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Wrexham boost after recent job losses around Wales

by Carole Green

200 jobs are being created at financial research firm Avox in Wrexham by the end of 2016.

That economic boost comes after a worrying few weeks of jobs news around Wales, with 149 jobs lost at Creative Foods in Flint, 400 under threat at the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven, 650 going at Avana Bakeries in Newport, and a further 150 under threat at the Freeman events company in Cwmcarn.

The Prime Minister was also in North Wales - visiting a furniture business in Flintshire.

Prime Minister welcomes devolution report

The Prime MInister has welcomed the publication of the Silk Commission's second report. David Cameron said:

I am proud of this Government's record in delivering for Wales and bringing further devolution. The tax and borrowing powers we are devolving will give the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Government additional means to help generate economic growth and today's report makes recommendations that propose a new course for the future.

I know that the Secretary of State for Wales, and colleagues from across Government, will give careful thought to each of the recommendations made.

– David Cameron

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PM: The 'very best' of Wales will be displayed this year

In his St David's Day message, Prime Minister David Cameron says he is looking forward to the many opportunities Wales will have this year to present the 'very best' of the country to a global audience.

St David's Day is a time to celebrate Wales' rich and illustrious history, its beautiful language and its cultural heritage. Yet this year, we also look forward to a time where Wales will have the opportunity to showcase its credentials on a truly international stage.

In September, the NATO Summit will be hosted in south Wales, providing everyone - from business leaders to school children - with a unique opportunity to present the very best of Wales to a global audience.

I hope that everyone seizes this opportunity to show Wales as a great place to live, to visit and to do business in. I'm pleased to be flying the Welsh flag over Downing Street today and I wish everyone a very happy St David's Day - Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus i bawb.

– Prime Minister David Cameron

The Welsh flag will be flown above 10 Downing Street in Westminster today to mark St David's Day.

Welsh flag flown at 10 Downing Street for St David's Day

The Welsh flag will fly above 10 Downing Street in Westminster to mark St David's Day. Credit: PA

The Welsh flag will be flown outside 10 Downing Street today to mark St David's Day. Prime Minister David Cameron says today should be a celebration of Wales' language and heritage and that there will be many opportunities this year to present the 'very best' of the country to a global audience.

Cameron sees flood damage in Newgale and St Davids

Our Political Editor Adrian Masters is in Pembrokeshire with the Prime Minister.

David Cameron has been seeing the damage done by flooding in Newgale, and visiting businesses in St Davids.

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PM is in West Wales & South West England today visiting people affected by the recent flooding & local businesses

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David Cameron has been visiting Pembrokeshire to see the damage done by flooding in Newgale and to meet businesses in St. David’s.

He tweeted his support for councils giving council tax rebates to residents whose homes have been flooded.

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I can confirm we will fund councils that give council tax rebates to people whose homes have been flooded.

Young boy writes to PM over unsuitable video games

by Megan Boot

A nine-year-old boy from Neath has written to Prime Minister about his concerns over video games for youngsters.

In his letter, Joseph Kempson tells David Cameron he doesn't think there are enough games on the market suitable for children his age.

It comes as a headteacher at primary school near Caerphilly is warning parents across Wales of the possible link between violent video games and aggressive behaviour.

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Prime Minister 'worried' about education in Wales

by Adrian Masters

The Prime Minister has said he 'worries about some of the changes that have been made to education in Wales.' He made his comments in response to a question from the Monmouth MP David TC Davies.

Attacks on the Welsh Government's handling of health have become a regular feature of Prime Minister's Questions as a way of attacking Labour leader Ed Miliband. It seems David Cameron also now has education in his sights.

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Criminals serving whole life sentences

There are currently 49 criminals serving whole life terms in English prisons, and David Cameron has vowed to ensure that "life means life" for the worst offences.

Those serving full life terms include Jamie Reynolds, who pleaded guilty to the murder of Shropshire teenager Georgia Williams last year.

Jamie Reynolds pleaded guilty to the murder of Georgia Williams. Credit: West Mercia Police

Mark Bridger, who was jailed for killing five-year-old April Jones, is also serving a whole life sentence.

Mark Bridger has launched an appeal bid against his life sentence. Credit: PA Wire

Read: Cameron vows to retain life sentences for murderers

National

Cameron vows to retain life sentences for murderers

David Cameron has promised to ensure murderers can be kept in jail for life amid suggestions that the Government could introduce 100-year-sentences.

The Prime Minister's comments follow a long-running confrontation with the European Court of Human Rights, which has declared life sentences in England illegal because they offer no "right to review".

Ministers believe they can sidestep the ruling by letting judges sentence for hundreds of years, the Telegraph has reported.

Cameron's 'Double Yes' for Welsh income tax

by Adrian Masters
David Cameron and Nick Clegg in the Senedd
David Cameron and Nick Clegg in the Senedd in November

At a reception for lobby journalists last night, the Prime Minister used a phrase I think you'll hear from Conservative politicians a lot more in 2014. The phrase was 'double yes' and is David Cameron's shorthand for his approach to what should happen next with income tax powers for Wales.

A Wales bill is expected to be published before the end of the year (which only leaves next week) paving the way for a referendum to be held. If there were a Yes vote in that referendum, it would give the Welsh Government partial control over income tax raised in Wales.

When I asked David Cameron about the prospects of a referendum he said he'd be pushing for a 'double yes' and added that meant 'yes' to holding a referendum in the first place and then campaigning for a Yes vote in that referendum. And he's urged Welsh Tories to do the same.

Labour is against getting that power without reform of the way the Welsh Government is funded. Only this week, the First Minister said it would be a Tory 'trap' to transfer income tax control with unfair funding. You can see his comments by clicking here.

Welsh Conservatives in the Assembly are in an awkward position. They back the transfer of income tax powers but remain disappointed by the type of transfer on offer. They want the power, as recommended in the Silk Commission, to alter separate tax bands so that they can cut the middle rate.

But the power that will be set out in the Wales Bill next week is what's known in the jargon as 'lockstep' which means that a future Welsh Government would only be able to vary each of the three income tax bands at the same rate.

Sources close to Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies says he and Tory AMs will continue to campaign to be able to lower the 40% band 'because it's the only realistic band to reduce.'

They're clinging onto that in the face of the difference of opinion with the London end of the party because there have been some hints that the Treasury might leave open the prospect of future change to the form of income tax power.

Certainly the Welsh Liberal Democrats would want that to be the case because they want to cut the basic rate by 2p. And they, don't forget, boast of a direct line to the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.

That's for the longer-term. In the near future, 2014 looks set to be a struggle between Labour's resolute no and David Cameron's 'Double Yes.'

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