Thursday, 13 May 2010

A final word

A final word just to say a very big thank you to everyone who has been in touch over the last week with their kind messages.

May I also thank the good people of Aberconwy for the warmth of their welcome and the support they gave to me and to my Plaid team of helpers prior to, during, and following my general election campaign.

Although we were obviously disappointed with the result, we are buoyed by the memory of having had the privilege of meeting and talking to a huge number of very nice people throughout the whole constituency who we would not otherwise have met.

This will be my lasting memory and I shall always be grateful for it.

Many thanks indeed.


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Diolch o galon i bawb

Beth bynnag fydd y canlyniad heno, mae'n tim ymgyrch wedi gweithio'n galed iawn dros Aberconwy a'r Blaid.

Diolch o galon i bawb.

Dros Gymru


Thanks to all for your help and support

Whatever the outcome today, my campaign team has done Aberconwy and Plaid proud.

Thanks to all for your help and support.

For Wales.


Phil Edwards. Gwahaniaeth i Aberconwy. GALLWCH WNEUD GWAHANIAETH

Phil Edwards. Gwahaniaeth i Aberconwy.

Yn yr etholiad hwn mi fydd sicrhau Senedd mwy cytbwys yn San Steffan yn fuddugoliaeth i’r bobl. 

Mi fydd pleidlais gref dros y Blaid yn fuddugoliaeth i Gymru.

Wrth i bobl baratoi i fwrw eu pleidlais o 7 y.b. ymlaen, mi allwch CHI fod yn rhan o’r ymdrechion i sicrhau fod y tim fwyaf erioed o Blaid Cymru yn cael ei hethol i San Steffan i ymladd dros Gymru. Mae’r polau piniwn yn awgrymu bod yna nifer sylweddol o bobl sy’n dal heb benderfynu i bwy y maent am bleidleisio – ac felly yn fwy nac erioed o’r blaen mi fydd pob pleidlais yn cyfri.

Mi allwn ni ethol ASau Plaid sydd yn rhannu eich gwerthoedd chi – fydd yn blaenoriaethu amddiffyn ein hysgolion, ein hysbytai, ein swyddi a’n pensiynwyr.

Mi allwch chi helpu i wireddu hyn trwy:


Ffonio, tecstio ac e-bostio eich ffrindiau i ddweud wrthynt sut mae pleidlais i’r Blaid yn gwneud gwahaniaeth.

Dweud wrth bobl am y Blaid ar y Weplyfr, Twitter a rhwydweithiau cymdeithasol eraill.

Wirfoddoli i helpu eich ymgyrch leol.

Gallwch chi helpu i wneud gwahaniaeth dros ein cymunedau a thros Gymru.

Ieuan Wyn Jones AC

Arweinydd Plaid Cymru

O.N. Mae’r gorsafoedd pleidleisio yn agor rhwng 7yb a 10yh

O.O.N Cofiwch fynd i! I gael diweddariad ar ddiwrnod yr etholiad! Gallwch weld a chyfrannu eich sylwadau drwy luniau, tweets, fideos a blogiau.

Think Different. Think Phil Edwards. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Think Different. Think Phil Edwards.


In this election a more balanced parliament in Westminster would be a victory for the people.

A strong vote for Plaid would be a victory for Wales.
As people go to the polls from 7am, YOU can help send Plaid’s strongest ever team to Westminster to fight for Wales. With the polls showing that many people are still to make up their minds - more than ever before, every single vote will count.

We can elect Plaid MPs who shares your values - who'll prioritise protecting our schools, our hospitals, our jobs and our pensioners.

You can help make this a reality by:

Going to Vote!

Phoning, texting and emailing your friends to tell them how a vote for Plaid makes a difference.

Spreading the word on facebook, twitter and other social networks.

Volunteering to help your local campaign teams.

You can help us make a difference for our communities and for Wales.

Ieuan Wyn Jones AM
Plaid Leader

P.S. Polling stations open from 7am-10pm

P.P.S Remember to visit to view and contribute pics, tweets, videos and blogs of election day across Wales.



A more balanced parliament in Westminster would be a victory for the people.

A strong vote for Plaid would be a victory for Wales.
Today, you have an opportunity to elect a local champion like Phil Edwards in Aberconwy to stand up for our communities and defend Wales from the worst of the London cuts.

Today, you can elect an MP who shares your values - who'll prioritise protecting our schools, our hospitals, our jobs and our pensioners.

With all the polls showing that a balanced parliament is the most likely outcome in the coming election, Plaid has never before been in such a strong position to get the best possible deal for Wales.

Joined by our allies in the SNP we'd create a formidable Celtic block to demand our fair share of funding to protect our hospitals, our schools and our jobs.

Yet another Labour, Tory or Lib-Dem to toe their London party line will not defend Wales from savage cuts - only a local Plaid champion will fight our corner.

A more balanced parliament in Westminster would be a victory for the people.

A strong vote for Plaid would be a victory for Wales.

Plaid will give YOU a voice in Westminster.

Ieuan Wyn Jones AM

Plaid Leader

Wednesday, 5 May 2010





Wrth ichi ddarllen hwn mae’r Torïaid yn closio at Aelodau Seneddol Unoliaethol Gogledd Iwerddon, gan gynnig toriadau sylweddol mewn trethi i fusnesau Gogledd Iwerddon mewn ymgais i ennill mwyafrif yn San Steffan. Mae hynny’n iawn i fusnesau yng Ngogledd Iwerddon – mae Plaid Cymru wedi bod yn brwydro ers amser maith am doriadau treth i fusnesau Cymru – ond beth am Gymru? O dan y Torïaid – dim byd ond rhaglen o doriadau llym ac oes newydd o galedi na welwyd ei thebyg ers dyddiau tywyll llywodraeth Thatcher.



Cyn ichi fwrw’ch pleidlais –


Diolch yn fawr

Who's going to stop the Tories tomorrow and stand up for Wales?





