Cllr Rhys Taylor calls to support Upper Bangor business community

2139025_bf726c82Councillors are calling for Upper Bangor to become a Business Improvement District following the implementation of the scheme on the High Street. 

A business improvement district (BID) is a defined area within which businesses pay an additional tax (or levy) in order to fund projects within the district’s boundaries. The BID is often funded primarily through the levy but can also draw on other public and private funding streams.

Bangor is one of nine areas (shared with Caernarfon) that will receive funding from the Welsh Government to make improvements within the designated area.

Business Improvement Districts (BID) have been formed across the UK with up to £1m a year raised in bigger towns and cities to drive economic development – with businesses in control of how the cash is spent.

Businesses vote on a BID Proposal or business plan, and BIDs must seek re-approval after a fixed term, of up to 5 years. The BID levy is typically set at approximately 1-2% of the ratable value. BIDs are business let and see businesses working in partnership to improve the business community in a geographical area.

“Unfortunately Bangor’s BID doesn’t extend as far as our business area in Upper Bangor, and I want to change that, drawing on experience from the High Street to support our area,” said Cllr Rhys Taylor.

“This would make Upper Bangor a welcoming place for visitors and residents, and would keep Upper Bangor as a thriving business community.”

Some of the things that have happened elsewhere are;

  1. Car parking & Transportation
  2. Safety & Security
  3. Marketing/PR & Events
  4. Cleansing
  5. Supporting & Attracting Business

Both Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil have succeeded following becoming Business Improvement Districts.

 

Arfon Lib Dem call for more support for local businesses through Bangor Pride project.

10x7cm300dpi_000Arfon Liberal Democrats were pleased to hear that in a report which scrutinised the Bangor Pride project, the project was praised for its successes.

The project which was set up by Gwynedd and Bangor Councils, the Police, Keep Wales Tidy, and the Environment Agency with the aim of improving the city for residents and visitors alike, received praise for its work in addressing environmental issues and in sharing best practice across the country.

Promoting civic pride amongst those living, studying or working in Bangor was described as “very commendable and challenging.”

However Arfon Liberal Democrats are calling for Bangor Pride to do more for local businesses in the area.

Cllr Rhys Taylor said, “It’s great to see that the Bangor Pride project is meeting its goals of creating a sense of civic pride and addressing environmental problems, but more needs to be done. Times are tough for businesses across Wales and the UK, and Gwynedd Council’s Business Rates have come under fire in recent months. The Bangor Pride project now needs to do more to give the local economy and our local businesses a boost, to ensure that Bangor is able to compete with shopping destinations across the region, attract new business developments, and draw people into the area to live, work, and study.”

The scrutiny report said that “there was no clear evidence of activity by the Business Group except for the successful scheme to celebrate the visit of the Olympic Torch during May 2012.”

“Increases aren’t fare!”

Bangor Mail 22.1.14
“A BANGOR councillor is concerned after receiving complaints regarding bus ticket fayres.
Cllr Rhys Taylor, who represents the Menai ward for city, said he had contacted both Gwynedd and Anglesey councils about the recent changes made to Padarn Buses ticket pricing and arrangements.
“Weekly tickets have been withdrawn (£18 per week) and have been replaced with four weekly tickets for Anglesey and Gwynedd (£85), the cost of which increased overnight from £60.
“I understand that changes have been made following a reduction in local authority (and Welsh Government) cuts to the service, however customers are frustrated that such increases and changes have been made at such short notice, especially during a difficult financial month for all, including many families and individuals.
“I appreciate that nothing can now be done, however I do believe that as a company receiving public funding, the local authority should take steps to ensure fairness for customers, many of which rely on public transport for a range of commitments, including employment.
“The poorest in our communities will suffer as a result of Padarn passing on service cuts to passengers, which is unfair during a difficult economic climate for many people, especially as parts of Gwynedd and Anglesey are among the poorest in Wales, with the average salary in North Wales below that of South Wales.” “

You can read the full article – Bangor Mail 22.1.2014

Welsh Government for Wales?

Apparently not.

North Wales has lost out yet again after a £36 million rail scheme for North East Wales was delayed indefinitely. It begs the question do we have a Welsh Government for the whole of Wales?

North Wales has yet again lost out on vital investment that would go some way to boosting the regional economy.

“Seven miles (11km) of single rail track is due to be doubled between Wrexham and Saltney Junction, part of a £36m Welsh government-funded project to improve the journey time between north and south Wales.

It would allow trains to travel up to 90mph (114km/h) in sections.

The work was due to be finished by early 2015 but Transport Minister Edwina Hart is now reviewing the plans following delays, and local councillors have said they feared the scheme was in “limbo”.”

