Plaid Cymru Shadow Economy Minister responds to Airbus A380 announcement

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Economy and Finance Rhun ap Iorwerth AM has expressed his disappointment following Airbus’s announcement of their decision to cease production of the double-decked A380 in 2021.

Part of the construction of the A380 takes place at the company’s site in Broughton, which has raised concerns regarding potential job losses, however Airbus says it hopes to keep potential job losses to a minimum.

Following the announcement, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“I was disappointed to learn today of Airbus’s decision to cease production of the double-decked A380 in 2021. She is a beautiful aircraft that I’ve been lucky enough to fly on, and I’m proud of Wales’ role in its creation.

“The decision follows a reduction in the order book of the largest A380 customer, Emirates, who will instead focus on using other aircraft in the Airbus fleet.

“I note Airbus’s hopes that it will be able to keep job losses to a minimum, but there will inevitably be concerns at Broughton where the wings are made.

“I will be seeking further clarity from Welsh Government about the implications of this announcement in the short and medium term. I am pleased, however, that Airbus does not expect there to be an impact on its plans for apprentice recruitment.”

Ynys Môn AM looks forward to ‘Senedd’ renaming as Welsh Parliament and Elections (Wales) Bill is published

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth has welcomed the recent publication of the Welsh Parliament and Elections (Wales) Bill as a ‘very important step’ that will see the voting age lowered for Welsh elections and a new name for our National Parliament.

In response to a statement by the Llywydd introducing the Bill in the Assembly Chamber yesterday, Mr ap Iorwerth discussed the move towards renaming Wales’ National Parliament as The Senedd, and made the case for this legislation needing to describe to the people of Wales the journey from being an Assembly to becoming a Parliament.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“This is a very important step and I’m looking forward to continuing the discussions on a new Bill that will see the voting age drop to 16 for elections in Wales – I strongly believe that we need to respect and give a voice to our young people. An interesting debate is to come regarding the name of our National Parliament, too.

“I think we do need to move towards having a single name, ‘Senedd’, for our new national Parliament, but we also need this legislation, of course, to describe our change on that journey from being an Assembly, which was a term that was to put us at a lower level to the Parliament in Scotland – we need this legislation to take us on that journey to being a Parliament.

“We need ‘Senedd’ as a name, we need a way, through this legislation, to have ‘Parliament’ there as a descriptor, and I look forward to us using this as a step to establishing ourselves even further in the hearts and minds of the people of Wales in our next 20 years and beyond.”

“Let us in Wales decide how to run our justice system” say Plaid Cymru AM and MP

Labelling the current situation as unacceptable, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM and Liz Saville Roberts MP have renewed calls for powers over administration of the justice system to be devolved to Wales, adding that the current system is not the kind we need in Wales.

Following the recent announcement of Wales Governance Centre figures which showed Wales has the highest imprisonment rate in Western Europe, Mr ap Iorwerth had a meeting with concerned solicitors at Caernarfon Crown Court yesterday regarding another issue facing the justice system in Wales – the difficulty people in rural areas have in reaching courts outside of their communities.

In 2016 four courts across North Wales were closed, including in Holyhead and Llangefni on Anglesey, Dolgellau in Gwynedd and Wrexham’s Tribunal and Hearing Centre.

This means that Mr ap Iorwerth’s constituents on Anglesey and Mrs Saville Roberts’s constituents in Dwyfor Meirionnydd have to travel to Caernarfon – some of whom don’t have access to cars, as well, and have to rely on public transport which isn’t always practical to reach a court for 9am on a given morning – and as such people are disadvantaged within the justice system.

Following his meeting at Caernarfon Crown Court, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“We know there are problems with the justice system in Wales – we have a higher percentage of people being sent to prison here in Wales than anywhere else in the UK, therefore something has to change and I’m certain that justice being something that isn’t administered locally these days is a big part of the problem.

“People are disadvantaged in terms of their abilities to look after themselves within the justice system too, with cuts to legal aid being made, for example – austerity has attacked the justice system and somehow we must find a solution to this.