Even as you read this the Tories are cosying up to Unionist MPs, offering massive tax breaks for businesses in Northern Ireland in a desperate attempt to gain a majority in Westminster. That's fine for businesses in Northern Ireland – Plaid has long campaigned for tax cuts for Welsh businesses – but what about Wales? Under the Tories – nothing except a savage programme of cuts and a new age of austerity not since the dark days of Thatcherism.


Before you cast your vote – THINK PLAID. THINK PHIL EDWARDS

Thank you

Plaid Leader: We can win for the people of Aberconwy

Plaid Cymru Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones along with Honorary President Dafydd Wigley and Elfyn Llwyd have yesterday visited the Aberconwy constituency to campaign with local candidate Phil Edwards and his hard working team of supporters.

Mr Jones told local activists in Conwy that only Plaid will fight for the future of Wales’ hospitals schools and businesses – as well as the most vulnerable people in our communities such as pensions.

In the event in Aberconwy, Mr Jones said that now is the time to ensure that the people of Wales know that Plaid is the only party that will go to Westminster focused on getting the best deal for Wales once the hung parliament negotiations begin.

Plaid’s Candidate in Aberconwy Phil Edwards said that the people of the constituency have only a day and a half left to ensure that they are not left with an MP who’ll put the orders of his party bosses in London above the needs of local communities.

Plaid Cymru Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones AM said:

“People across Wales are joining our campaign to make sure that our communities are funded fairly over the coming years of economic hardship. Only Plaid will stand up for our needs in Wales during negotiations in a balanced parliament.

“The cuts we’re facing are enormous – Labour have already announced almost £3 billion worth of cuts and the Tories and Lib Dems want even more. If that is allowed to happen before our economy has recovered sufficiently, jobs and communities will be hit doubly hard. None of the London parties seem to understand this.”

Plaid Cymru candidate in Aberconwy, Phil Edwards said:

“With the momentum behind our campaign here in Aberconwy, we now have a final few days to ensure strong, independent minded representation for this constituency. We need a strong team of Plaid MPs in Westminster – after all, only Plaid will prioritise the needs of our communities when it comes to the negotiations after the election. Plaid is accountable only to the people of Wales – and we will fight for the best possible deal for the people we represent.”

Sian Lloyd forecasts a sunny outlook for Plaid

Following our visit to Clwb yr Efail we ended our campaign of meetings and events with a rally on Conwy Quay on Tuesday morning in the company of BBC and ITV .

Sian Lloyd off the telly forecasted a sunny outlook for Plaid, sending us a special message of good luck especially inscribed on a rather nice cake.

The rally, the message and the cake all went down very well!

Diolch i ti Sian.


Wigley: “Who do YOU want in Westminster to fight Wales’ corner come Friday?”

Only Plaid will protect our interests in hung parliament

“Plaid will go up to Westminster to fight for the future of our jobs, hospitals and schools”, says Plaid Cymru Honorary President Dafydd Wigley.

At a campaign event in Aberconwy yesterday, Mr Wigley said that the cuts planned by the 3 London parties would be disastrous for the Welsh economy and that none of them would give a second thought to the needs of Wales during negotiations in a balanced parliament.

Mr Wigley added that Plaid Cymru is the only party that would focus 100% on the needs of Welsh communities during negotiations – the only party that will fight for our interests. He said that Tory, Labour or Lib Dem MPs returned on Thursday would be told to tow their party line and ignore the needs of their communities.

Plaid Cymru Honorary President Dafydd Wigley said:

"Never before have we faced such a fight to ensure the future of jobs and services in Wales. Labour has already announced around £3 billion worth of cuts to Wales over the next 3 years - the Tories propose to cut harder and deeper, and the Lib Dems are planning savage cuts.

“Be under no illusions - none of the 3 London parties will be giving a second thought to the needs of Wales in the event of a balanced parliament.

“The Conservative, as always, refuse to look after Wales, the Lib-Dems don’t know how to look after Wales and Labour are totally incapable of looking after Wales - they’re finished.

“There is only one team that can now be trusted to defend Wales’ interests around any negotiation table – a strong Plaid team will go up to Westminster to fight for the future of our jobs, our hospitals and schools.

“Come Thursday, we have the opportunity to give our communities real local champions, ready to go up to Westminster to protect our communities and defend our country from disproportionate London cuts – It’s time to put Wales first.”

Labour cannot and will not protect our communities come Friday – Plaid will

Commenting on news that Peter Hain has asked Labour supporters to vote tactically to keep the Conservatives from winning a majority in Thursday's election, Plaid Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said;

“Even the Labour party now admit, that in constituencies like Aberconwy, where Labour are totally out of the race - only Plaid MPs can now protect Wales from the most savage of Tory cuts and defend our schools. This statement by Labour ministers is desperate but true – Labour cannot and will not protect our communities come Friday – Plaid will.”

Cameron lets cat out of the bag - Wales in line for massive cuts to public spending

David Cameron admitted to Jeremy Paxman in his headlining interview screened on the BBC that Northern Ireland and the North East of England were to be first in line for cuts inflicted by an incoming Conservative Government because of the high level of public spending there.

Public spending amounts contributes to about 69% of the economy in the North East of England - which is exactly the same figure as in Wales.

But with Wales also more reliant on the public sector, Cameron's cuts would target Wales disproportionately.

With a glint in their eye the Tories threaten to bring a new age of austerity to the people of Wales unseen here since the dark days of Thatcherism.

Cameron's admission that he would start a massive programme of public sector cutbacks in the poorest areas of the UK before anywhere else is extremely bad news for Wales. We're in exactly the same boat as the north east of England when it comes to the public sector's contribution to the economy so I expect us to be next in line for Tory cuts. Wales is already underfunded from Westminster according to independent experts so it cannot be fair to slash public spending here first where the needs are greatest.