North Wales Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Aled Roberts said

“When you look at infrastructure announcements over the years, it is more than clear that north Wales does not receive its fair share of expenditure for capital projects.

“Despite making up over a fifth of Wales’ population, our region is far too often overlooked.

“The first minister has acknowledged that the re-doubling of the Wrexham to Saltney Junction railway line will aid economic development across the region. Yet time and time we have seen delays.”

It’s a wonder that some people in Wales continue to question the purpose of devolution, and question whether Wales is better off running its own affairs. The clear red water has left Wales behind on health, education, the economy, and over-reliance on the public sector. The Welsh Government needs to act as a Government for the whole of Wales, and needs to build strong foundations for a strong economy in Wales.

Enterprise zones are slow to come to fruition, whilst the Liberal Democrats’ flagship Regional Growth Fund, a £1.4bn investment, is investing in areas across the country to boost job creation and to save jobs. Where’s the commitment from the Welsh Government to all areas of Wales?!

http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/claims-cash-north-wales-rail-5373358

2013 Budget Commentary

I saw someone on Facebook discuss how the public sector will lose automatic pay rises, and whilst it may result in a blow average increase in wages for some (probably very few), with news in recent months about wild increases in pay rises across the public sector, I do see some sense.

This freeze, is fundamentally to stop, in many cases, unfair pay rises for those at the top of the public sector. You see many chief executives of various boards across the country being given enormous pay rises when workers are facing cuts in their terms and conditions and having their pay frozen.

It’s all about creating a fairer society whereby pay for those across the public sector is managed appropriately. It also hints at departmental administrative savings rather than front line budget cuts.

In addition one of the only ways we are going to be able to build the economy and make it a stronger economy is through investing in the private sector, particularly here in Wales when the majority of people work for the public sector in some way or another.

An estimated 25.7% of people in employment in Wales worked in the public sector in September 2012. This is the second highest proportion in any region of the UK. Total public sector employment in Wales rose by around 4% between March 2008 and December 2009 to just over 350,000.

 

 

This action by the UK Government sparked – by the same person and I’m sure by many others – a note about how they are disillusioned with the Liberal Democrats and how we have turned our back on the electorate. Here’s some interesting facts and figures.

Regardless of the tuition fee pledge, this government without the Lib Dems would be making cuts far beyond what they currently are, and we are delivering for Britain.

  • £3.5bn cuts in health expenditure down from £10b
  • Torn up Tory plans to cut housing benefit for under 25s
  • Single tier, triple lock pension system meaning adequate rises in pensions year on year; by April 2013 state pension was £650 more than under Labour
  • more apprenticeships than there ever have been in Britain; 540,600 in 2012/11 up from 279,700 in 2009/10
  • investing in pupils from the most deprived backgrounds through the Pupil Premium in Wales; £32m for schools across Wales, £20m being new money
  • Regional Growth Fund which is diverting money right across the country to invest in infrastructure and other developments to boost the economy, our commitment to rural areas in supporting SMEs and rural broadband; RGF led to the creation and/or safeguarding of over 550,000 jobs, many in the manufacturing sector, and £14.5bn of private investment.
  • Top 10% will pay more income tax than they did under the last 13 years of Labour government
  • Raised the tax threshold to £10,000 and are looking to raise it again to ensure a living wage for all and to ensure that people have an adequate standard of living; we’ve made taxes fairer by giving families a £700 tax cut.
  • We’re supporting parents in revolutionising shared parental leave.

Of course there are things that we as a party and as members are extremely unhappy about – take health reform and the bedroom tax and tuition fees, as just some examples. However this is commonplace across the majority of Europe where junior coalition partners are forced to compromise in many situations.

A BBC report found that a significant proportion of the Lib Dem manifesto was being implemented in government in comparison to the Tory manifesto. So not only have we achieved a lot of what we set out to achieve, but we’ve stopped the Tories making some significantly deeper cuts.

 

 

As for Plaid (throwing money at things was a Labour thing) and doing the same for internships in Wales ins’t the way to do things, it doesn’t work. Whilst financial investment in apprenticeships is warmly welcomed, we need to invest in apprenticeships in several ways to ensure we build a stronger economy for the future.

 

Stronger economy, fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

 

Arfon Liberal Democrats welcome North Wales prison announcement

Arfon Liberal Democrats were pleased to her plans for a £250m prison in North Wales which will create over 1,000 jobs.

The prison is expected to be built on a site on a Wrexham industrial estate by 2017, and in addition to boosting the economy and creating jobs, it  will make family visits easier, which goes some way to supporting the rehabilitation of prisoners.

