vote among young people he defeated Labour councillor Elaine Forehead by 2,099 votes to 1,250.
Sian Thomas, Chris Franks, Phil Bevan and John Taylor with friends at this years Spring Conference in Cardiff
Please see for latest Cyngor_Gwannwyn_14.pdf News on the Williams Commission, Chief executives and the activities of the Association
By Election Victory
Cemlyn Williams beat off stiff competition from Independent and Labour candidates to win the vacant Cadnant seat on the 13th February. Cemlyn is pictured being sworn in by town clerk Katherine Owen
Association meets with Nerys Evans
Officers of the association met in Glynneath on February 10th. There was a special welcome for nerys Evans who outlined the main points of the Williams Commsission
Another Stunning By Election Victory
Lucy Huws (Plaid Cymru) 204 (58%)
Bryony Davies (Lib Dem) 128 (36%)
Huw Fox (Independent) 17 (4%)
The story of this election is how Plaid Cymru emerged unscathed after their main opponents poured astonishing resources into this Town Council by-election caused by the forced retirement through illness of a sitting councillor.
During what remained a good-natured election at the personal level despite the ferocity of the leafletting, residents in many streets became used to receiving nightly repeat visits by senior Lib Dem politicians whilst the more modest Plaid campaign simply concentrated on the candidate talking to each household once.
The result is given all the more credibility by the relatively high turnout for an election at this level where no polling cards were published by the Town Council in order to save money.
The outcome is a tribute to the quality of Lucy Huws (below) as a candidate and to the resilience of the Plaid support in the ward.
Local Government Structure
With the debate on local government intensifying, this item may be of interest :