All three of the London parties are united in planning severe cutbacks but the Tories plans go further, quicker and deeper and Wales will be even worse off than it is now if a Conservative Government is elected in Westminster.

The need for a strong block of Plaid MPs to protect frontline public services in Wales has therefore never been greater and if I'm elected to represent the people of Aberconwy in Westminster I will do my utmost to prevent the Tory plans for Wales from beig realised. We're now in desperate need of a balanced Parliament where Plaid MPs will join with our Scottish colleagues in the SNP to create a formidable Celtic block of MPs ready to demand fair funding for our nations in order to protect our school, hospitals and jobs.

Plaid’s pensioner pledge travels length of Wales

Plaid’s pledge to tackle pensioner hardship travelled from South to North Wales, gathering signatures from Plaid Cymru candidates for this election.
We've attacked the London parties for their lack of action on pensioner poverty – condemning all three for betraying the most vulnerable elderly people by refusing to promise a state pension that is sufficient to live on.

The Plaid ‘Living Pension’ policy is central to the Westminster election manifesto. We have argued that it should be the starting point for relieving pensioner hardship.

Meeting people on the streets of Llanrwst, I was delighted to sign the pledge accompanied by my colleagues, Aberconwy AM Gareth Jones and Plaid’s Honorary President Dafydd Wigley.

Thousands of pensioners die every winter, because the current state pension doesn’t enable them to heat their homes and put food on their plates.

What is increasingly obvious now is that Plaid is the only party standing up for our pensioners. In Aberconwy especially, with a very high percentage of pensioners, a living pension is a crucial issue. Having been involved in the care sector for many years, I understand the financial difficulties faced by older people. It is nothing short of a national disgrace that many of our pensioners are having to choose between heating or eating.

I’m very proud of the stance that Plaid has taken to tackle these circumstances – and for any of the three London parties to say that they can’t afford a proper pension disgusts me, while at the same time, they continue to mount illegal wars and fund weapons of mass destruction.

It’s a betrayal of thousands of people who have paid taxes their whole life in order to get a decent state pension. Plaid will always put the most vulnerable first – and it is a question of priorities this election.

Nobody can be sure how domestic fuel prices will rise over the coming years, but the forecast is extremely worrying.

The more Plaid MPs we have following this election, the stronger our voice will be to fight for a state pension that people can actually live on.


Wales First for Menyn's of Llanrwst

Another successful local business I was delighted to visit is Menyn's of Llanrwst, a luxury private hire firm which under Terrance Jones' inspired leadership has just received the Investors in People award - a first for a transport company in Wales.
Gareth Jones and Elfyn Llwyd presented Terrance with the award.

Well done Menyn's of Llanrwst, Wales needs many more businesses like this.

Plaid's pledge to pensioners highlighted in Clwb yr Efail

Was delighted to meet and chat with some of our senior citizens in Conwy's Clwb yr Efail today, a lovely little place part-funded by the Welsh Government.

A shame we couldn't stay longer but pleased that we could highlight Plaid's pledge to pensioners for a Living Pension.

Many thanks to all and especially Frank Greenwood, Chair of the Committee and Diana Hughes for the warm welcome.


Former Top Cops Backing Phil Edwards for Aberconwy

I'm very grateful to two highly-esteemed former colleagues for the following testimonials.


I first met Phil Edwards in Dolgellau in 1971 in my second year of over 30 years’ Police Service, from which I retired (from the post of Assistant Chief Constable) in March 2000.

Over the intervening years I have got to know Phil very well through both professional and social contact, thereby enabling me to offer a well-informed opinion of him.

I regard Phil as a highly-principled person with sound moral values, whose professional and personal integrity have always been above reproach.

As a police officer, he could be relied upon to carry out his duties to the highest professional standards - always displaying sound personal responsibility, proportionality, common sense and empathy with the public in doing so. These qualities continue to be very much in evidence as he pursues his post-policing political career.

The high degree of respect Phil had built up as an operational officer amongst his Federation colleagues and Senior and Chief Officers in the North Wales Police prior to his election to the post of Secretary of the Joint Branch Board of the North Wales Police Federation in 1994, became further enhanced by the way he discharged the challenging responsibilities in that role right through to his retirement.

I have absolute confidence in advancing the view that Phil was by far the most discerning, astute, politically-aware, enlightened, progressive and influential Joint Branch Board Secretary the North Wales Police had during my entire service. Not only was Phil able to sustain the support and confidence of Federation members and the respect and esteem of North Wales Police senior management through a period of substantial and difficult changes, he also became a highly regarded and influential figure in his participation in regional and national Police Federation matters.

Phil is an individual who can not only be proud of what he attained as an operational police officer (in several different roles), but also of the substantial contributions he made and the influence he exerted in shaping developments within the police service in North Wales and beyond.

Particular mention should be made of matters affecting the welfare and wellbeing of colleagues, conditions of service and quality of service to the public.

Phil is an individual for whom quality public service has been a focal aspect of his entire adult life. I believe this to be a key strength in his political career for him and for the public he wishes to represent.

Elfed Wynn Roberts QPM, MPDA, BA(Hons) FCMI

Retired Assistant Chief Constable

North Wales Police

Recently retired Chairman of the North West Wales NHS Trust

I have had the privilege of knowing Phil Edwards, professionally and personally, for the best part of thirty-five years. He is best summed up as being a person of the utmost sincerity and integrity.

We last worked together between 1994 and 1999 when he was the Secretary of the Joint Branch Board of the North Wales Police Federation. This post is unique in any police force and demands a raft of skills and experience in the world of policing, both national and local.

Phil demonstrated an exceptional grasp of the demands placed upon UK police forces by changing political, financial and operational imperatives. His position required him to consider and comment upon legislation, strategies, policies and procedures affecting not only his members but also the wider policing community and public.

It is to his credit that he undertook these responsibilites in the most professional way and as a consequence made a considerable contribution to the welfare of police officers, to the impact of operational policing and to informing the policing debate throughout the region and elsewhere.

