Swansea's Labour AMs have welcomed new figures showing that council tax in Swansea continues to be lower than in England, and that this year’s council tax rise is also lower than across the border.
A Band D property in Swansea is £154 less than the average Band D in England, which stands at £1,591.
The band D council tax rise in Swansea is also lower than the figure for England based on estimates published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. The average increase in England in 2017-18 is 4.0% and the increase in Swansea is 3.1%.
Swansea West AM, Julie James, said: “Despite huge pressures on budgets here in Wales caused by years of Tory cuts, Welsh Councils have acted to protect the taxpayer. This situation has not been replicated in England, where we have seen significantly larger rises."
Gower AM, Rebecca Evans, said: “The situation in England is caused not least by the fact that the Tory government have completely mismanaged social care. In Wales, we have prioritised it as a sector of national strategic importance, and have invested an extra £35 million to help manage the pressures in the sector this year."
Swansea East AM, Mike Hedges, said: “Despite austerity from Westminster, Wales has not seen the levels of cuts to local services we have seen in England. This is because the Welsh Labour Government understands the importance of doing all it can to protect our services.”
Since 2007, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has been holding an annual global celebration where people switch off their lights for one hour to show they care about the future of our planet.
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has a keen interest in environmental issues and is a long-time supporter of the Earth Hour campaign.
Rebecca Evans said: “We have experienced the hottest year on record for the third year in a row, and it is reported that nearly one in six species are now at risk of extinction due to climate change. The time to act is now.”
Earth Hour is the world’s largest demonstration of support for action on climate change. Last year, millions of people around the world across 178 countries came together to show support for action to protect our planet – and the number of people participating rises each year. The Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle, will join cities, towns and communities across the world in switching off their lights and coming together for an hour to join a global show of support for action on climate.
Mrs Evans added: “This year’s celebrations will be on Saturday 25th March from 8.30pm to 9.30pm, and I would like to invite residents of Gower to join others across the world in simply turning off ones lights for one hour in support of the campaign. It’s a simple act that will remind us of the issues facing our planet, and one which will show that we, as a global community, are willing to address these concerns, and together do what we can to preserve our planet.
"The Welsh Labour Government has put sustainability at the heart of everything we do. We have passed landmark legislation in the form of our Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, which will help us work toward a more prosperous, resilient, healthier and more equal Wales - a Wales where we have strong communities with a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language, and where we are mindful of and responsive to global challenges - including climate change."
Rebecca Evans, Assembly Member for Gower, has welcomed a consultation on the reduction or abolition of commission fees on the sale of park homes.
The consultation follows a review of the sector commissioned by the Welsh Government. While the review made several recommendations to improve standards in the sector, barely a quarter of park home operators contributed detailed financial information to the review.
Rebecca Evans AM said “This is an issue that the Welsh Labour Government has considered very carefully, and I know that park home residents in Gower will welcome the chance to have their say.
“The Welsh Government will examine the level of the commission charged by site owners, and, in light of the very strong representations that the Government has heard, there may well be a case to reduce or even abolish the commission. All consultation responses will be taken into full account before a final decision is taken.
“I encourage all those who have park homes to have their say.”
The consultation can be found on the Welsh Government website:
Local Labour AMs Julie James, Rebecca Evans and Mike Hedges have appealed to Swansea residents to help make Wales the global leader in recycling after new figures revealed that the country is now the third best in the world at recycling.
A new report from research company Eunomia shows that Wales is making impressive progress in increasing the amount it recycles as a nation. Wales is in third place in the report’s analysis of world recycling rates, following closely behind the leaders Germany and Taiwan. The figures also put Wales closely behind Germany as Europe’s second best recycling nation, well ahead of the other UK nations.
Swansea West AM, Julie James was eager to pay tribute to Swansea residents for the part they continue to play in reducing household waste.
“The news that Wales is now the third best recycling nation in the world is a tribute to the action of householders and councils in areas like Swansea who are helping to make the Welsh Labour Government’s ambitious recycling targets a reality.”
