“‘Politically Speaking’ column for the County Times” is locked ‘Politically Speaking’ column for the County Times

I was out campaigning in Brecon last week, ahead of the European elections. There is local interest – Matthew Dorrance, the leader of Powys council’s Labour group, is one of the candidates. I know Matthew would represent Wales at Brussels and Strasbourg as well as he serves Brecon’s St John’s ward as a county councillor.


Whatever your views on Brexit, Thursday’s election is hugely important. As someone who has consistently called for a people’s vote on the final deal, I hope the result will be a big step forward for our campaign, and a major step back for right-wing populists across Europe.


At Westminster, the Brexit deadlock continues to be a roadblock to anything much getting done. Thankfully the Welsh Labour government is keeping Wales moving, not least by investing £1.7 million in five new Powys transport projects. The biggest spend is £1 million for a third bridge crossing in Newtown for walking and cycling.


The Welsh Government has also announced more than £1million to give children in Powys a better start in life. £820,000 has been awarded to flying start provision at Brecon’s Priory Church in Wales School, and £292,300 to the Open Door Family Centre in Welshpool.  Flying Start projects offer 12 and a half hours of high quality childcare a week for 2-3 year olds. The service includes children’s speech, language and communication development support, parenting help and health visitor services. At a time when family centres are closing across England, in Wales we are determined to help young families and break the cycle of poverty.


The Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills committee, of which I’m a member, will soon report back on its inquiry into access to banking. I’m sure many visitors to the Hay Festival this week will be shocked to find not a single town-centre branch! Across Wales more than 200 banks have closed since 2008 and rural communities have been worst affected.


The ‘Access to Banking’ consultation is now closed but you can still have your say on the county’s education services. Estyn want your views on how well Powys education services support schools and youth services. So if you’re a parent, carer, learner or work/are involved in education in Powys, please do get involved. The online survey should only take 10 minutes to complete and is open until 12 June. Follow the link: http://www.estyn.gov.wales/inspection-survey-powys