John Williams Cooke MA

Retired Assistant Chief Constable

North Wales Police

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Ron Davies, former Secretary of State for Wales, urges Labour voters to support Plaid's Phil Edwards in Aberconwy

Ron Davies, former Secretary of State for Wales, is urging Labour voters to support Plaid's Phil Edwards in Aberconwy to keep the Tories out on 6th May.

Mr Davies who was Secretary of State for Wales from 1997-1998 and Labour MP for Caerphilly from 1983-200, was hailed as one of the architects of devolution.

Now he has written to likely Labour voters in Aberconwy urging them to lend their vote to Phil Edwards, the Plaid Cymru candidate.

Phil Edwards said:

“I am delighted that such a distinguished and significant figure in Welsh poltics, and the Welsh Labour Party in particular, has offered me his support in this way.

“Ron Davies shares my belief that Aberconwy is a close two-horse race between Plaid and the Tories and if we are to prevent the Tories winning here it's vital that voters think carefully how best to use their vote.

“With Labour support slumping, their candidate cannot win and there is nothing to suggest that Clegg-mania has had any impact at all in Aberconwy. The only party with a realistic chance of defeating the Tories in Aberconwy is Plaid and I would be grateful if Labour voters would lend me their vote on this occasion.

“The alternative is the election of a right-wing, divisive Tory MP and an inexperienced Tory Government intent on inflicting a new age of austerity upon Wales, the like of which we haven't seen since the dark days of Thatcherism.”

Ron Davies' letter is reproduced below in full:

Ron Davies
Secretary of State for Wales 1997-1998
Labour MP for Caerphilly 1983-2001

Keep the Tories out on May 6!

Dear Elector

As we approach polling day after one of the closest election contests in modern times, it is more important than ever that we use our vote to the best effect for our families and communities.

There is a great deal at stake in this election. In particular, we should all be deeply concerned at the prospect of a Conservative government with their programme of massive cuts in public spending.

As a Labour MP during the 1980s I remember how difficult things were for many ordinary families. I look at the modern Conservative party and fear that they could be even worse than the government of the 1980s.

You may be aware that the new Aberconwy constituency is one that the Conservative party MUST win if it is to form a government.

This means that we can stop them in their tracks if we use our votes wisely.

All the evidence points to a close fight between the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru’s Phil Edwards. If we look at the only election held in Aberconwy so far, which was the Assembly election in 2007, the figures speak for themselves:

Plaid Cymru 7983
Conservative 6200
Labour 4508
Liberal Democrat 1918
Since then, Council and European election results have also confirmed the trend of tight contests between Plaid and the Conservatives.

Having been a Labour man myself for most of my adult life, I understand how difficult it can be to consider voting for anyone else. However, given that Labour have no chance of winning in Aberconwy, I urge you to lend your vote to Phil Edwards, the Plaid Cymru candidate.

This is the only realistic way to ensure that the Conservative candidate is defeated and help prevent the election of a Conservative Government that would turn our current crisis into something far worse.

Yours sincerely
Ron Davies

Ron Davies
Ysgrifennydd Gwladol Cymru 1997-1998
AS Llafur Caerffili 1983-2001

Cadwch y Torïaid allan ar Fai 6!

Annwyl Etholwr

Wrth inni nesáu at ddiwrnod yr etholiad, wedi un o’r gornestau agosaf ers blynyddoedd, mae’n bwysicach nag erioed ein bod ni’n gwneud y defnydd gorau o’n pleidlais er budd ein teuluoedd a’n cymunedau.

Mae llawer iawn yn y fantol yn yr etholiad yma. Yn benodol, mi ddylai pawb ohonon ni fod yn bryderus iawn am y perygl o lywodraeth Geidwadol gyda’u rhaglen o doriadau anferth mewn gwario cyhoeddus.

Fel Aelod Seneddol Llafur yn ystod yr 1980au, dw i’n cofio pa mor anodd oedd hi ar lawer o deuluoedd cyffredin. Dw i’n edrych ar y blaid Geidwadol fodern a dw i’n ofni y gallen nhw fod hyd yn oed yn waeth na llywodraethau’r 1980au.

Efallai eich bod chi’n sylweddoli fod etholaeth newydd Aberconwy’n un y mae’n RHAID i’r blaid Geidwadol ei hennill os ydi hi am ffurfio llywodraeth.

Mae hyn yn golygu y medrwn ni roi stop arnyn nhw yma os gwnawn ni ddefnyddio’n pleidleisiau’n ddoeth.

Mae’r holl dystiolaeth yn awgrymu brwydr agos rhwng y Ceidwadwyr a Phil Edwards dros Blaid Cymru. Os edrychwn ar yr unig etholiad i gael ei gynnal yn Aberconwy hyd yma, sef etholiad y Cynulliad yn 2007, mae’r ffigurau’n siarad drostyn nhw’u hunain:

Plaid Cymru 7983
Ceidwadwyr 6200
Llafur 4508
Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol 1918

Ers hynny, mae canlyniadau etholiadau cyngor ac etholiad Ewrop hefyd wedi cadarnhau’r tueddiad o frwydrau agos rhwng Plaid Cymru a’r Torïaid.

A minnau wedi bod yn ddyn Llafur am y rhan fwyaf o’m hoes, dw i’n deall pa mor anodd y gall hi fod i ystyried pleidleisio i unrhyw un arall. Fodd bynnag, drwy nad oes gan Lafur unrhyw obaith o ennill yn Aberconwy, dw i’n pwyso arnoch i fenthyg eich pleidlais i Phil Edwards, ymgeisydd Plaid Cymru.

Dyma’r unig ffordd realistig o sicrhau bod ymgeisydd y Ceidwadwyr yn cael ei guro ac o helpu rhwystro ethol Llywodraeth Geidwadol a fyddai’n troi’n hargyfwng presennol yn rhywbeth llawer gwaeth.

