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Welsh Government news-in-brief

Created on 16/03/2018 @ 21:23
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A round-up of the week's news from the Senedd.

£4m to boost skills at Tata Steel

The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has announced a £4m investment for Tata Steel following a visit to the company’s Port Talbot plant.

The First Minister said: “We continue to work very closely with Tata Steel to support their plans to develop its business and become more innovative, productive and efficient.

“Tata Steel has made a substantial commitment to roll out a wide-ranging programme of ring-fenced training projects across all sites in Wales. The investment I am announcing today demonstrates our absolute commitment to the company in supporting this ambitious agenda.”

Kirsty Williams cuts the turf at the new site for Brecon High

Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams has been in Brecon for a turf cutting ceremony to mark the official launch of works on the building of a replacement site for Brecon High.

Kirsty Williams said: “It is great to see progress being made on this new state-of-the art facility, which is benefitting from around £10 million Welsh Government funding via our 21st Century Schools Programme.”

First residents throw open their doors in £42m Land for Housing scheme

Residents have moved into new affordable housing in Barry, the first to be completed under the £42 million Welsh Government Land for Housing loan scheme.

Housing and Regeneration Minister Rebecca Evans AM said: “We are committed to creating 20,000 affordable homes during the course of this government, and we are investing to support housing associations to build homes and help to meet this target.

“These are the first homes completed as part of the £42m Land for Housing loan; housing associations can borrow money from the Welsh Government to buy land. When the loan is repaid, the money goes back into more loans to fund more housing.”

Valleys road improvements must bring wider benefits

Experts from business, house building and the public sector joined the Industrial Communities Alliance, the Bevan Foundation and the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services Alun Davies to talk about how to maximise the benefits of the dualling of the A465 Heads of the Valleys road.

Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services Alun Davies said: “When the dualling is complete, there will be a continuous dual carriageway from the M4 along the A465 to the midlands and beyond.

“We are working to make the most of the opportunities from this, building on the Valleys Taskforce’s ambitious plans, including a commitment to close the employment gap between the South Wales Valleys and the rest of Wales.”

Economy Secretary in China to strengthen trade links

Economy Secretary, Ken Skates has been in Hong Kong and Shanghai this week, strengthening trade links with China and promoting Wales as a great place to live, visit and do business.

Ken Skates said: “Now more than ever it is important that we reach out to China and our other international partners to build a stronger and fairer economy for all. This week’s visit is part of our ongoing and multi-faceted work to achieve this.”

Wales secures €90m of EU research funding to drive innovation

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has announced Wales has been successful in winning more than €90m of funding through the EU’s competitive research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.

Professor Drakeford said: “Horizon 2020 provides real opportunities for businesses and organisations to be at the cutting edge of research and innovation.

“Our white paper Securing Wales Future and policy paper Regional Investment in Wales after Brexit emphasised the importance of Horizon 2020 to Wales and that it will continue to receive Welsh participation after Brexit.”

Fifteen Local Authorities’ WESPs approved

Fifteen local authorities’ plans to improve the provision of Welsh medium education have been approved by Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan.

Approving the plans, The Minister said: “I am very pleased that the local authorities who have had their plans approved have demonstrated a commitment to support a growth in Welsh-medium education in line with our ambition and would like to thank them all for their cooperation. I am also confident that the commitment shown by the remaining authorities will mean that we can work with them to push forward to agree their plans as soon as possible.” 

Business rates support for high streets extended

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has announced an extra £5m to extend the high street rates relief scheme in 2018-19 – helping shops and pubs to pay their business rates.

Professor Drakeford said: “This additional support, which extends the high street rates relief scheme into 2018-19, together with our decision to put the £100m small business rates relief scheme on a permanent footing from April ensures ratepayers across Wales are receiving support to pay their bills.

“Targeting support to high street retailers will help those businesses, which are affected by the current economic conditions and competition from online and out-of-town providers.” 

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