“It is pleasing to see that people across the length and breadth of Wales can see the benefits of making the best use of our resources and the important economic and environmental benefits that come with it.”
Gower AM, Rebecca Evans commented: “Wales’ position as a world leader in recycling is something we can all be proud of. Figures show that we are now recycling double the amount of waste we recycled a decade ago, with an impressive rate of 62% according to the most recent statistics. This is good news for our local environment, with significantly less waste going to landfill.”
“However, there is a great deal more that we can all do to boost these rates further. That is why the Welsh Labour Government wants Wales to become the highest recycling nation with a zero waste approach.”
Swansea East AM, Mike Hedges, added “We can all do our bit in making Wales the global leader in recycling. Small measures like recycling more of our food waste can make a huge difference to our environment and will see Wales’ recycling performance go from strength to strength.”
A range of useful tips and further information about recycling can be found at www.recycleforwales.org.uk
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, is encouraging constituents to embrace the opportunity to celebrate the amazing achievements made by women in Gower through Chware Teg’s Womenspire Awards.
Chwarae Teg, is Wales’ leading gender equality charity, and has been working for nearly a quarter of a century on promoting the role of women in the workplace.
Rebecca Evans said, "These awards celebrate the achievements of inspirational women, and the contribution of organisations who are helping create a Wales where women achieve, prosper, and fulfil their potential. I would love to see women and employers across Gower recognised amongst the nominees and winners.
“Do you know of inspiring women who are being bold and pioneering positive change? If so, nominate them!
"These awards are particularly exciting because they seek to celebrate women in all walks of life doing extraordinary things. For example, they are looking for women who are community activists, working in the rural economy, rising stars in their field, and prisoners in the field of science, technology, engineering or maths.
"The awards will also recognise employers in the private, public, and third sectors who are making a difference for women in Wales."
Chwarae Teg’s Womenspire Awards showcases the remarkable accomplishments of women across Wales and will inspire future generations.
Nominations are sought by and on behalf of women at all stages, and across all walks of life, who are proud of what they are achieving – whether it’s in their private or professional lives or in the wider community.
The Womenspire Awards 2017 are being held on June 21st 2017 in the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay.
This years’ categories include, among others:
Community Activist of the Year
Woman in the Rural Economy
Woman in Enterprise
Man of the Year
Employer of the Year
The deadline for nominations is 31st March 2017.
Nominations can be made here: https://www.cteg.org.uk/womenspire17/categories/
Mrs Evans added: “The huge contributions made by women across Wales, even in 2017, can sometimes go unnoticed, and these awards are a positive way of celebrating the achievements of Welsh women.
"It is fitting that we take every opportunity to recognise the talent, commitment and success of women in our society to inspire the next generation to achieve their potential and work towards gender equality across all sectors."
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, is celebrating International Women’s Day 2017 by adding her voice to those of women across the globe to call people to be Bold For Change.
Rebecca Evans said: “This year’s request for International Women’s Day is that women and men around the world help to forge a more inclusive world where there is gender parity in all places, through being Bold for Change, to eliminate gender inequality. This can begin by standing up for gender parity in our own communities and ensuring both men and women are given the same opportunities and rewards for their work.
“In Wales, Welsh Labour has led the way with an excellent record of female Assembly Member and Ministers in the Welsh Government, but there are many areas of Welsh life where inequality still persists.”
Last year ,International Women’s Day saw organisations and individuals in all corners of the world support the Pledge for Parity campaign, committing to aid women and girls achieve their ambitions; challenge conscious and unconscious bias; call for gender-balanced leadership; value women and men's contributions equally; and create inclusive flexible cultures. It was regarded as a success with many committing to the pledge to see gender parity.
However, from a global point of view, the World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won't close entirely until 2186.