Yn gywir
Ron Davies

Talking business with the FSB in Llandudno

Gareth Jones and I had the great pleasure of meeting Susan Morris, Chair of Conwy County FSB to discuss some good news on business rates which the FSB and others have widely welcomed.

The vast majority of businesses in Llandudno’s Mostyn Street are paying less in business rates from April following actions taken by the Welsh Government.

Approximately two-thirds of the two hundred-plus rateable properties in the main shopping street were already due to pay less from April after the Welsh Government raised the thresholds for qualifying for the rate relief scheme and decreased the multiplier from 48.9 pence in the pound to 40.9p.

And another reduction announced by the Welsh Government takes effect in October 2010 and will mean even more businesses paying less for the twelve months after, as a consequence of extra money in last week’s Budget to keep business rates down in England. .

The news was welcomed by local AM for Aberconwy, Gareth Jones who has been pressing the Government in Cardiff for action to do whatever it can to reduce the effects of the revaluation on smaller businesses. He said:

“I’m no great fan of business rates - it’s a regressive tax introduced by the Conservative Government in London in 1990 which unfortunately takes very little account of the success of the business or its ability to pay.

“But applying the recent changes to the thresholds and the multiplier to the draft valuations from the VOA suggests that about 139 or roughly two-thirds of the 205 rateable properties in Mostyn Street will pay less from this week.

“Even better, the Welsh Government's announcement means that from October, just over 170 businesses, some 84%, will be paying even less and thirty of them will pay nothing at all.

“Some critics have cited figures showing an average 15% rise in rateable values in Llandudno’s Mostyn Street as evidence of an increasing burden on all businesses. Clearly that’s not true and I very much welcome the fact that Plaid in Government is doing what it can to help protect smaller businesses from this unfair Conservative tax.”

A five-year revaluation of rateable values took effect from April 1st and most businesses will see those rise after the Westminster Government’s Valuation Office Agency reassessed every business based on its market rent in April 2008.

The changes are supposed to reflect rises in market rents since the last revaluation five years ago and are intended to be neutral overall with the businesses paying more balanced by those paying less.

The revaluation cannot be postponed by the Welsh Government as it’s a legal requirement under the system of national non-domestic rates introduced by the Conservative UK Government in 1990.

About half of small businesses in Wales will pay no business rates for the year from 1 October 2010 and roughly 20% more will see their business rates significantly reduced.

Mr Jones added:

“While most businesses across Wales stand to gain, I am of course aware that a minority of businesses will have to pay a more as a consequence of the revaluation. They can however appeal to the Valuation Office Agency if they can prove the rise is unjustified.”

Phil Edwards, Plaid’s Westminster candidate for Aberconwy added:

“I believe a much fairer system could be devised if the whole issue of taxing businesses was overhauled by the Westminster Government or if the Welsh Government was to get the power to do it itself. Plaid would scrap business rates and replace it with amuch fairer system.”

A hectic but enjoyable month of campaigning

Apologies for the lack of blogging but since Easter I've been out with the campaign team virtually all day every day and a very enjoyable time it's been too.

But what with the hundreds of emails from various groups and people seeking my views also to attend to, coupled with meetings and visits here and there, I'm afraid blogging has had to take a back seat.

The blog will be updated shortly with some of the highlights of the last month of hectic campaigning.

But I should just make mention of two things:

First, the very warm welcome we've had from the people of Aberconwy, wherever we've been, and by now we've been everywhere. It's been a fantastic response and the feedback we're getting is that it really is a close two-horse race between us and the Tories. With the Labour vote slumping dramatically and no sign of Clegg-mania here, our messages are clearly getting through to the voters and all the signs point to an excellent result for Plaid in Aberconwy on 6th May.

Secondly, the response from our own members and volunteers has been amazing and I'd like to thank each and every one of them who has turned up to help. On some days we've had a couple of dozen enthusiastic door-knockers and leafletters out there and with the blessing of blue skies and warm sunshine we've done more door-to-door campaigning in the last four weks than I ever thought possible.

And a special thanks too goes to Plaid's most senior figures and familiar faces who despite the heavy demands on their time have been out and about with us in Aberconwy almost every other day: Aberconwy AM Gareth Jones, Plaid Leader and Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, President Dafydd Iwan, Hon President Dafydd Wigley, Llywydd Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, our Leader in Westminster Elfyn Llwyd MP and Hywel Williams MP.
Diolch o galon i chi i gyd.


Ministerial praise for the Queen’s Head

One of the great pleasures of campaigning is visiting successful local businesses.

Early on in the campaign I had the great pleasure of inviting the Deputy First Minister to meet Rob Cureton, proprietor of the award-winning Queen's Head in Glanwydden to see for ourselves why this fantastic pub won the prestigious award of Pub of the Year Wales at the AA Hospitality Awards.

We visited the Queen’s Head for lunch and a brief respite during a busy day’s campaigning, and Ieuan was highly impressed by the quality of the food and the surroundings. It is very popular with the locals and visitors and it’s important that places like these continue to thrive as a hub in their communities. It was good to see so many people enjoying their excellent lunches. The Queen's Head is a great example of what can be achieved by smaller businesses, of which Plaid is very supportive.

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Leader of Plaid Cymru, said:

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to congratulate Robert Cureton first hand on the achievement, which was clearly well-merited.”

Robert Cureton said at the time of the award:

“Winning the AA Pub of the Year for Wales is a marvellous accolade and a great achievement for which all our staff can be very proud indeed. We will continue to provide first class hospitality, delicious food and fabulous service and to be passionate about what we do.”
PHOTO: Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, Robert Cureton, Phil Edwards with the award plaque outside the Queen’s Head.

The Queens Head is a gastronomique pub acclaimed not just for its food and wine but also for its character and the welcome diners receive. It dates back to 1790 and was originally the wheel maker’s (Wheelwright) Cottage.

