“The balance between providing hope and raising false expectations is a fine line” – Rhun ap Iorwerth responds to Coronavirus Control Plan update
“We have a situation in Wales where businesses often don’t know until the last minute if they’re going to be able to open. Even with this revised guidance, it is not clear what criteria need to be met for lifting of some restrictions.
“The balance between providing hope and raising false expectations is a fine line, but this uncertainty and lack of ability to forward plan even by a few weeks is making this more challenging for the public and for businesses.”
Ynys Môn MS demands end to disparity between health and social care worker pay
The MS for Ynys Môn, Rhun ap Iorwerth has called for reform of pay, terms and conditions to bring in equality of treatment for health and social care staff.
In a debate this afternoon (Wednesday 17 March) in the Senedd, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS called for disparities to end, and for care workers to be paid a guaranteed minimum of £10 an hour.
Under current arrangements, all health workers in the NHS are paid at least the real living wage. That is not the case in the care sector.
A Plaid Cymru government would create a National Health and Care Service, with free social care at the point of need, with health and social care workers put on the same pay scales.
In the Senedd debate today, Rhun ap Iorwerth called on the “next Welsh Government” to introduce a guaranteed minimum of £10 an hour for all care workers.
The Labour Welsh Government has tabled an amendment which deletes this requirement and replaces it with a mention of a new forum – the Social Care Fair Work Forum – which it says is “looking at how to improve terms and conditions in the sector.”
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,
“The public has clapped for our carers, now it’s time for government to step up and put a value to the clapping.
“Plaid Cymru has made its commitment to our carers – in government, we will create genuinely seamless National Health AND Care Service, which will give care workers the respect they deserve, putting them on the same terms and conditions and pay scales as health workers.
“If the other political parties in Wales are serious about this, they will have the chance to back Plaid Cymru’s motion in the Senedd today, and commit to delivering a reformed pay and retention settlement for health and social care staff, including a guaranteed minimum of £10 an hour for care workers.
“For our carers, who have put so much into looking after us during the biggest public health crisis in our lifetimes, it is the very least government can do for them”
“This has been a mental health crisis as well as a physical health crisis” says Ynys Môn MS Rhun ap Iorwerth
Responding to the health committee’s report on the inquiry into Covid-19 and its impact on mental health and well-being, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said that “The pandemic has caused wider damage than simply the direct physical damage caused by COVID-19 itself”
He added “there’s been an impact on people’s access to mental health services, sometimes because of restrictions and additional pressures on the health service and, at other times, people were not sure where to turn during the pandemic—they weren’t comfortable, perhaps, talking to people on these new digital platforms about things that may be causing them anxiety.”
The Plaid Cymru’s Health Shadow Minister, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS also added “We did discuss during this inquiry the fact that we don’t need to overmedicalise things on all occasions, that we need to take account of our natural, emotional responses—bereavement, sadness, anxiety about the current situation, and so on and so forth—and we need to think of other ways of looking at the well-being of people. I’ve been pushing the Government to do everything possible to allow outdoor exercise and to ensure that people can get out in the outdoors. These are soft approaches but equally important.
Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn, has welcomed the announcement that £4.8 million has been earmarked for the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub in the UK Government’s budget this week.
Mr ap Iorwerth said:
“I’m very pleased to hear that additional funding has been made available for this project. This is great news for Ynys Môn. Almost exactly a year after I led a Senedd debate, setting out my vision of the real potential of Hydrogen energy, we see those benefits being realised on Anglesey.
“Welsh Government supported that Plaid Cymru motion I presented last year, and subsequently provided support and funding to take the Holyhead project forward.
“I’m delighted to see this significant move forward having supported and encouraged this project from the outset. My thanks goes to the work of hydrogen energy innovator Guto Owen and the Menter Môn team for making this happen.
“It’s good to see energy innovation in action, and we in Plaid Cymru are committed to setting up the headquarters of a new national energy company, Ynni Cymru, here on the island, giving Anglesey a key role in green energy rollout Wales-wide for years to come. This hydrogen project in Holyhead is about offering greener and longer-term jobs for generations to come.”
SCHOOL CONSULTATION: ‘PLEASE LET THE COMMUNITY BE HEARD’
Talwrn activists say closure consultation should not take place during a pandemic
At a time when everything is being held virtually, campaigners battling to save Ysgol Talwrn from closure feel that their voices are not being heard because of the constraints of a pandemic.
