Waiting time lottery must end

Five local health boards missed the government’s 36 week waiting time target in January. Figures published today show the amount of time patients wait for treatment varies considerably across Wales.

Air Ambulance deserves to be taken seriously

The Health Minister has again refused to consider direct funding for the Wales Air Ambulance, despite its current campaign to raise 600,000 pounds for a new helicopter in mid Wales. The central helicopter - opposite - is based near Newtown and will shortly be decommissioned.

Glastir lacks direction and good management

Commenting on the Deputy Minister’s statement on taking the Glastir scheme forward, Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs Antoinette Sandbach AM, said: “Glastir remains fundamentally unfit for purpose. If its’ success is measured by the scale of farmers’ participation, as suggested by the previous minister, it remains a complete failure."

Labour fails to use potential of Wales Tourism Week

The First Minister was today unable to explain what, if anything, the Welsh Labour Government did to support Wales Tourism Week. The latest tourism figures show that in 2010 there were 123,000 fewer overseas visitors to Wales than in 2004, while tourist expenditure in Wales is now lower than a decade ago.

M4 U-turn welcomed

Commenting on the launch of the Welsh Government’s consultation on easing congestion along the M4, Shadow Minister for Transport Byron Davies AM said: “This is quite some U-turn following the Labour-led government’s decision to scrap an M4 relief road in 2009."

Wales-wide council tax freeze debated

Welsh Conservatives have renewed calls for the Welsh Government to implement a council tax freeze.  Across the border, additional funding has provided English local authorities with the opportunity to keep council tax at its current level. Following the Welsh Government’s differing decision, only four councils here will implement a freeze and increases elsewhere will vary between one and 4.5 per cent.

Welsh firms hit by Labour's tax bombshell

Ports firms in Wales will be disproportionately hit by backdated bills for business rates, it emerged today. The UK Government today confirmed that from 31st March 2012, businesses in England unfairly hit by backdated tax bills will be able to recoup their losses.

Air Ambulance deserves government funding

The helicopter in the centre of this photo is based near Newtown. It needs upgrading and the Wales Air Ambulance Service is campaigning to raise £600,000 to achieve this. The service currently relies entirely on the people of Wales for its funding, through donations, fundraising events and membership of its lottery. Welsh Conservatives have called for the Welsh Government to improve its support of the service and fund it directly. 

Business Minister’s team turns down committee invitation

On the day Business Minister Edwina Hart gave a speech claiming ‘Wales means business’ at a St David’s Day lunch in London, it has emerged her officials have turned down an invitation to give evidence to an Assembly committee. The Enterprise and Business Committee – along with the Welsh Affairs Select Committee – will take evidence on the economic benefits of ports and airports in Cardiff next Thursday.

Encouraging daily use of Welsh language

Commenting on the publication of the Welsh Government’s Welsh language strategy, ‘A Living Language’, Suzy Davies AM, Shadow Minister for Culture & Welsh Language, said: “The focus in any strategy to nurture the Welsh language must be to encourage daily use in the community."