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Elin discusses Welsh Youth Parliament with Clinton



Receiving her honorary doctorate: Hillary Rodham Clinton

AS PART of her visit to Swansea University, Hillary Rodham Clinton had an opportunity to discuss the National Assembly for Wales’ plans to establish a new Welsh Youth Parliament with the Llywydd, Elin Jones AM.

Hillary Clinton received an honorary doctorate from Swansea University, delivered a lecture, ‘Children’s Rights are Human Rights’ and bestowed her name on the Law School, which will be known as the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law.

The honorary doctorate recognises Hillary Clinton’s commitment to promoting the rights of families and children around the world. Swansea University, which is home to the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People, shares that commitment and has played a part in shaping Welsh public policy on children’s human rights, including the development of policy for a Welsh Youth Parliament.

In October 2016, the Assembly unanimously agreed a motion to establish a new youth parliament for Wales. The Assembly Commission consulted with over five thousand young people between April-June this year and an overwhelming majority voted in favour of the proposals outlined.

Last week, the Commission agreed to progress the plans and are finalising arrangements to empower children and young people between the ages of 11-18 to elect 60 members to represent their views as Youth Welsh Parliament Members.

The Llywydd, Elin Jones AM, said: “Wales is rightly proud of its record in advancing the children’s rights agenda and I’m pleased to be able to share with Hillary Clinton how the National Assembly for Wales is contributing to this. The establishment of the Children’s Commissioner’s office and the impact of the Rights of Children and Young Persons law, which requires the Welsh Government to have due regard to the rights and obligations in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), have positioned us well on the international stage.

“Now, we’re planning for the election of the first Welsh Youth Parliament, having consulted with thousands of young people from communities across Wales about the kind of youth parliament they want to see.

“Young people in Wales are currently not able to vote in National Assembly for Wales elections until they are 18. This age threshold, and whether it should be lowered, is actively being considered by an expert panel commissioned by the National Assembly at this time. Despite this, we absolutely believe that young people are citizens whose voices must be heard at the heart of Welsh political debate.

“Following our consultation with young people, I’m pleased to announce the key features of our new Welsh Youth Parliament.”

The details include:

  • 40 Youth Welsh Parliament Members will represent Wales’ electoral constituencies and 20 will represent specific groups;
  • YWPM will be elected for a two year term and be allowed to stand for election more than once;
  • The Welsh Youth Parliament will be independent from all political parties;
  • The Welsh Youth Parliament will empower young people to bring about change on the issues that matter to them; and
  • It will represent the views of the young people of Wales and ensure young people are influencing the work of the Assembly.

Elin Jones added: “I want the Youth Parliament to reach young people in communities across the nation, in particular those who do not usually get their voices heard. Youth Welsh Parliament Members will go out and listen to other young people, and provide them with an opportunity to express their opinions and empower them to be more active citizens in their nation.”

Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University Professor Richard B Davies said: “We are delighted to present an honorary award to Hillary Rodham Clinton, a figure of enormous international significance and one synonymous with human rights, particularly the rights of children and young people. It is tremendous that she has chosen Swansea University for her first public appearance on this visit to the UK. It shows that we are being noticed for our excellent research and teaching, and the impact that we are making globally.”

Jane Williams, Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People at Swansea University said: “All of us at the Wales Observatory – both at Swansea and Bangor Universities – are thrilled that the Llywydd is able to join us in celebrating Hillary Clinton’s association with our work on children’s human rights.

“The Llywydd’s leadership and her engagement with the young people who worked so hard to campaign for a Welsh Youth Parliament are proof that we really can work together across all ages to build a better Wales – and a better world – for everyone.”

Professor Elwen Evans QC, head of the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, added: “We are delighted to have Mrs Clinton’s support as a champion for the human rights of children and young people. The School of Law has an international reputation for its ground-breaking work in this area, and we look forward to working with Mrs Clinton to promote and protect these rights around the world through policy, practice, advocacy and law reform”.

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Local coronavirus restrictions imposed to control outbreaks in South Wales



Coronavirus laws are being tightened in four more Welsh authorities – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport – following a sharp rise in cases, Health Minister Vaughan Gething today announced.

The new measures will come into force at 6pm on Tuesday 22 September 2020, to protect people’s health and control the spread of the virus in the four local authority areas.

The new restrictions will apply to everyone living in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport:

People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households;
All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm;
Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales.
From 6pm on Tuesday 22 September, the requirement for all licensed premises to close at 11pm will also be extended to Caerphilly borough.

Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

“Following the decision to place additional coronavirus restrictions in place in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf, we have seen a worrying and rapid rise in cases in four other south Wales council areas – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport.

“In many cases, this is linked to people socialising indoors without social distancing. We are seeing evidence of coronavirus spreading. We need to take action to control and, ultimately, reduce its spread and protect people’s health.

“It’s always a difficult decision to introduce restrictions but coronavirus has not gone away – it is still circulating in communities across Wales and, as we are seeing in parts of South Wales, small clusters can quickly cause real issues in local communities.

“We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”

The restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from summer holidays overseas.

The Welsh Government will call an urgent meeting of all local authority, health board and police forces from Bridgend to the English border tomorrow to discuss the wider situation in South Wales and whether further measures are needed across the region to protect people’s health.

The new local restrictions measures will be kept under regular review. They will be enforced by local authorities and by the police.

Keep Wales safe by:

Always keeping your distance
Washing your hands regularly
Working from home wherever you can
Following any local restrictions
Following the rules about meeting people
Staying at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.

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Julie James AM attends the launch in Swansea of new research on benefits of Community Led Housing



JULIE JAMES AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government, attended the launch at Down to Earth in Swansea of new research from the Wales Co-operative Centre, with support from the Nationwide Foundation, which found that residents who live in community led housing (CCLH) experience improved mental wellbeing and happiness, as well as improved skills development.

Over 50 residents from 22 community led housing schemes across Wales and England were interviewed. The top benefits that residents highlighted were:

Residents felt less isolated, being surrounded by a supportive network
• Improved mental wellbeing and happiness
• A better quality of life with the potential for skills development and increased levels of confidence, as well as a better financial situation
• Wider benefits to the community including a reduction in antisocial behaviour and greater community collaboration
• Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, said of the research: “We were really pleased with the research findings and the range of softer benefits that residents have seen. As well as the expected financial benefits, there is a much wider impact on mental wellbeing and skills development which is great to see.”

Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James AM, said: “I have been overwhelmed in hearing the benefits residents gain from living in community-led housing. The difference tenants feel in terms of improved skills, increased confidence and improved mental wellbeing to name but a few – demonstrates why community-led housing can, and should be part of the solution to the housing crisis we face here in Wales. Building more affordable housing and providing people with safe, warm and secure homes is a key priority for this Welsh Government. I’m looking forward to watching community-led housing grow and flourish – and contribute towards our commitment to building 20,000 affordable homes during this Assembly term.”

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Lib Dems slam ‘botched’ scheme




THE WELSH Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Government for their “hapless treatment” of EU citizens after the Home Office released guidance on the new EU Settlement Scheme.

The Home Office has confirmed that for the duration of the trial period, until 30 March, EU citizens applying to stay in the UK must either use an Android phone or travel to one of 13 ‘document scanning’ centres instead.

For Holyhead, the closest ‘document scanning’ centre is Trafford.

According to an analysis by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, EU citizens travelling from Holyhead would face costs of £55 on the train for at least a six and a half hour round trip. The drive would be a 224-mile round trip costing around £56 in fuel.

The only document scanning centre in Wales is in Caerphilly. Travelling from Pembroke to Caerphilly and returning the same day by rail would cost £32.10 (the cheapest available fare at the time of enquiry), the cheapest off-peak fare from Aberystwyth would be £77.10 return. By car at an average of 40mpg, the cost of travel would be at least £27 to and from Pembroke, while from Aberystwyth the cost would be at least £25. Both car journeys represent round trips of over 180 miles.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “Too many people in Wales are deeply anxious about their right to stay. Many of them fill vital roles in the health service, our schools and the tourism sector. They want to register as soon as possible, but Theresa May’s hapless treatment of EU citizens could result in a new Windrush scandal.

“For anyone who doesn’t have an android phone, this botched scheme means they will have to travel. For people in Holyhead, that means facing a 224-mile round trip and paying over £50 for the privilege. This postcode lottery is simply unacceptable.”

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey MP said: “Following significant pressure, the Prime Minister said there will be no financial barrier for any EU nationals who wish to stay. How long did that commitment last?

“It is Conservative Ministers who have made a mess of Brexit. They should either pay the cost for EU citizens or change the application system and ensure EU citizens are made to feel welcome in the UK.

“Ultimately, the best way to avoid all of this mess is by giving the people the option to remain in the EU with a final say on Brexit.”

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