The AA say that they selected The Queen’s Head as Pub of the Year for Wales because "the proprietors and their team have over 27 years, built up an excellent reputation with both locals and visitors alike for excellent food, traditional ales, good wines and friendly service at this unique gastronomique pub.

The AA Hospitality Awards recognise and reward the services provided by the UK ’s very best establishments.

Wigley in Llandudno - Plaid’s biggest ever Westminster advertising campaign

Plaid Cymru’s biggest ever advertising campaign has been underway in the run-up to the UK general election and our party’s Honorary President Dafydd Wigley made a special call at Llandudno to see for himself the impact we're making in Aberconwy.

Following a fund raising campaign by party activists, Plaid is using a combination of ‘tried and tested’ and ‘new and innovative’ methods of getting their message across.

One of the inventive means that Plaid is employing to communicate with people in communities across Wales is adverts on fleets of buses across the country. Plaid trialled the bus advertising in the Llanelli constituency in October last year. Following a very positive reaction, the party has rolled out the campaign to several constituencies across the length and breadth of Wales, including Aberconwy.

Plaid Cymru is the first party in Wales ever to use this kind of advertising for a political campaign. As well as the bus campaign which includes internal and external adverts, Plaid has been supplementing its intensive Wales-wide door-to-door campaign with innovative web marketing and use of social networking sites.

Dafydd Wigley said:

'Many voters are turning away from the Westminster-based parties in this election. Plaid's outstanding record of being clean of sleaze at Westminster, and of giving the lead to avoid such problems in the Assembly makes Plaid's candidates - like Phil Edwards here in Aberconwy - a natural choice for voters disgruntled with the London parties.

Plaid stands to win its highest-ever tally of seats in the new House of Commons. Every vote strengthens the party's hands in fighting for a better deal for Wales.

I’m delighted to see the message being broadcast loud and clear here in Llandudno both in the town centre office and on the streets.”

Phil Edwards said:

With the three London parties working with the broadcasters to stitch up the Leaders’ debates and exclude Wales’ voice, Plaid has intensified its campaign to speak directly to the people and communities of Wales. Our message on the doorstep will be simple - the choice between the same old politics of Westminster or an independent minded, locally focussed Plaid MP who will stand up for the needs and interests of the communities they represent.

Plaid has to find new and innovative ways of getting our message across to the communities we represent. This year we are running our most ambitious Westminster advertising campaign to date.

After a very positive response from the public to the initial bus advertising, we have now rolled this across Wales in places such as Bangor, Blackwood, Llandudno, Aberystwyth and Cardiff.

Plaid’s ability to embrace innovation and technology is a well recognised success. In addition to our existing presence on the web on websites, blogs and social networking, we will be using internet advertising on sites such as Google to get our message across to as wide an audience as possible.

All of this will of course supplement our Wales wide intensive door-to-door campaign. Plaid candidates for the coming election will all be out and about, talking to people in our communities and ensuring that we take the people’s priorities and values with us to Westminster when called upon.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

SNP a'r Blaid yn datgelu '4 dros Gymru 4 dros yr Alban’

Yr wythnos yma datgelodd arweinyddion yr SNP a Phlaid Cymru, Alex Salmond ASA a Ieuan Wyn Jones AC, '4 dros Gymru, 4 dros yr Alban’ - cytundeb rhwng yr SNP a Phlaid Cymru i sicrhau gwell bargen i bobl yr Alban a Chymru os digwydd senedd grog.

Gyda Dirprwy Brif Weinidog Cymru Mr Jones a Phrif Weinidog yr Alban Mr Salmond yn y gynhadledd i’r wasg yr oedd arweinyddion grwpiau’r SNP a Phlaid Cymru yn San Steffan, Angus Robertson AS ac Elfyn Llwyd AS.

Dyma fydd elfennau allweddol y rhaglen, sydd â phedair rhan:

1. Cyllido teg i Gymru a’r Alban

2. Amddiffyn gwasanaethau lleol a’r rhai mwyaf bregus

3. Camau i helpu’r economi werdd

4. Cefnogaeth i dwf busnes

Bydd Mr Salmond a Mr Jones yn llofnodi copi mawr o’r cytundeb yn y gynhadledd i’r wasg.

Meddai, Mr Salmond :

"Gyda gwir bosibilrwydd senedd gytbwys yn San Steffan, mae’r sefyllfa yn llawn cyfle i’r Alban a Chymru.

"Mae Llafur a’r Torïaid fel ei gilydd yn bygwth toriadau dwfn a llym fydd yn peryglu’r adfywiad yn yr Alban a Chymru."Mae’r Canghellor Alistair Darling eisoes wedi cyfaddef y bydd y toriadau sydd ar y gweill gan y Llywodraeth Lafur yn "llymach a dyfnach" na rhai Margaret Thatcher.

"Dim ond bloc cryf o ASau’r SNP a Phlaid, trwy ddefnyddio ein pleidleisiau a’n dylanwad i ennill consesiynau hanfodol, all amddiffyn yr Alban a Chymru.

"Fel y saif ar hyn o bryd, gall Llywodraeth y DG gymryd y gyllell i gyllidebau’r Alban a Chymru fel y myn, ac mae’n gwneud hynny. Mae fformiwla Barnett wedi siomi’r Alban a Chymru. Dyna pam fod arnom ni yn yr Alban angen annibyniaeth ariannol a bod ar Gymru angen bargen gyllido decach.
"Mae toriadau arfaethedig pleidiau Llundain yn fygythiad gwirioneddol i ysgolion, ysbytai a gwasanaethau rheng flaen yn yr Alban a Chymru. Rhaid i hyn newid.

"Gan weithio gyda’i gilydd, bydd ASau’r SNP a’r Blaid yn ymladd o blaid cyllido tecach a gwarant o ddarparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus sydd yn hanfodol i’r rhai mwyaf bregus yn ein cymunedau."

