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Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire Parties begin election campaigns



POTENTIAL voters in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire were introduced to their Westminster candidates this week, as election fever builds in the run-up to the May election.
Conservative Simon Hart, the incumbent MP launched his re-election campaign by pledging to continue to provide robust support to people in their hour of need and to put people above politics.
Mr Hart told the Herald: “In Westminster I have been proud to successfully champion our part of Wales in the heart of Government. Since the last election I have dealt with 9,000 inquiries in my office in Whitland, held nearly 40 public meetings, visited countless schools, businesses, clubs and institutions and, most importantly, spoken to literally thousands of local people. I am delighted that unemployment is down over 30% from 2010, that inflation is at 0%, interest rates are low and that business start -ups and growth are at their highest for years. Who would have thought Britain would be the fastest growing economy in the world?

Locally I have been so delighted to support local projects such as the successful bid to bring S4C to Carmarthen, the campaign to get Network rail to renovate the station buildings in Whitland, to sort out speeding problems in villages across the area and to lead the charge for our tourist industry in getting George Osborne to scrap a higher rate of vat on caravans amongst countless other important local issues. There is always more to do, more battles to be fought, but I hope I have been able to convince people that I have a successful track record and deserve another term.”
His rival, Labour candidate Delyth Evans, also launched her campaign this week, in Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock, where former Welsh secretary Peter Hain showed up to offer his support.

Ms Evans spoke confidently about Labour’s plan for the next five years, building a better Britain based on an economy that works for working people, supporting the NHS, creating more apprenticeships and opportunities for young people, and abolishing the Bedroom Tax.
Among those attending the launch was the local Labour party’s oldest member, 93-year-old Betty Farrar from Amroth.

Backing Ms Evans, Betty said that our communities need a strong voice in Westminster: “Times are still tough for families. I worry for older people like myself that if the Tories get their way, social care will be cut badly taking away the services that people need every day. I remember a time before the NHS. People today have no idea what it was like. I was one of seven children and when we were sick I don’t remember ever seeing a doctor. So the creation of the NHS was so, so vital. I do worry about the National Health because if the Tories get back in, they will hack away at it.”
Ms Evans told the Herald that Betty’s concerns are widely felt: “Betty shares many of the concerns that I have been hearing on the doorstep over the last two years. Concerns about austerity and concerns about the public services. Voters in South Pembrokeshire want to be reassured that the next government will work for them and that they have an MP who understands and shares their concerns. This constituency can make the difference as to which party will govern the country.

If you want change, you can get change by voting Labour on May 7th.”
A key factor that could swing the campaign one way or the other is the strength of the Plaid Cymru showing. Plaid candidate Elwyn Williams is an experienced campaigner with a track record of increasing Plaid’s share of the vote. He hopes to build on his profile in Carmarthen town and in the eastern part of the constituency and profit from voter disillusionment with Westminster politics.

The race for the seat looks too close to call, and even LSE analysts, while predicting that the Conservatives may shade it admit they ‘wouldn’t bet the house’ on the result. In 2010, Simon Hart achieved a majority of nearly 3,500 over Labour’s Nick Ainger, but a stronger showing for Labour and a surge in popularity for UKIP show the Conservative lead slashed from double-figure percentage points down to 0.8%. The success of these campaigns could very well have a major impact on which party carries South Pembrokeshire and Carmarthen West in May.

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Boris Johnson expected to resign as Prime Minister today



THE PRIME MINISTER, Boris Johnson is expected to tender his resignation today, according to sources close to Number 10.

Less than a month on from surviving a leadership challenge, the PM’s premiership will come to an end after senior ministers were among those to quit the government in protest at Downing Street’s handling of a series of recent scandals.

The latest of these being Mr Johnson promoting Chris Pincher to the role of deputy chief whip in February despite being told of a sexual misconduct complaint against the Tamworth MP in 2019.

On Tuesday, the PM apologised for allowing this job move to take place – but this did not stop the resignations of both his health secretary Sajid Javid and chancellor Rishi Sunak minutes later.

By Thursday morning, more than 50 Conservative MPs had resigned from their government roles.

Commenting on the news that the Prime Minister will be resigning today as Conservative Party Leader, Andrew RT Davies MS, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, said: “I’ve always said it was essential for the Prime Minister to hold the confidence of our country, party and parliament. Clearly, that is no longer the case.

“Boris Johnson’s legacy will always be that he ended the deadlock and got Brexit done, delivering on the will of the British people.

“As well as securing a historic victory in 2019, Boris ensured our return to freedom out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Regrettably, it has now become very difficult for him to deliver on the mandate he secured.

“As a friend and supporter of the Prime Minister, I recognise his achievements over the last three years. It now falls to the Conservative Party to select a new leader to deliver on our manifesto commitments for the remainder of this parliament.

“I wish him, Carrie and the rest of his family all the best for the future and thank him for his service to our country.”