The announcement is worth £100m in the current spending round and could be worth £23m a year to the north Wales economy, a welcome announcement for North Wales.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick said a prison in north Wales would help rehabilitate offenders “by making them more accessible to their families, the probation service and the youth justice service”.

Aled Roberts AM commented:

“When I met with the UK Government ministers some weeks ago, it was clear that the UK Government would consider their prison building programme as part of the spending review.

“Going back to when I was leader of Wrexham Council, I have argued that there is a strong case for a new prison to be located in North Wales. Such a facility will certainly bring considerable economic benefits to our region and could lead to the creation of over a thousand jobs. This investment will provide a significant economic boost in our region.

“When I spoke to the Ministry of Justice and Danny Alexander, it was clear that they were impressed by the business case put forward in favour of North Wales. I, alongside my Welsh Liberal Democrat colleagues, have been working tirelessly with Liberal Democrat Ministers in London to ensure a prison in North Wales would become a reality. Many across north Wales, including the six local authorities, have worked together on this bid and it shows what can be done when we work as a team.”

 

Cap or no cap?

Labour voted against capping benefits in April for three financial years up to 2015-16, now they want to cap social security spending if they enter Government in 2015.

An article in The Independent notes that the Labour Party have said that they would not borrow in order to finance reinstating the link between benefits and inflation. Rather they would reintroduce a top rate of tax of 50p, five pence more than the Coalition, 10p more than all but the last months of 13 years of Labour Government.

They’re welcome to re-evaluate their position as a ‘working-people’s party’ giving tax cuts for millionaires, but the Labour Party should be careful not to say too much.

They have completely opposed a cap, but now say that they want a cap, but it’s not really a cap, and can’t tell anyone anything that makes it a credible policy. Milliband admitted that the last Labour Government was to blame for out of control spending on welfare and Britain’s low wage economy, but he refused to admit the UK’s budget deficit was caused by Labour overspending.

Milliband said that some of the £24bn-a-year bill for housing benefit would be used for housebuilding to allow councils to negotiate lower rents for tenants of private landlords. Labour believes the savings could allow local authorities to build 200,000 homes over four years.

Cutting  housing benefit to ensure lower rents for tenants is, in my view, a risky way of supporting people on housing benefit. There can be no guarantee that rents will be lowered at the same rate that benefits are capped, which is likely to lead to a reduction in household budgets having to pay for the shortfall, or tightened budgets for Councils who have to make up the shortfall in housing benefit for tenants whose rent will not be lowered at the same level as the benefit cap.

Ed Balls also hinted towards regional housing benefits. Ed Balls MP said that Labour wants a system that takes account of housing costs in different parts of the country – with an independent body, like the Low Pay Commission, advising on whether the cap should be higher in high-cost housing areas like London, but potentially lower in other parts of the country“.

The Welsh Labour Government has remained, typically silent.

Jenny Willott, MP for Cardiff Central commented saying;

“The Welsh Labour Government is happy to protest against every single decision taken by the Coalition Government, yet Welsh Ministers remain silent when they disagree with their own party. Labour’s plan for regional benefits would victimise people looking for work in Wales merely because of where they live.

“Week in, and week out, Huw Lewis stands up in the Assembly pontificating and scaremongering about welfare changes. Yet, was Huw Lewis brave enough to raise this issue with Ed Balls when he visited Cardiff less than two weeks ago? I imagine he didn’t even bother. As the fiasco of council tax benefit recently showed, Welsh Labour Ministers are more interested in sitting back and having a spat with the UK Government than they are in actually trying to support the people of Wales.

“Liberal Democrats are fighting for a stronger economy in a fairer society. After the mess Labour left the country in, we have had to make tough decisions to balance the books. While welfare reform is necessary, it mustn’t be done in a heavy handed way that would punish people just because they live in Wales.

“Welsh Liberal Democrats fought and won our campaign to halt George Osborne’s plans for regional pay, will Welsh Labour now do likewise on regional benefits?”

 

Stronger Economy, Fairer Society

Liberal Democrats in government are putting money back into the pockets of people across the country through raising the personal allowance to £9,440. This means that over 2 million will be taken out of the Tax System all together since 2010, and 25 million will receive a tax cut of £600 in April.

By 2014, the personal allowance will have increased by over 54% from its level in 2010, helping everyone to get on in life.

Here in Gwynedd 5,160 will pay no tax at all on their earnings and a further 36,000 will receive a tax cut of £600.

This tax cut will mean that people across Gwynedd, Wales, the UK can use this extra money to pay for travel costs, rent, council tax, bills – when the cost of living is increasing and things are getting tighter a little extra here and there can go a long way to help people to get on in life.

Liberal Democrats are creating a stronger economy, in a fairer society.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAtA2hO4ifc