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Welsh honey bees' 'good crop for 2014'

Credit: Henning Kaiser/DPA/PA Images

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) says better weather and better beekeeping have upped honey production

It says beekeepers across Wales have reported an average yield of 26lbs of honey per colony this year according to the annual Honey Survey.

That's an increase of almost a fifth on the 22lbs per colony reported by beekeepers in Wales in 2013, and is a far cry from the 10lbs per colony in 2012.

Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images

Conducted by BBKA amongst 2,000 beekeepers across the UK, the annual Honey Survey explores the current year’s honey yield and the factors affecting honey bee colonies and honey production. It shows a rise in British production.

While this increase is great news for beekeepers and honey bees, the historic average is 40lbs plus per hive so there is still some way to go if we are to return to our most productive....

– Tim Lovett, BBKA Director of Public Affairs


AMs' pay hike would insult health workers says union

Unison, one of the unions that recently agreed a Welsh NHS pay deal, is opposing the £10,000 increase proposed by the AMs' pay review body. The union reluctantly accepted that Welsh Government couldn't afford a 1% increase recommended for health workers this year.

A £10,000 pay rise for Assembly Members cannot be justified, particularly when you take into account the struggle that so many working people are experiencing day in and day out.

Unison argues that the outcomes of pay review bodies should be respected, however, the Welsh Government were unable to implement the 1% pay review recommendation made for health workers due to financial constraints placed on them from Westminster.

With this in mind, not only would it be a case of double standards if AMs accepted an 18% pay award, but it would also be an insult to health workers across Wales.

We are urging AMs to reject the pay recommendation. Our members deserve to be paid fairly for the work that they do and until this can be achieved, it would be unjust for AMs to accept a pay increase, especially of this magnitude.

– Unison Cymru/Wales Secretary Margaret Thomas

First Minister 'can't see' support for pay rise plan

The First Minister says he can't see how his Labour group can support a proposal to increase AMs by nearly £10,000 a year.

Speaking in his position as leader of the Welsh Labour group in the Assembly, Carwyn Jones says...

I was as surprised as anyone at the proposals we have seen come forward. I recognise of course in these difficult times how people will feel about this and I can't see how we could support the proposals as they stand.

However, we should not attack the remuneration board. They are independent of Government and of the National Assembly, and this process was established with cross-party support.

It is now for people to respond to the consultation process - I know that the Labour Group has already aired their concerns about the headline proposals and will be responding formally, to the full report, in due course.

– Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister


'Frustrated' Lib Dems explain why they're backing Welsh Government smacking committee move

The Welsh Liberal Democrats say they're 'frustrated' at having to back a Welsh Government move setting up a committee to look at changing the law on smacking. Supporters and opponents of calls for a smacking ban have criticised ministers for 'delaying tactics.'

There's been criticism too of the Lib Dems for supporting the move. But a spokesperson says they see it as the 'best option available.'

We are voting for the committee to be formed as we think it's the best option available to move the debate forward. We're frustrated with the position and see no reason for the committee to take as long as is envisaged in the terms of reference.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson
  1. Adrian Masters

Ann Clwyd to face selection challengers

Ann Clwyd MP Credit: PA, Dominic Lipinski

Ann Clwyd will face a selection challenge from three other people to fight the Cynon Valley in the 2015 election, despite being the constituency's MP for 30 years.

Labour chiefs insisted that there should be a selection contest because Ms Clwyd had initially decided to stand down and then changed her mind. That followed a row over the use of an all-women shortlist. You can read more details by clicking here.

Now the party has confirmed that Ann Clwyd will face challenges from three other women. They are: Katie Antipass, Susan Pickering and Aysha Raza.

  1. Adrian Masters

Opponents slam smacking delay tactic

The Welsh Government appears to have won enough support in the Assembly to set up a committee to look at changing the law on smacking children.

That's despite concern from political opponents and some Labour AMs that the move is a delaying tactic to distract from the party's divisions over the matter.

Sources say the Welsh Liberal Democrats will back the move although the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru will vote against.

There'll be another attempt to change the law when Plaid Cymru will try to amend the Welsh Government's Gender-based Violence Bill. The party's spokesperson on children's issues, Jocelyn Davies, says:

This committee is simply a fig leaf for the Labour Government’s inaction. For more than ten years the Labour party has claimed that it wants to make the physical punishment of children illegal, yet now that it has the power to do so it is trying to kick it into the long grass.

Today, Plaid Cymru called for the outlawing of physical punishment of children to be included in the Gender-based Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill because preventing domestic abuse must include educating children and parents that smacking is wrong. The Welsh Government has had many opportunities to deliver a ban but once again it has failed to deliver.

– Jocelyn Davies AM, Plaid Cymru
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