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Welsh Government News-in-Brief

Created on 21/04/2018 @ 06:38
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A round-up of the latest news from the Welsh Government from the past week. 

TrawsCymru extends and improves vital Aberystwyth to Cardiff service

Economy Secretary Ken Skates has launched the latest extension to the TrawsCymru bus service.

TrawsCymru is the Welsh Government funded, long-distance bus network for Wales comprising a number of routes, the latest of which will connect Aberystwyth with Carmarthen and Port Talbot before continuing on to Cardiff.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said: “We have listened to passengers and have introduced coaches onto this key route, and have significantly reduced journey times. Along with the additional stop in Port Talbot, this long-standing service will add more value to already vital public transport links to and from rural Wales, giving passengers extra choice on this key strategic route.”

First Minister opens new 21st century school in Rhymney Valley

First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has opened a new state-of-the-art primary school in Rhymney Valley.

The Idris Davies School has replaced the former Abertysswg and Pontlottyn Primary Schools and merged with the existing Rhymney comprehensive school to form the 3 – 18 campus.

During the visit, the First Minister said: “It’s a pleasure to officially open the new Idris Davies School, supported with £4m of Welsh Government funding. Named after the renowned Welsh poet, the school is steeped in history – but, today, we bring the school fully into the 21st century. 

“It has been good to speak with pupils and hear first-hand how the state-of-the-art facilities in this new 3-18 campus are helping them learn, feel inspired, and get the most out of the school day.”

Extra funding to help Mudiad Meithrin contribute to 1 million Welsh speakers

Mudiad Meithrin has been awarded an extra million pounds a year over the next two years to help the organisation develop additional Welsh-medium childcare provision and contribute towards reaching a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Announcing the funding, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said: “As the Welsh-medium early years and childcare specialist, Mudiad Meithrin has a vital role to play so I am delighted to announce this extra funding to help them contribute to this target.”

Thousands in Wales missing out on help with Council Tax

As Council Tax bills drop through the letterboxes of homes across Wales, thousands of households could be missing out on reductions they are entitled to.

Professor Drakeford said: “We know that thousands of households across Wales are not receiving the support they could be entitled to with their Council Tax. There are many discounts, reductions and exemptions available and these are all listed on our new website. A few minutes of your time, could mean significant savings to your outgoings.”

Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, Alun Davies, said: “We’ve worked hard to ensure vulnerable households in Wales continue to receive Council Tax support as part of our national Council Tax Reduction Scheme. However, many households aren’t aware they could be eligible for the scheme or entitled to other discounts or exemptions. I would encourage everyone to check the website to see whether they could be paying less council tax.”

Schools to share in over £90m to help disadvantaged learners

Schools across Wales are to share in over £90m in 2018-19 to help their most disadvantaged learners, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced.

Kirsty Williams said: “Teachers have also called for greater certainty around future PDG funding and that’s why I’m pleased to be able to guarantee allocation levels for the next two financial years and reaffirm our commitment to the grant for the lifetime of this Assembly.”

“We cannot allow damaging UK Government policies to plunge 50,000 more Welsh children into poverty” – Huw Irranca-Davies

The UK Government’s tax and welfare reform policies will push 50,000 more children in Wales into poverty according to a new report by the UK’s equalities watchdog – which cannot be allowed to happen, Welsh Government Ministers have said.

Minister for Children, Huw Irranca-Davies said: “As a government, we cannot and will not be silent as the UK Government’s damaging tax and welfare reforms threaten to plunge 50,000 more Welsh children into poverty and increase levels of deprivation for our most vulnerable families.”

New fund sees appointment of 80 new teachers to reduce class sizes

Schools across Wales are to benefit from 80 new teachers as a result of a £36 million fund to reduce infant class sizes, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has announced.

Kirsty Williams said: “Time and again, teachers and parents tell me that class sizes are a concern. That’s why one of my first actions as Cabinet Secretary was to announce this £36m fund.

“International research and evidence tells us there is a positive connection between smaller class sizes and attainment, particularly for our youngest pupils from poorer backgrounds.”

Cabinet Secretary announces £25.9m in Local Transport Grants

Local authorities in Wales have found out their allocated slice of £25.9m worth of transport grants.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport Ken Skates said: “The grants are a substantial investment to support local economic growth, improve road safety, enhance public transport facilities and provide more and better routes that enable people in Wales to walk and cycle and to do so safely.

“I commend the range of schemes I’ve been able to announce today, and the high quality of applications we received across these grants.”

NHS Wales responds to extreme weather and severe winter pressures

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has responded to the latest NHS performance statistics for February and March.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “I am pleased NHS Wales has continued to deliver professional emergency and scheduled health care throughout this extremely busy period. Resilience planning put in place by health boards and local authorities has helped deliver this and we are working with them year round to improve that planning for the future. 

“However, we recognise some patients have been waiting longer than is acceptable and we have been clear with health boards about our expectations around performance, and will work with them to evaluate measures taken this winter.”

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