“Devolving powers over the justice system to Wales would be a significant step in the right direction. Let us in Wales decide how to run our justice system because the current situation is unacceptable. This is not the kind of justice system we need in Wales.”

Mrs Liz Saville Roberts MP said:

“Just locking people up does not solve the problem. We need a genuinely rehabilitative prison system to break the vicious reoffending cycle that many inmates fall into.’

“The National Assembly for Wales should take control of our justice system so that we can create one fit for the unique needs of our nation and not simply allow Westminster to impose its unsuitable policies.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth takes part in LeadHerShip Campaign to encourage young women to consider a career in politics.

Chwarae Teg’s LeadHerShip programme hopes to inspire the next generation of future leaders.

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth is encouraging young women in Ynys Môn to consider a career in politics, and learn more about what life is like as an AM through Chwarae Teg’s LeadHerShip programme.

LeadHerShip gives young women aged 16-22 the chance to shadow an Assembly Member for the day and learn about how key decisions are made in Wales. This will involve getting first-hand insight into day to day life of an AM, learning how the Assembly Works, a Q&A with women AMs and a mock debate, where participants will discuss the role of women in Wales today.

Women are still notably absent in many decision-making roles in Wales; while the Assembly is performing well with 47% of AMs being women, the number is much lower for women Councillors, and women MPs, at just 28%.

Chwarae Teg wants to make sure that women’s voices are heard at every level of decision making, and that young women are encouraged to speak up about the issues to matter to them. LeadHerShip hopes to provide a platform for these views to be heard, and to encourage more engagement with Welsh politics.

Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “After the success of last year’s LeadHerShip, I’m pleased to be taking part again and offering young women in Ynys Môn the chance to get an insight into Welsh politics. This is a great opportunity for young women to get their voices heard, and learn about how the Welsh Assembly and Assembly Members work for them.

“We’ve made some good progress in Wales with achieving equality, but there is more to be done so I really hope that local women will apply, and realise that they have the potential to be a future leader.”

Natasha Davies, Policy and Research Lead at Chwarae Teg said: “We started #LeadHerShip last year in order to give young women a real insight into the political opportunities available to them. It was very successful and well received by the young women and AMs alike, so we’re hoping for more even applications this time around.

“It will offer young women in Wales a unique chance to get first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a politician as well as to learn more about the inner workings of the Senedd. We want to show young women in Wales that they can get their voices heard and play an important role in shaping the future.”

Women in YnysMôn who wish to apply to take part in LeadHerShip can apply at https://chwaraeteg.com/projects/leadhership19/ by Friday 15th February.

Welsh and UK Governments should give ‘pioneering’ Minesto project more support, says Ynys Môn AM

After another visit to see the developments taking place regarding Minesto UK’s unique marine energy technology ‘Deep Green’, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM has called for Welsh and UK Governments to pull out all the stops in supporting the company as they seek to make important progress over the next few years.

Minesto’s project at Holyhead Deep, six kilometres off the coast of Holyhead, is the first low-velocity tidal energy project in the world, and the company has established its UK headquarters in the Anglesey town, showing its commitment in developing and commercialising their innovative technology in the area.

In May 2015, Minesto was awarded a €13m grant from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), part of the Welsh Government, for the commercial rollout of Deep Green.

Following his recent visit to see the progress of Minesto’s plans, meeting with Minesto Chief Operating Officer David Collier and Business Development Manager Osian Roberts, Rhun ap Iorwerth AM has called for UK Government too to step up and support the project to see it reach its full potential.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“This is technology that we should be really proud is being developed here on Anglesey – Minesto’s work in this area is pioneering and it is very, very exciting to think of the potential of this project in producing clean, green energy off the coast of Anglesey.

“I’m grateful to Welsh Government who, through WEFO, have supported this project enthusiastically so far, but now it is time – especially in light of recent announcements regarding jobs and energy production on the island – for Welsh and UK Governments to step up and show it is serious about supporting this innovative and impressive project to reach its full potential.”

