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North Wales Police bill up

Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

North Wales council taxpayers will be faced with an above-inflation increase of 3.44% in the bill for policing.

Members of the Police and Crime Panel agreed the rise at at their Conwy meeting.

Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick QC said it would equate to an extra 17p a week per average household and increase the precept to a total of more than £66.6 million.

He told members that it is the fifth consecutive year of severe cuts for the force and it is likely that a £15.5 million reduction will have to be found in the next four years.

Work starts on multi-million pound revamp of St Fagans museum

The revamp will include a new visitor experience Credit: Kier Construction

Work is to start on a multi-million pound revamp of St Fagans National History Museum.

It's thanks to one of the largest grants ever awarded by the Heritage Lottery fund in Wales.

£11.5 million is being invested into the redevelopment of the site on the outskirts of Cardiff.

St Fagans is one of Wales' most popular tourist attractions in Wales Credit: Kier Construction

Part of the revamp will include a new visitor experience integrating national collections of archaeology and social history.

The project is also being supported by the Welsh Government which has given £6 million of funding support.

The redevelopment will create over a 1000 volunteering placements and offer educational visits for schools.

St Fagans was established as the first open-air museum in 1948 and is currently one of Wales' most popular tourist attractions with over 600,000 visitors every year.

Petrol prices down again - but not yet 99p in Wales

The big four supermarkets are all cutting the price of their fuel again.

This petrol station price drop was branded a publicity stunt. Credit: PA

Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco are all knocking a further 2p off their petrol and diesel. The Tesco cut takes effect from this afternoon, while the reductions by the other three companies will kick in Tuesday.

For Asda customers, the latest reduction means they will pay no more than 103.7p a litre on petrol, with diesel at 110.7p a litre. The reductions have come after it was revealed that a Birmingham service station had cut the price of its petrol to 99.7p a litre.

But the AA said that, although welcome, the Birmingham reduction "appears to be a publicity stunt rather than a reflection of general pump prices".

Petrol price cuts today - £1 a litre is predicted soon

All four of the big supermarkets are cutting fuel prices again. Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury's are reducing their petrol and diesel by 2p a litre from tomorrow, while Tesco's similar 2p-a-litre cut will take effect from this afternoon.

Credit: PA

The reductions mean Asda customers will pay no more than 105.7p a litre for petrol, with diesel being 112.7p a litre. This is Asda's 14th fuel cut since the end of September, with 21p a litre coming off its petrol price in total and 17p a litre off its diesel.

For Morrisons and Sainsbury's it is the seventh cut since the beginning of December.

The RAC has predicted that petrol could dip as low as £1 per litre, although the AA is more sceptical. RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said today that the latest cuts would further lower the average price of petrol, which is now cheaper than it has been for around five years.


Plaid Cymru: Wales' low-wage economy can be overturned

Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Lorwerth AM has outlined how Wales' low-wage economy can be overturned.

Highlighting figures on average wages in Wales, Rhun ap Iorwerth said that Welsh wages were on average £2,000 lower per year than the rest of the UK.

The average weekly wage in Wales is £383.30 per week Credit: PA

He said employment levels in Wales matched UK average levels but jobs are generally of lower quality in Wales, resulting in lower wages.

The average weekly wage in Wales is £383.30 per week, compared to the UK average of £417.90.

We need to make sure that the Welsh workforce has the skills that business needs, so that we can begin to drive up Welsh wages.

That needs to start with education. We need to teach ourselves the skills that business wants, and to do that Plaid Cymru is working in partnership with industry to ensure that Welsh apprenticeships and skills training offer the skills they need.

The wage gap has grown because of a lack of investment in Wales by successive governments formed by London-based parties and it is high time that Wales took control the powers we need to create a thriving business environment, and quality well-paid work.

– Rhun ap Lorwerth AM, Plaid Cymru

The Welsh Government says it is continuing to work to close the historic wage gap by attracting investment, creating jobs and promoting economic growth.

"We are working closely with the business community to ensure that education in Wales provides young people with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. Separately Professor Graham Donaldson is currently undertaking a wide-ranging independent review of curriculum and assessment arrangements to ensure learners gain the skills they need to succeed in a modern and quickly evolving world."

– Welsh Government

Over £30 million to be invested into deprived parts of Wales

Over £30 million is to be invested into some of Wales' most deprived areas.

The Welsh Government announced the funding will be given to its Communities First programme which will help 52 areas across the country.

52 areas around Wales are to benefit from the funding Credit: PA

The £31.7 million will support the most vulnerable by combating poverty and promoting education, health and economic prosperity.

Areas across Wales will benefit from the funding between April 2015 and March 2016

Providing £31.7 million for our Communities First programme during a time of unprecedented budget cuts shows the Welsh Government is committed to supporting our most vulnerable communities and narrowing the economic, education and health gaps between our most deprived and affluent areas. Far too many people’s lives are affected by poverty. Too many families have nobody working and cannot afford basic essentials such as heating their home during this cold weather. Addressing this issue is a priority for me and the Government as a whole.

– Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

The breakdown of funding is as follows:

  • Anglesey County Council - £662,200
  • Bridgend County Borough Council - £1,738,317
  • Caerphilly County Borough Council - £2,902,016
  • City of Cardiff Council - £2,984,094
  • Carmarthenshire County Council - £580,007
  • City and County of Swansea - £2,844,812
  • Conwy County Borough Council - £580,381
  • Flintshire County Council - £676,315
  • Gwynedd County Council - £576,675
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council - £1,888,535
  • Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council - £1,729,229
  • Newport City Council - £2,391,530
  • NSA Afan - £526,800
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council - £4,850,025
  • The Co-operative Group - £2,584,539
  • Torfaen County Borough Council - £1,302,452
  • Vale of Glamorgan Council - £580,922
  • Wrexham County Borough Council - £1,252,447

Extra funding for out-of-school childcare

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, has announced £400,000 to provide out-of-school childcare for families across Wales.

The funding, which the Welsh Government says is on top of £2.3 million already provided, is aimed at gaps in childcare provision across Wales.

Projects set to get extra funding include childcare centres in Caerphilly and Conwy which will provide play workshops for local children.

Providing quality childcare and improving parents’ access to it is one of my top priorities. Childcare facilities are not just simply a place to go while parents are at work, they are also about improving the lives of children, especially those from our deprived communities.

Childcare not only plays a central role in improving children’s well-being and reducing inequalities, it is also vital to ensuring parents are able to access employment and training opportunities.

– Lesley Griffiths AM, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister
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