[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Last week’s County Times invited readers to ‘Take a stroll down Memory Lane’, publishing a 1940s photograph – sent in by Welshpool resident, Tegwyn Evans – of army cadets in Tywyn.
It put me in mind of my father, a Llanbrynmair farm labourer who served in the army during the Second World War. When he returned to Britain after having been a POW, and before getting home to Montgomeryshire, he was treated as a possible spy because it was obvious that English was not his first language. My father told me his story and I shall pass it on to my grandchildren when they are a bit older.
That’s the thing about Living Memory, it stretches further than we might think. One example: I recently read about John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States. He was born in 1790. Two of his grandchildren are alive today.
Memory, local history, culture, identity – it is why people have reacted so strongly to the Conservatives’ plans to dissolve the constituency of Montgomeryshire. Putting to one side arguments about the need to rebalance political representation away from densely populated parts of Britain, Montgomeryshire is one of the historic counties of Wales. That matters.
Yesterday (29 September) marked the 749th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Montgomery, when Henry III acknowledged Llywelyn ap Gruffudd as Prince of Wales. That was around the time Wales last had its own taxes. Now the Welsh Government has introduced a Bill to update the history books. The land transaction tax, if the Bill is passed, will replace stamp duty land tax in Wales from April 2018. Like stamp duty, land transaction tax will be payable on the purchase or lease of a building or land in Wales over a certain price. It will affect house buyers and businesses, including builders, property developers and agents involved in the transaction process (such as solicitors and conveyancers). The Bill is part of the Welsh Government’s five-year plan, which also includes:
- 30 hours free childcare a week for parents of three and four-year-olds
- 100,000 apprenticeships open to people of all ages
- cutting business rates for small firms
- improved access to GP surgeries, plus a fund for new treatments
- money to drive-up school standards and refurbish or build new schools
- building an M4 relief road and a South Wales Metro, and set up a new not-for-profit rail franchise
- fast reliable broadband for every property in Wales
Let us hope that by the time Welsh Labour has delivered these policies our historic constituency will still exist.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]