Mrs Evans added: “Such a time scale is unacceptable. The time to act is now. We must join our voices together with men and women who work for gender parity in all societies across the world and be bold for change, to ensure that gender inequality is something that is consigned to the realms of history.”
Rebecca Evans, AM for Gower, is welcoming the news that Superfast Business Wales - the Welsh Governments digital advice service - has supported 71 enterprises in Swansea.
The Superfast Business Wales service is backed by the Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Part of the Business Wales service, it provides Welsh SMEs with comprehensive ICT advice and guidance about how they can use online technologies such as cloud computing, online apps and software, social media, mobile working, and much more, to grow and develop their businesses further.
The service is independent and free, and includes access to an online needs review, masterclasses and workshops, 1:1 ICT support, and a full website diagnostic. Businesses can also download the new Software Directory, as well as a number of online tools, guides and top tips available on the website: business.wales.gov.uk/superfastbusinesswales
Rebecca Evans said: “I am pleased that businesses across Swansea have taken advantage of the Welsh Government's Superfast Business Wales service, and would urge others to find out whether they could benefit from the free, expert help.
“Digital technology is increasingly important to businesses, and getting the best out of it can be challenging, so if businesses aren't maximising their digital potential at the moment there is nothing to lose by finding out more."
To find out more and to register onto the Superfast Business Wales service call 0300 060 3000, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Evans AM is asking constituents in Gower to take part in the Health Wise Wales survey. The innovative survey is a confidential study that aims to track the health of people living in Wales. The aim is to improve the health and well-being of future generations and help the NHS plan for the future.
Members of the public are being asked to provide simple information online via the Health Wise Wales website or over the telephone. By sharing information about their health and lifestyle, their contribution will help researchers to undertake health and social care research and development in Wales.
Rebecca Evans AM said, “Accurate information on the state of people’s health in Wales is invaluable to our health service.
“It allows us to accurately track health difficulties and inequalities and design services around people’s health needs.
“I would urge all residents to check out the Health Wise Wales website and play a part in this important and innovative research. The opportunity is open to everyone - you don't have to be in good health to take part."
Residents can register to take part in the survey by visiting https://www.healthwisewales.gov.wales/homepage/ or calling 0800 9 172 172
Rebecca Evans, AM for Gower, has welcomed new data on a range of quality of health care measures which show that when compared to the other home nations, Wales is doing as well as the rest of the UK - and in four important areas Wales is ahead of the game. In only one area is Wales below the average.
In its major international review, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that no UK nation was doing consistently better than the others. On the important issue of acute care, Wales is performing similarly to England and better than Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Rebecca Evans said AM: "The information provides us with a useful way of comparing and benchmarking against the other nations of the UK. As the number of indicators that the OECD looks at increases over time, we will get an even better picture of the impact of our policies.
“I am pleased that in some areas - stroke mortality rates, asthma hospital admission, diabetes amputation rates for females and foreign body left during procedure rates - we are performing better than the average. This is to be welcomed. On avoidable admissions, we are performing similarly to England.
"I look forward to exploring more comparative data in future."
There is no single nation which is performing consistently better than the others.
One indicator shows Wales to be above the UK average - Obstetric trauma during vaginal delivery without instrument.
Rebecca Evans, Assembly Member for Gower, has welcomed today's announcement of a million pounds of Welsh Government funding for local authorities across Wales to help young people who have experienced care.
Funding will be made available to eligible young people aged between 16 and 25 and who are either still in local authority care or are care leavers, to help them progress towards independence.
Rebecca Evans said: "We know that children who live in care and care leavers do not have the same outcomes as children who live at home with a parent or parents. We need to keep working together to ensure that children in care have the same chance to realise their full potential and realise their hopes and ambitions.
"Welsh Government will be working with the Children's Commissioner, and young people with experience of care themselves, to ensure that the fund meets the needs of young people leaving care to help them have the best possible chance of a full, rewarding, and independent life."
In 2015/16 there were 5662 looked after children in Wales and 702 care leavers.