Meddai arweinydd y Blaid Mr Jones:

"Yn eu ras am allweddi Rhif 10, mae pleidiau Llundain wedi anghofio beth sydd o wir bwys i bleidleiswyr yn yr Alban a Chymru, ond nid yw’r SNP na Phlaid Cymru wedi anghofio.

“Gyda phosibilrwydd senedd gytbwys yn dod yn fwyfwy tebygol, yr ydym ni’n credu mai etholiad na fyddai’n rhoi mwyafrif clir i’r un blaid fyddai’r canlyniad gorau oll i’n cenhedloedd.

“Byddai cynghrair Geltiadd o ASau Plaid ac SNP mewn sefyllfa i drafod manteision gwirioneddool i bobl Cymru a’r Alban. “Po fwyaf y bleidlais i’r Blaid a’r SNP – gorau fydd y fargen i Gymru a’r Alban. Dyma gyfle cyffrous i wneud gwir wahaniaeth.

“Buasem yn mynnu cylido tecach i Gymru a’r Alban i amddiffyn swyddi, ein hysgolion, ein hysbytai a’r mwyaf bregus mewn cymdeithas.

"Wrth graidd ein safbwynt byddaiangen hefyd gwir ymrwymiad i dyfu ein heconomiau trwy gysylltiadau cludiant cyflym a mwy o genfogaeth i greu miloedd o swyddi o ansawdd uchel yn sectorau’r diwydiannau gwyrdd a’r diwydiannau creadigol."

April Fuels Day - Labour's new tax raid on motorists starts today

Today may as well be known as April Fuels Day as Labour's latest tax raid on motorists takes effect today.

Despite long-standing campaigns from Plaid and leading industry voices calling for fuel duty to be frozen, the Chancellor announced in his Budget that fuel duty would rise from today and againa in October and again next January.

By then, January 2011, there will have been six increases in fuel duty since December 2008 marking a 17% rise overall.

Fuel duty had already risen by 11.6% in the last 18 months and is rising again by a further penny per litre today.

Meanwhile, the AA estimates that the average cost of running a family car has increased by £52 per month in the last year.

The cost of petrol at the pump has increased by 17% since early-February.

These increases are hurting hard-working families, small businesses, public services and especially those in rural areas.

Plaid has already criticised this fuel duty hike in an Early Day Motion lodged at the start of the week we demanded a freeze in fuel duty and we repeat our call for the introduction of a fair fuel duty regulator which would cap fuel prices.

The price of petrol at the pump has risen significantly since early February and is starting to be felt strongly by people from all walks of life. For many people who rely on their car for work or family life, this is a heavy and unexpected burden at a time when they are economically stretched.

Labour will soon have pushed fuel duty up by 17% in barely two years, well above inflation.

We need to be supporting struggling communities and industries or we risk damaging a very fragile economic recovery.

This unfair fuel tax is another example of an uncaring, out of touch Westminster Government.


Tudno FM gets another boost from the Welsh Government

Tudno FM has been awarded a grant of over £15,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government’s Community Radio Fund to meet its ongoing costs in providing a service to the local community.

The news was welcomed by local Aberconwy AM Gareth Jones, Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones AM and Phil Edwards, Plaid's Aberconwy candidate.

“I am delighted that Tudno FM has won through and continues to be supported by the Welsh Government through this fund," said Gareth Jones AM. "The whole team does wonderful work for the local community in Llandudno and I wish them all continued success.”

Tudno FM is one of six local community radio stations to profit from a £100,000 fund in this year’s competitive bidding round.

Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, was himself interviewed live on Tudno FM last year and he added:

“These radio stations play a valuable role reflecting the issues affecting people living in these communities. They also provide opportunities for residents to gain new skills and in some cases employment. I’m very pleased to announce these grants and to congratulate the stations on the important role they play in their communities.”

The six stations were chosen for their commitment to their communities in a number of areas, including; encouraging healthy lifestyles, promoting training and social enterprise for excluded and vulnerable people and strengthening cultural and linguistic identity.

Phil Edwards, Plaid’s Westminster candidate for Aberconwy, took part in Tudno FM's live election hustings debate last week and launched the New Year campaign live on Tudno FM with the Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones. Phil commented:

“The staff and volunteers do a tremendous job in producing a radio station we can all be proud of and their strong commitment to the local community in English and in Welsh is clearly evident whenever I visit.”

Plaid’s Phil Edwards interviewed by the Howard League live on twitter

A first for me today being interviewed by The Howard League for Penal Reform live on twitter today.

I believe that it’s important to use a wide range of media in connecting with the electorate, and very much enjoy using twitter for informing people about my campaign and especially for this interview.

Today I was able to engage with the debate on the future of criminal justice in a very new way and I’m thankful to the Howard League for the opportunity.

The Howard League, a much-respected organisation which focuses on reforming the criminal justice system, questioned me on the current legal system and as a former police officer and General Secretary of the North Wales Police Federation, I was able to draw on my own experiences in a thirty-year career.

Plaid Cymru wants to see a reduction in the number of people in prisons, but more importantly we want to see a reduction in the amount of crimes being committed. We need to sufficiently support young offenders once they are released back to the community in order to ensure that they do not re-offend.

We believe that a small prison should be built in North Wales, which would accommodate the needs of the area. As a former Police officer, I’m lucky to have an insight into the legal system, and I’m well aware of the challenges we face with issues of law and order. Plaid Cymru has the conviction and the policies which would reduce crime across North Wales, and ensure that our communities be kept safe from dangerous individuals.

It’s essential to use any means possible to discuss such important issues as this. Technology has become a major part of political communication, and I welcome any forum which allows us to debate on a range of matters, whether it be regarding health, law and order or education. If you would like any further information regarding my election campaign, please don’t hesitate in contacting me via twitter.