Plaid Cymru AMs call for urgent economic summit following “devastating” Bridgend Ford job losses

Plaid Cymru Assembly Members Rhun ap Iorwerth and Bethan Sayed have responded to reports of job losses at Ford Bridgend.

Responding to the reports that the Ford engine plant in Bridgend will cut up to 400 jobs, Plaid Cymru shadow minister for the economy Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said,

“The confirmation of the loss of 400 jobs at the Bridgend plant is devastating – not only for the workers directly affected but for the wider Welsh economy as well. This means that the plant in Bridgend is set to lose the majority of its workforce. We must get guarantees from Ford and the Welsh Government that these workers are supported and their rights protected.

“The Labour Welsh Government should already be at the door of the Ford management, pressing them on this decision, which will seemingly lead to terrible consequences for thousands of families that rely on Ford for employment. An urgent economic summit should be organised, of the kind set up at the time of the economic crisis a decade ago.

“I have already been in contact with Ford management at Bridgend to seek a meeting to discuss the future of the plant and what new opportunities can be pursued in the future.

Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West Bethan Sayed added,

“Questions have been raised about the plant for some time, and I have previously met with Trade Union representatives to discuss the plant, regarding developing new products for the future.

“We must ensure that the workers of the plant are supported, and rights protected. I will do all I can to support people who work there, and I urge people to get in touch should they want my support.’

Welsh Government should be proud to support 2025 Island Games bid, says Môn AM

With Ynys Môn’s bid to host the 2025 International Island Games progressing at a pace and the deadline fast-approaching for their bid to be submitted, the island’s Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth has again raised the prospect of Anglesey and Wales hosting such a major international tournament in the National Assembly.

In a question to Welsh Government Minister Eluned Morgan, who holds the Major Events portfolio, Rhun ap Iorwerth raised the island’s bid to host the 2025 International Island Games – a tournament that, if the island is successful in its bid, could result in a £5m economic boost for the island in 2025.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“There is one major event in the pipeline for us on Ynys Môn—the opportunity to stage the Island Games in 2025. The executive committee of the Island Games internationally has been very supportive of our plans and I’m very grateful to them for that, and we will be submitting our final bid in a matter of weeks, so this is a crucial time.

“We’re extremely grateful for the support that’s been shown from the local authority and by the major events team within the Welsh Government under previous Ministers and we look forward to working in partnership with the current minister, Eluned Morgan, over ensuing years, up until 2025.

“This is a priceless opportunity for Anglesey, which will be an economic boost, which will be good for health, fitness and sports and leave a legacy for many years. This is an event that the Welsh Government should be very proud to support.”

Crossrail Consequential should be priority for Welsh Government, says Rhun ap Iorwerth

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy and Finance Rhun ap Iorwerth has urged Welsh Government to make securing a Barnett Consequential of the Department for Transport’s recent loan towards the Greater London Authority to assist with London’s Crossrail Project a priority, adding that investment in Wales’ transport infrastructure is desperately needed.

This follows Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards’ question to UK Government where it was revealed that the Devolved Administrations had been offered a Barnett Consequential following the Department for Transport’s loan to the Greater London Authority towards the Crossrail Project.

Mr ap Iorwerth today sought assurances that the offer by UK Government has been made, and asked what was the nature of the offer, whilst insisting that it should be a priority of Welsh Government’s to secure this extra investment moving forward.

“Shouldn’t this be a priority for Welsh Government to see a potential new source of money as a way of investing in Wales’ transport infrastructure? This is investment that is desperately needed.

“We know that transport infrastructure spending in Wales is way behind the curve, certainly compared to the south-east of England and London – if spending per-head had kept up with those areas, an extra £5.6bn would been invested in Wales’ transport network over the past 20 years.

“This is a classic case of under-funding Wales by UK Government, and in the short-term Welsh Government must make it a priority to secure this Crossrail consequential – Welsh Government in the last 20 years has failed to stop that funding gap from increasing, the gap can’t be allowed to get bigger.”