At a virtual meeting held by Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of Senedd for Ynys Môn, campaigners expressed serious concerns that the restrictions in place due to Covid-19 had affected their ability to effectively oppose Anglesey County Council’s plans. They have called on the local authority to delay the consultation process until they can object fully and fairly to the proposals. The plans would see Ysgol Talwrn close, with pupils being transferred to Ysgol y Graig in Llangefni, which would be expanded to accommodate additional pupils.
Last week, the Council’s statutory consultation period came to an end, but campaigners claim the system has not been open enough, and plans are being pushed through at a time when children are being educated from home and when groups cannot meet face to face to fully raise their concerns.
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:
“At a time when we are very limited in what can be done to oppose the proposed closure of Ysgol Talwrn, campaigners have approached me because they want a fair opportunity to have their say.”
Mr ap Iorwerth has previously written to the Council asking them to delay the plans until we are on the other side of the pandemic, but has been told that the process cannot be delayed forever.
He added: “While I understand that the Council has to deal with issues other than Covid-19, there is a community that cannot fully participate in the consultation process – they can’t meet face to face, they tell me that covid restrictions, coupled with poor internet connection in the area, have affected their ability to meet in virtual reality, and as a result they feel like a “muted community.”
This is the latest in a series of consultations on the future of Ysgol Talwrn, with the Council having already postponed the current process since March 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
Rachael Jones, a childminder from Talwrn said she believed the school should have a bright future:
“The school has recently been listed as ‘Green’, the Cylch is busy and my small business is busy as a result. I am concerned about the effect the closure of the school would have on my business, but I’m really concerned about the impact it would have on our community. I know some parents are not enrolling their children at school because of the threat of closure. ”
Rhun ap Iorwerth added:
“Numerous consultations are bound to leave scars on a community, and the fact that opportunities to voice the community’s views are so limited at the moment add to the feelings of unfairness. I will write to them again following this meeting to express their opinions”
Wales Air Ambulance marks 20 years of service.
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS celebrates St David’s day by thanking 20 years of service from the Welsh Air Ambulance.
Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “This St David’s day is a very historic one for the Welsh Air Ambulance service, as they reach a very special milestone. This vital service has saved so many lives over the years, and is a service that means a lot to many. ”
Y Wygyr Chip Shop in Cemaes is one of the many businesses that has been raising money for the charity for years and is encouraging anyone to donate, to show their appreciation for the charity’s hard work during this difficult time .
Rhun ap Iorwerth added “I am extremely proud of all the work that the Air Ambulance is doing, we thank them very much, especially over the challenging times of the pandemic. If you can contribute anything to the charity, It would be highly appreciated”
Responding to news that self-isolation is costing people who do not qualify for financial support hundreds of pounds in lost income, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Finance and Health, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,
“Self-isolation remains a vital part of stopping the spread of coronavirus, and fear of financial hardship is one of the barrier to effective self-isolation. If support isn’t sufficient, and isn’t reaching the right people, our efforts to tackle the pandemic suffer.
“Raising the low income self-isolation payment to £800 will help more people stay at home at a time they most need to isolate. This will be an important step in helping stop the virus taking hold again once we ease out of lockdown.”
“With transparency comes trust” – Rhun ap Iorwerth repeats calls for vaccine supply figures to be made public
Responding to questions raised about the supply of vaccines into Wales, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,
“Transparency is key in maintaining public trust. Everyone involved in the vaccine rollout has done a fantastic job in vaccinating 20% of the Welsh population, but we need to see the flow of vaccines into the four UK nations, to have confidence that we are getting our fair share.
“I have repeatedly asked for the data on how much of each vaccination is distributed to all nations, in the spirit of transparency. The Health Minister has indicated he agrees, so the question is – when will this data be made publicly available, so that we can all have confidence that distribution is as open and fair as possible?”
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS welcomes Holyhead vaccination development.
After calling in recent weeks for the setting up of mass vaccination facilites at Holyhead, the MS for Ynys Môn has welcomed the news that a local vaccination centre will open at Ysbyty Penrhos Stanley to vaccinate 2,000 people in the top four priority groups by mid-February.
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: “With no mass vaccination centre earmarked for Anglesey’s largest town, I asked the health board to take into consideration the challenges faced by primary care in the town over recent months. I was pleased that the Board responded positively to the case I put forward, and I’m glad this is being set up as an initial effort to bring mass vaccination into the Holyhead community, I look forward to seeing this being developed into a regular vaccination facility. This is good news for the local population.”