Column in the Barry & District News by Alun Cairns MP:
Firstly, I would like to congratulate all pupils who have received their GCSE and A level results, which have been excellent in schools across the Vale. I would also like to congratulate all members of staff for their hard work. I fully appreciate the difficulties that teachers face due to the poor and unfair funding settlement they receive from the Welsh Government. In response to this, I have been in contact with schools across the Vale of Glamorgan as we continue to challenge the Welsh Government to fund Vale schools fairly. In the meantime, I pay tribute to our excellent teachers who continue to do a fantastic job.
While the battle for fair funding continues, I am delighted that the UK Government has announced additional money for education which will see Wales receive an extra £1.24bn for schools. It’s now down to the Welsh Government to commit to sending this directly to the front line.
As we approach the end of the season, I want to reflect on the fantastic summer that we’ve enjoyed on Barry Island. This was demonstrated over the bank holiday weekend, with huge numbers travelling from far and wide to make the most of the beautiful weather.
I’m really pleased that we’ve made the most of what we have to offer locally. I’m looking particularly at events like the second annual Barry Island 10k which had a very successful return and was a personal highlight. That day the Island was packed and I was delighted to speak to cafes, restaurants and shops who all benefitted from it.
The cast of Gavin and Stacey also pulled massive crowds to the Island as they filmed the Christmas Special and we even had a surprise visit from Boris Johnson, who joined me for an ice cream at Marco’s.
Collectively, this plays into marketing Barry to an ever-growing audience, attracting more people to visit, spend their money and boost our local economy. In turn, this strengthens our hand in making the case for further investment and regeneration, which is one of my key priorities.
There have also been popular community events held across Barry, with great numbers attracted to the Rotary Club of Barry’s Duck Race at the Knap and the Barry Scout Fete at Romilly Park. I’m always so impressed with how well supported these various events are and I pay tribute to all who have committed their time to organise and run them for the benefit of our community.
With so much activity, there has been a significant boost to local business and a real feel good factor. However, while I am enthusiastic and positive about the future, I remain concerned about the threat of parking charges and the impact they would have on the Island and the wider Vale.
Readers will be aware that I’ve been the strongest opponent of parking charges. The proposed charges would be devastating to our local economy, damaging the excellent local business offer that we have in Barry and across the whole of the Vale. It’s absolutely vital that Councillors come together in the best interest of the Vale to scrap them and I call on them to do so at the earliest opportunity.