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Money expert backs Assembly bill

The well-known expert in personal finance, Martin Lewis has backed Bethan Jenkins' Financial Education Bill. He said:

I've been campaigning for years to ensure we educate our children to live in this competitive consumer economy - so it's great news that there's now a Bill being planned that looks to build upon compulsory financial education already offered in Wales. We need to ensure our children are equipped both to deal with dangers like payday loans, temptations like impulse spending, and planning a stable future for mortgages and, yes even one day, pensions.

Wales was already one step ahead of England in introducing compulsory financial education. However, this Bill demonstrates that policy makers in Wales are not prepared to sit on their laurels and want to push it another step forward. Music to my ears.

– Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert.com

AM hopes new law will combat payday loans

An Assembly Member has been setting out a potential new law that she hopes will help tackle the rising reliance on payday loans companies. Bethan Jenkins will introduce a backbench Financial Education and Inclusion Bill in the Senedd tomorrow.

If it wins support from other AMs, the bill would lead to more financial education in schools and later in life. It would also look at what more local councils could do, for instance in preventing access to payday lenders' websites on authority-owned computers.

Bethan Jenkins has praised existing financial education in schools, but says more can be done.

When I have debt management charities telling me that three in five people who go to see them with a loan they can’t afford to pay cannot even read their own bank balance sheet, I believe we as an Assembly just need to be doing a great deal more to end this. I see this bill as a way of opening up a far wider debate about debt management in our society, and believe that legislation that helps end the problems we are seeing will be all the better for everyone’s input.**

– Bethan Jenkins AM, Plaid Cymru

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  1. Adrian Masters

Commissioner's call for further clarity on AMs' roles

I understand the Assembly's Standards Commissioner will ask the independent body which sets salaries and allowances for AMs to look at where and when the line is drawn between Assembly duties and members' private lives.

In rejecting the complaint against Bethan Jenkins, Gerard Elias QC, said there may still need to be 'greater clarity both for the public and for Assembly Members' about what constitutes 'performance of their role.'

I gather he's proposing 'to write informally' to Sir George Reid, who chairs the independent Remuneration Board 'to consider this issue of interpretation further.'

Bethan Jenkins pleased as complaint is thrown out

Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins says she's pleased the Standards Commissioner has ruled that the complaint against her is 'inadmissible.' In her statement she goes on to repeat her attack on anonymous sources who she says are trying to 'smear' and 'undermine' her.

I think that the response from the Standards Commissioner explains the situation in that the complaint by the as currently unknown complainant has been deemed inadmissible, and thus this matter is closed.I am pleased that he has come to this decision. I was performing my duties as an AM that Tuesday morning as usual.

Working hard for my region and for Wales has always been my priority, and will remain my priority as an elected member.Those seeking to smear me and undermine me in an anonymous fashion should do so in their own name, if they wish to continue to seek to tarnish my name. But I will continue with my hard work despite their negative efforts to make me out to be something which I am not.

– Bethan Jenkins AM, Plaid Cymru
  1. Adrian Masters

Complaint against Bethan Jenkins dismissed

I understand that a complaint against a Plaid Cymru AM has been dismissed by the Assembly's Standards Commissioner. Gerard Elias QC was asked to investigate after Bethan Jenkins faced criticism for claiming the cost of a hotel stay on the night she attended a concert in Cardiff.

She's insisted that she needed to stay in Cardiff ahead of Assembly duties the following morning. That explanation was accepted by Assembly authorities but the Standards Commissioner was required to look further after a member of the public complained. I understand he's now rejected the complaint.

In a letter, which I've also seen, he writes that 'I am satisfied that there are no grounds to further investigate this matter and I shall deem the complaint inadmissible and the specific matter closed.'

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Plaid AM's S4C funding question

A Plaid Cymru AM will try to raise concerns about the funding of S4C in the Assembly later. Bethan Jenkins has asked the Presiding Office to allow an urgent question following reports that the channel's funding could be further cut by the UK Government.

While I recognise that the Welsh Government does not have power over broadcasting, a decimated S4/C could have a significant impact on its devolved responsibilities – not least for the Welsh language. This news comes on top of Ed Miliband’s announcement last week that he would adhere to Tory austerity plans, so it is now vital that the First Minister and his cabinet colleagues tell everyone in London that more cuts to our only Welsh Language television channel will not be tolerated.**

– Bethan Jenkins AM, Plaid Cymru

Bethan Jenkins tweets in defence of her decision to miss censure vote

Bethan Jenkins has taken to Twitter to answer criticism of her decision to miss a vote of censure on her in the Assembly and instead attend a protest in London by former Visteon workers who've lost their pensions.

I have apologised many times 2 public, 2 my constituents. 700 people from my area needed me in London today.

– Bethan Jenkins AM on Twitter

AMs went ahead in her absence to censure Bethan Jenkins for her drink-driving conviction. She responded to criticism from the Liberal Democrat Peter Black for staying away from the Senedd.

Dont be so petty Peter, seriously now. Judge me on what I do and say, respectfully.

– Bethan Jenkins AM on Twitter

I am not judging you but your absence is disrespectful to the Assembly. This is not a petty issue

– Peter Black AM on Twitter

Censure vote carried as Bethan Jenkins is told to reflect on criticism of her absence

AMs have passed a vote of censure on Bethan Jenkins for bringing the Assembly into disrepute. They went ahead although the Plaid Cymru AM was not in the chamber and her party had offered to agree to a delay so that she could attend. She was criticised for attending a protest in London instead.

It is a matter for an individual member whether they attend Assembly business, though I would always expect it to be your top priority. I am sure Bethan Jenkins will wish to reflect on the record of today's debate.

– Assembly Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler AM
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