Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS, has welcomed the announcement that the Welsh Labour Government is working with Monmouthshire Building Society to accelerate the establishment and roll-out of a community bank across Wales.
Welsh Labour’s manifesto for the Senedd election included a commitment to secure the creation of a Community Bank for Wales, supporting its growth so it can open 30 branches across Wales over the next decade.
Welsh Labour’s Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, has confirmed that Monmouthshire Building Society, working with the Welsh Government and Cambria Cydfuddiannol Ltd (CCL), has announced its intent to develop its approach of delivering a community bank in Wales – Banc Cambria – which will aim to provide everyday full retail banking services in communities across Wales by 2023.
The UK has one of the least diverse Retail Banking systems in Europe, dominated by a small number of very large banks, which operate according to a shareholder-value business model, seeking to maximise profits for their owners.
Since Welsh Ministers initially set out plans to explore the creation of a Community Bank for Wales, traditional High Street Banks have further accelerated their retreat from Wales’ High Streets.
Welcoming the plans, Rebecca Evans MS said:
“I particularly welcome this announcement after the closure of banks across Gower in recent years, in communities including Mumbles, Pontarddulais, and Gorseinon.
“I’m pleased that Monmouthshire Building Society has announced its intention of developing its approach of delivering a community bank in Wales, with the aim of providing everyday full retail banking services in communities across Wales by 2023.
“I hope this will provide a positive impact on our communities and high streets and I hope it improves access to financial help and support in locations that are convenient.”
Monmouthshire Building Society has announced its intent to develop its approach of delivering a community bank in Wales – Banc Cambria.
Banc Cambria aims to provide everyday full retail banking services, offering multichannel, bilingual banking services for individuals and small businesses; accessible through telephone, digital, online and face-to-face.
Banc Cambria cannot replace the increasing number of branches closed by the High Street Banks. However, Banc Cambria aims to establish around 30 new outlets over the next decade – with a focus on communities that have lost provision.
Banc Cambria estimates that the Community Bank for Wales could have a customer launch during 2023.
Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS, has welcomed the announcement of changes at GP surgeries which will help to end the 8am scramble to book an appointment.
Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, announced the measures as part of an agreement to change the current GP contract.
The changes, which are backed by £12m of extra investment from the Welsh Labour Government, will help end the morning scramble to book an appointment. The revised contract will make it clear the practice of releasing appointments daily at 8am is no longer acceptable.
Instead, the new GP access commitment will help ensure people are triaged appropriately and if an appointment is needed, people will receive one which is right for their clinical needs.
Where appropriate, people may be signposted to another service – or healthcare professional – who can help or support them.
The new General Medical Services (GMS) contract deal will also include an uplift to pay for GPs and practice staff and extra funding to increase capacity and staffing to help to respond to winter pressures.
Welcoming the new changes, Rebecca Evans MS said:
“I am very pleased that the Welsh Labour Government has agreed a new contract with GPs which significantly improves the way in which appointments are currently handled.
“These new changes will allow practices to better manage patient needs, and will put an end to the 8am bottleneck where patients have to telephone numerous times in an attempt to secure an appointment.
“I am also glad that the agreed changes also reward all staff working in general practice with a pay rise.”
The £4m of extra funding will be made available to GPs for the next three financial years to ensure the retention of the additional capacity and in support of the commitment made around access to services.
Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS, has welcomed the announcement from the Welsh Labour Government that every household in Wales will be offered a free tree to plant to help tackle climate change.
This bold new policy will give residents in Gower the chance to choose a tree of their own to plant or opt to have a tree planted on their behalf.
Welsh Labour’s Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS, has confirmed that the Welsh Government has partnered with the Woodland Trust to deliver this campaign.
The first trees will be available to collect from March, from one of five regional community hubs that will be established. The Welsh Government aims to set up a further 20 hubs across Wales by October 2022.
Welcoming the announcement, Rebecca Evans MS said:
“Trees really make a difference to our everyday life – they keep our air clean, and they are essential to tackling the nature emergency, improving biodiversity, and tackling climate change.
“We all have a part to play when it comes to successfully tackling climate change, so I’m glad that our Welsh Labour Government is going to offer every household in Wales a free tree to plant.
“I’m also pleased that they have recognised that it will not be possible for some households to plant a tree themselves and are instead offering the option of having a tree planted ‘for me’ – this will ensure that everyone benefits from the campaign.”
The Deputy Minister also revealed that a consultation would launch early in 2022 on plans to create a National Forest for Wales.
Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS, has welcomed a new £7m package of support for unpaid carers, in recognition of the vital support they provide to the people they care for.
The new support package will allocate £5.5 million to local authorities to provide targeted support to unpaid carers, while allocating £1.25m for the Carers Support Fund, which last year successfully helped almost 6500 unpaid carers to cope with the financial impact of Covid 19. £20,000 is being provided to fund online mental wellbeing support sessions, alongside £230,000 for the Family Fund to support over 600 further low-income families with seriously ill or disabled children.
The Welsh Government previously committed £3 million in 2021-22 to allow more carers to take a break from their caring role, bringing the total additional funding support for unpaid carers this year to £10 million.
Welcoming the fund, Rebecca Evans MS said:
“Having been an unpaid carer myself for a number of years when I was younger, I know that the physical and emotional impact that caring can at have. With the additional challenges of caring during these difficult times it’s vital that we continue to improve the help and support that is available to our unpaid carers.”