Fighting for a fair deal for Wales

A letter published in the local paper this week:

If there is anyone left in Aberconwy or in any part of Wales who had any niggling doubts as to who would best serve Wales in Westminster after the General Election, those reservations must surely have been dispelled after the Chancellor sat down having delivered his election Budget.

There was nothing positive in it for pensioners, the low-paid or struggling businesses.

Their Budget was not about us the people, it was about them - London Labour pulling any trick in the book to try and get themselves re-elected in a few weeks time - and it won't work.

Wales was already underfunded to the tune of £300 million every year, we now know from the Auditor General for Wales that that figure is going to be closer to £1 billion a year under Labour.

The cuts which the Conservatives have promised and seemingly relish will be even deeper.

Plaid is the only party that is committed to fighting for Wales and protect our public services.

And fight we will.

Phil Edwards

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

More Nats = Less Cuts.....Plaid and SNP unveil ‘4 Wales 4 Scotland’

The leaders of the SNP and Plaid Cymru, Alex Salmond MSP and Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, today unveiled '4 Wales, 4 Scotland' - the SNP and Plaid Cymru's joint agreement to secure a better deal for the people of Scotland and Wales in the event of a hung parliament.

Deputy First Minister of Wales Mr Jones and Scotland’s First Minister Mr Salmond were joined at the press conference by SNP and Plaid Cymru group leaders at Westminster, Angus Robertson MP and Elfyn Llwyd MP.

The key elements of the four part programme will be:

1. Fair funding for Wales and Scotland

2. Protecting local services and the most vulnerable

3. Action to help the green economy

4. Support for business growth

Mr Salmond and Mr Jones signed a large scale copy of the agreement at the press conference.

Plaid Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said:

"In their race for the keys to Number 10, the London Parties have forgotten about what really matters to voters in Scotland and Wales but the SNP and Plaid Cymru have not.

“With the prospect of a balanced parliament becoming more likely by the day, we believe that an election that gives no single party an overall majority would be the best possible outcome for our nations.

“A Celtic alliance of Plaid and SNP MPs would be in a position to negotiate real benefits for the people of Wales and Scotland.

“The greater the vote for Plaid and the SNP – the better the deal for Wales and Scotland. This is an exciting opportunity to make a real difference.

“We would demand fairer funding for Wales and Scotland to protect jobs, our schools, our hospitals and the most vulnerable in society.

"At the heart of our platform there would also need to be a real commitment to grow our economies through fast transport links and additional support to create thousands of high-quality jobs in the green and creative industry sectors.”

SNP Leader Alex Salmond said:

"With the real possibility of a balanced parliament at Westminster, the situation is redolent with real opportunity for Scotland and Wales.

"Both Labour and the Tories are threatening deep, harsh cuts which will endanger the Scottish and Welsh recoveries.

"Chancellor Alistair Darling has already admitted that the cuts planned by the Labour Government will be "harsher and deeper" than those inflicted by Margaret Thatcher.

"Only a strong bloc of SNP and Plaid MPs, using our votes and influence to win vital concessions, can protect Scotland and Wales.

"As it currently stands, the UK Government can and does slash the Scottish and Welsh budgets with impunity. The Barnett formula has let Scotland and Wales down. That's why in Scotland we need fiscal autonomy and Wales requires a fairer funding deal.

"The cuts proposed by the London parties are a real threat to Scottish and Welsh schools, hospitals and front line services. This must change.

"Working together, SNP and Plaid MPs will champion fairer funding and guarantee provision of public services which are vital to most vulnerable in our communities."

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Think Different.Think Plaid.

At the end of the live hustings debate on Tudno FM, Head of News, Siôn Pritchard asked all four candidates why people should vote for them at the forthcoming General Election.

Here's my response:

I've been knocking on doors for over twelve months now and people are telling me that they've never felt so angry, so let down, and so sick of the same old politics from the London parties.

Professors, Political Editors and Pollsters tell us that only Plaid can beat the Conservatives here.

So the people of Aberconwy have a clear choice.

They can either have a Plaid MP, answerable only to our communities, standing up for them and for Wales in Westminster, very possibly in a hung parliament, or a Conservative MP who would be bound by what his London party dictates.

A Tory victory isn’t a foregone conclusion here - it doesn't have to happen here in Aberconwy like it surely will happen elsewhere.

I'm standing for election to work side by side with our AM and colleagues in the Welsh Government, working to protect and improve our hospital not to cut NHS spending, working with our police and council officers - not against them, fighting for fair funding for Wales and for a better future for the people.
I'm standing up for our communities here, for farmers in the Conwy valley, for pensioners in poverty, for the small businesses and motorists and the average worker who have all been taxed till the pips squeak because these London parties have let the banks run riot.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

More and more of your listeners are turning to Plaid because they know Plaid offers something different to the rest. I don't have to toe their London party line. I am here to work hard for our people – for fair play, honesty and justice.
This isn’t a time for politics as usual. You can make this happen.

I urge you to Think Different.Think Plaid.

Why don't they sign the Real Policing Pledge?

I took part in a lively and interesting hustings debate with the other three main candidates yesterday live on local community radio courtesy of Siôn Pritchard and friends at Tudno FM.
The first of the questions focused on our differing plans to improve policing in Aberconwy and I have to say while my fellow candidates can certainly talk a good game, their actions in reality fall far short of their rhetoric.

As an ex-police officer myself with thirty years' service, and as the former General Secretary of the North Wales Police Federation I find this complete disregard for their campaign deeply disturbing.
I have responded to the pledge and I support all five measures:
  • Commit to the office of constable as the bedrock of modern policing 
  • Maintain the number of warranted police constables in England and Wales 
  • Ensure that all constables are adequately trained to do their jobs
  • Commit to maintain an effective ratio of constables to support staff on community policing teams 
  • Honour the Police Negotiating Board
It's not too late so I urge my fellow candidates to sign up to the Real Policing Pledge today.