Reacting to the resignation of the Prime Minister Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

“Finally this whole sorry and undignified saga has come to an end. It was always abundantly clear that Boris Johnson was unfit to be Prime Minister and those that backed him to the hilt have a responsibility for the mess and destruction he and his brand of populism has had on our country.

“The Welsh public won’t forgive so many Welsh Conservative MPs for propping up Boris Johnson for so long against various scandals while at the same time ordinary families were struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

“Johnson or no Johnson, for many former Conservative voters the party they once knew is beyond redemption and will not be coming back.”

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Werndale Hospital recognised for outstanding patient care in national award



STAFF at Werndale Hospital near Carmarthen have been recognised for the quality of their patient care. 

The prestigious ‘Private Hospital Group of the Year’ award is presented to an organisation that has shown excellence in its delivery of care, commitment to the community and innovation within healthcare.

Werndale Hospital was also recognised for their initiatives to support staff in their career progression and wellbeing.   

The latest statistics show, 98% of patients at Werndale Hospital were satisfied with their overall level of care, 98% of patients would recommend their care to family and friends, and 98% of patients rated the nursing staff as excellent or very good. 

In addition, independent analysis of Circle hospitals’ hip and knee procedure outcomes of health improvement shows that Circle scored 8.4 versus an independent sector average of 7.8 in the hip category, and a score of 15.4 versus an independent sector average of 13.9 in the knee category.   

The award presented to Circle Health Group, owners of Werndale Hospital, in London in June, also noted the extraordinary contribution the teams at the hospital had made to the community. 

In 2021 alone, Werndale Hospital partnered with Air Ambulance Wales and raised £1,205 to support the charity’s work in the community.  

In addition to the charitable work, Werndale Hospital was recognised for it’s commitment to support staff through a series of wellbeing initiatives and career development opportunities. The judges were particularly impressed with the launch of the ‘Be Heard’ survey at the hospital.   

The survey looks to empower staff to feedback on everything from the working environment at the hospital through to their own career ambitions. Building directly on the feedback from this survey, the ‘Grow Your Own’ campaign was launched which supported staff to work towards specific qualifications from nursing degrees with partnered universities through to bespoke management programmes and MBA qualifications.   

As a direct result of this support for staff at what is a challenging time for healthcare workers, Werndale Hospital and Circle Heath Group were recognised as being a Top 20 Best Large Company to work for.   

At the heart of Werndale Hospital’s approach to treating patients is a commitment to the community they serve.  

 Paolo Pieri, CEO of Circle Health Group, said:  “The award is a testament to what an amazing year 2021 was for Werndale Hospital with considerable investment into the facilities and services on offer to patients in west Wales. I couldn’t be prouder of what our staff and doctors have achieved.”  

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Aberglasney Gardens delighted to win 2022 Trip advisor Travellers’ Choice Award



ABERGLASNEY Gardens is thrilled to have been recognised by Tripadvisor as a 2022 Travellers’ Choice Award winner for being in the top 10% of attractions worldwide.

The Award recognises businesses that consistently deliver great service with the Gardens being rated ‘Excellent’ by 342 visitors.

The award celebrates businesses that have received great traveller reviews from around the globe on Tripadvisor over the last 12 months. As challenging as the past year has been, Aberglasney stood out by consistently delivering positive experiences to visitors.

Aberglasney’s Director of Operations Jim Stribling said: “We are delighted to have once again won an award from Tripadvisor. It is fantastic recognition for the team’s hard work and dedication. To rank among the top ten percent of those listed on Trip Advisor as one of the best places to visit is outstanding.

“We are grateful to all those who take the time to leave us a review after visiting. It is no cliché when I say all the team, be it in the gift shop, the gardeners, the tearooms and the administrative team, all take the reviews on board to help make a visit to Aberglasney the best possible experience for everyone.”

Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, helps hundreds of millions of people each month become better travellers, from planning, to booking, to taking a trip. Travelers across the globe use the Tripadvisor site and app to discover where to stay, what to do and where to eat based on guidance from those who have been there before.

With more than 988 million reviews and opinions of nearly eight million businesses, travellers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodation, book experiences, reserve tables at restaurants and discover great places nearby.

As a travel guidance company available in 43 markets and 22 languages, Tripadvisor makes planning easy no matter the trip type.

“Congratulations to the 2022 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Winners,” said Kanika Soni, Chief Commercial Officer at Tripadvisor. “The Travellers’ Choice Awards recognise the best in tourism and hospitality, according to those who matter most: your guests.

“Ranking among the Travellers’ Choice winners is always tough – but never more so than this year as we emerge from the pandemic. Whether it’s using new technology, implementing safety measures, or hiring outstanding staff, I’m impressed by the steps you’ve taken to meet travellers’ new demands. You’ve adapted brilliantly in the face of adversity.”

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