Rebecca Evans AM for Gower has written to the UK CEO of the RBS Group, of which NatWest is a part, following the announcement that the branch will be closing in June 2018.
Rebecca Evans AM said:
"We all know the pressure that the high street banking industry is under because of advances in technology and changes in customers' banking behaviour. However, it is often the most vulnerable who suffer the most, and the closure of one bank after the other across our communities is just not good enough. I am seeking a much more strategic and innovative approach to community banking to stem the tide of banks leaving our high streets in Wales.
"Mumbles has numerous independent retailers, and small businesses tell me that they need access to a local bank in order to manage their money. Business people in Mumbles are extremely concerned about what Nat West’s departure will mean for them and their ability to operate.
"I am also very concerned about our older residents, for some of whom online banking just isn't a realistic option. Lots of older people prefer to use cash and manage their household budget on a week to week basis. Travelling considerable distances to use the bank is not as easy as it sounds for people who don't have a car, particularly for those who are older or disabled."
Rebecca Evans will be meeting with a representative of NatWest to discuss the issue further.
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has welcomed exciting Welsh Labour Government plans for the refurbishment and redevelopment of Penclawdd Health Centre and Murton Community Clinic in her Gower Constituency.
The centres in Penclawdd and Murton are part of Welsh Government plans to deliver nineteen new integrated health and care centres across Wales by 2021.
Funding of up to £68 million has been identified for the centres across Wales, and makes up part of a significant targeted investment in primary and community care infrastructure by the Welsh Labour Government.
The work to be carried out in Penclawdd and Murton is intended to improve access to a range of health and social care services closer to people’s homes.
Rebecca Evans AM said:
“This is great news for health services in the communities of Penclawdd and Murton.
“People rightly want and expect 21st century facilities, and that is what the Welsh Labour Government is delivering for our community."
Rebecca Evans AM will be holding an advice surgery, on Friday December 8th, 11am - midday at St John's Church Hall Gowerton.
If you think Rebecca can be of assistance, please come along. No appointment necessary.
A new role – Housing and Regeneration
In the recent cabinet re-shuffle, I was appointed to a new position as Minister for Housing and Regeneration.
One of my responsibilities will be for the Welsh Government’s response to the UK Government’s welfare reforms, and I know many of you may have questions or concerns as Swansea will shortly be moving to Universal Credit.
One of the first things I did in my new role was to write to the UK Secretary of State reiterating the Welsh Government’s concerns and emphasising the devastating impact that Universal Credit is already having on vulnerable families where it has been rolled out – including increased debt, anxiety and homelessness – which is in turn putting pressure on devolved public services here in Wales.
Universal Credit is due to roll out for new claimants across Swansea on December 13th. I recently visited the Job Centre in Gorseinon to hear how staff are preparing for this, and to ensure that the team is well linked in to other local services and charities that can support people through tough times.
There are many local organisations which stand ready to help. Between April and September of this year, the Trussel Trust alone handed out more than 43,000 food parcels across Wales, and they and other food banks across our area are concerned that the situation will worsen in the run-up to Christmas when demand usually spikes. People in work and out of work can access food banks. If you need help, there is help out there; and if you can donate, please do.
Christmas shouldn’t be a time of stress and worry, but for many families it is – especially as welfare reform starts to bite. Gorseinon’s Councillor Kelly Roberts came up with a great way to spread some festive cheer by organising a ‘pop-up shop’ to coincide with the food bank and take some of the pressure off families by providing Christmas gifts. This is a great example of the community pulling together, and there are plans afoot for an Easter pop-up shop, and a Back to School pop up shop too. And, as ever, Tonia and I are here to help.
May I take this opportunity to wish all the residents of Gower a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year.
Rebecca Evans AM is hoping to see Gower business scoop up awards in the National Tourism Awards for Wales.
The Awards, hosted by Visit Wales, celebrate the very best of the tourism industry - showcasing Wales' tourism businesses and celebrating the industry's achievements.
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, said: “Gower boasts some of the best businesses in the tourism industry. The quality of our tourism offer is well known and I would love to see local people's hard work celebrated and recognised.
"With categories including Best Self-Catering, Best Activity, Best Place to Eat and the Tourism Business Innovation Award, there are plenty of opportunities for businesses in Gower to shine."
Find out more at: www.businesswales.gov.wales
The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, 8 March 2018 and nominations are being invited in a range of categories:
Saturday 2nd December is Small Business Saturday, and Gower's Rebecca Evans AM and Tonia Antoniazzi MP are encouraging residents to 'shop local.'
Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. The day itself takes place on the first shopping Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP said: "Shopping locally makes good economic sense. Research on spending shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stays in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business.
"Small Businesses also help build communities and are a lifeline of contact and support for many vulnerable residents in Gower."
Rebecca Evans AM said: "This is a challenging time for many small businesses. Market failure to provide finance for small businesses is a real problem, and that is why the Welsh Labour Government set up the Development Bank of Wales. It opened last month, providing focused financial support for micro, small starts-ups, and innovative businesses across Wales.
"This kind of support will help our SMEs to grow and become stronger. I would encourage businesses in Gower to get in touch to find out more."
In the run-up to Small Business Saturday, Rebecca Evans AM and Tonia Antoniazzi MP are promoting small businesses from across Gower on social media. If you would like them to promote your small business, just send them a picture.
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has hailed the success of the Welsh Government’s Train Work Live campaign as Wales exceeded its GP training places target.
Mrs Evans said: “Following the conclusion of all three rounds of recruitment in 2017, the Wales Deanery has now confirmed the appointment of 144 GP training places, surpassing the 136 places available. This compares to 121 places that were filled in 2016 – an increase of 19%.
“It follows the launch of a UK-wide and international campaign to promote Wales as an excellent place for doctors - including GPs - to train, work and live.”
The campaign includes two financial incentives schemes: a targeted scheme offering a £20,000 incentive to GP trainees taking up posts in specified areas with a trend of low fill rates, and a universal scheme offering a one off payment for all GP trainees to cover the cost of one sitting of their final examinations.
Mrs Evans added: “We know what a great place Wales is to work and live. The more we celebrate this, the more we can attract highly skilled people to work here.
“With the impressive response to the campaign, it has now been extended to encourage trainee psychiatrists to come to Wales, which is a particular recruitment challenge across the whole of the UK.”
Long before I had the privilege of serving as Carl’s Deputy in Government, I worked for him as his researcher here in the Assembly, while he was still on the backbenches.
Even back then, Carl put his own unique and colourful stamp on everything he did – and our office was no different. I am quietly confident that our office was the first and only office to boast a fluffy white lampshade, a purple lava lamp, and a statue of Eeyore.
Those years working for Carl were a joy. I will always be grateful to him for his kindness and generosity to both myself and my husband, Paul.
Working for Carl was every bit as fun as you would imagine it would be. But, behind the jokes and laughter was a deep seriousness about making life better for his constituents, and a driving passion for social justice.
I remember how proud and excited I was when Carl was promoted to his first Ministerial role.
After a couple of weeks, I asked him, “So, Carl, what’s it like being in Government?”
“Ah, mate,” he said, “I keep telling everyone to call me Carl, but everyone keeps on calling me Minister! I say ‘Call me Carl’, they say ‘Of course, Minister!’”
And that was Carl – he never got caught up in his own importance. He believed that everyone was equal, and he treated everyone the same.
In the fourteen years I knew Carl, I knew him as the big man with a big heart. And he wore that big heart on his sleeve. We all know the causes he was passionate about, and the things he loved – fairness, equality, social justice, kindness.
We are mourning now, because we are sad we will never see our friend again, but in time, our best tribute to him will be finish the work he started.
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has teamed up with Community Pharmacy Wales to highlight the unnecessary NHS overspend on medicines.
Rebecca Evans said: “Wasted medicine in Wales is estimated to amount to £50 million a year.
“We have a fantastic NHS, but it is no secret that money is tight, with continual cuts being made to our budget by the Westminster Conservative Government. To maximise what funding there is, it is important that patients and practitioners both work to tackle medicine waste."
There are some 700 community pharmacies across Wales, and these can be at the forefront of assisting in tackling the problem, encouraging patients to take to review their own medicines usage with their pharmacist or GP.
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has taken part in the Poppy Ride in the Senedd. She joined colleagues, Veterans, Legion beneficiaries and Legion members and staff in trying to collectively cycle 300miles on a static bike - the distance from the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay to Passchendaele - to mark the Remembrance period.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “I welcomed the opportunity to be part of the of the Poppy Ride 2017 as another way of showing support to people who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces, and to show my backing for the work of the Royal British Legion.”
Everyone who took part in the Poppy Ride in the Senedd rode a static bike for 5 minutes, trying to get the best distance and win the Poppy ‘Yellow Jersey’. This brought out the competitive side in the riders!
Rebecca Evans added: “I certainly rode with the aim of bringing the Poppy ‘Yellow Jersey’ to Gower, but sadly that wasn’t to be this year!"