Welsh MP is expelled after being arrested on suspicion of assault

Welsh nationalist MP Jonathan Edwards is expelled from the party after being arrested on suspicion of assault

An MP has been arrested by police on suspicion of assault – and has been expelled from his party until the investigation is complete.

Welsh nationalist MP Jonathan Edwards, who has represented Carmarthen East and Dinefwr since 2010, was arrested on Wednesday.

Police said a 44-year-old man from Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, had been arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of assault. He has been released on bail and the investigation is ongoing.

Officers from the Dyfed-Powys force are not releasing any further information about the allegation.

Plaid Cymru confirmed it had withdrawn the whip from Mr Edwards.

This means an MP is effectively expelled from the parliamentary party temporarily and must sit as an independent until the whip is restored.

A Plaid Cymru statement said: ‘The party whip has been withdrawn pending the conclusion of a police investigation.

‘Mr Edwards has accepted this course of action and is complying fully with the police enquiries.

‘It would be inappropriate for the party to comment further at this time.’

Father-of-two Edwards lives with his wife Emma in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire.

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Welsh government pays 64,000 care workers £500 bonus for COVID-19 work

Welsh government pays 64,000 care workers £500 bonus as thank-you for working during Covid crisis… so what about staff in the rest of Britain?

  • Payments to be made to workers who provide the ‘scaffolding’ of services
  • First Minister Mark Drakeford said bonus recognised the ‘value’ of the workers
  • Move follows 3.3% pay rise for Scottish care workers announced last month
  • Department of Health and Social Care has not announced similar move for English care workers 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Care workers in Wales will each receive a £500 bonus to reflect their ‘value’ during the coronavirus pandemic, the First Minister has announced.

Mark Drakeford said the payments would be made to around 64,000 care home workers and domiciliary care workers who provide the ‘scaffolding’ of services across the country.

He told the Welsh Government’s daily Covid-19 briefing on Friday: ‘This payment is designed to provide some further recognition of the value we attach to everything they are doing.’

The move follows the announcement from the Scottish government last month that all care workers in Scottish care workers are to be given a 3.3 per cent pay rise in recognition of their role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Department of Health and Social Care, nor its counterpart in Northern Ireland, has not announced a similar bonus or pay rise for English or Northern Irish care workers.

This is despite calls last month from union leaders and a leading care home provider for staff to be given a pay rise.  

Care workers in Wales will each receive a £500 bonus to reflect their ‘value’ during the coronavirus pandemic, the First Minister has announced. Pictured: Staff at Morel Court care home in Penarth, South Wales, join in the weekly ‘clap for carers’ on Thursday 

Mr Drakeford added of Welsh care workers: ‘This group of people, usually women, often not well paid, are providing the invisible scaffolding of services which support both our NHS and our wider society.

‘Without this small army of people, large numbers of others would not be able to continue to live independently at home, or receive everyday support with basic needs by living in a residential care home.’

Mr Drakeford noted some of the social care workforce were among the lowest paid in Wales, and that the picture contrasted with the Welsh NHS where there are pay bands and salaries paid are of the living wage or above.

Mark Drakeford said the payments would be made to around 64,000 care home workers and domiciliary care workers who provide the ‘scaffolding’ of services across the country

He also called on the UK Government to waive tax and national insurance deductions from the one-off payment, on the basis the country was experiencing ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Local authorities are expected to administer the payments but no date was given as to when they will be made.

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Northern Irish department of health have been approached for comment. 

Last month, St John Care Trust, which operates 70 care homes in the UK, wrote to care minister Helen Whateley to ask the Government to fund a new £11.50 hourly minimum wage for social care workers during the COVID-19 panedmic.

The move follows the announcement from the Scottish government last month that all care workers in Scottish care workers are to be given a 3.3 per cent pay rise in recognition of their role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured: Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The median pay rate for a care worker in the independent sector is £8.10 per hour, according to Skills for Care.  

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ‘now is not the moment to enter a pay negotiation’ when he was asked by BBC journalist Andrew Marr if nurses should be given a pay rise amid the coronavirus crisis. 

He said: ‘Well, look, everybody wants to support our nurses right now and I’m sure that there will be a time to debate things like that.

‘At the moment the thing that we’re working on is how to get through this.

‘And so you know I’m very sympathetic to that argument, but now is not the moment to enter into a pay negotiation. 

‘Now is the moment for everybody to be doing their very best.’

On Wednesday, a leading statistician said more people may be dying of coronavirus in care homes than in hospitals already.   

The Department of Health and Social Care, nor its counterpart in Northern Ireland, has not announced a similar bonus or pay rise for English or Northern Irish care workers

The University of Cambridge’s Sir David Spiegelhalter made the shocking claim yesterday after the Office for National Statistics released its weekly data showing thousands of people are dying out of hospital and not being counted until weeks later.

The professor, a highly regarded statistics expert and an OBE recipient, said he believes the numbers of care home deaths are still climbing as Government statistics show hospital fatalities are trailing off. 

He spoke of a ‘massive, unprecedented spikes’ in the number of people dying in nursing homes.

The number of residents dying of any cause has almost tripled in a month, from around 2,500 per week in March to 7,300 in a single week in April – more than 2,000 of the latter were confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ‘now is not the moment to enter a pay negotiation’ when he was asked by BBC journalist Andrew Marr if nurses should be given a pay rise amid the coronavirus crisis

Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports suggest care homes are now seeing around 400 coronavirus deaths each day, on average – a number on par with hospitals in England. 

On Friday, the UK announced 739 more coronavirus deaths, taking Britain’s official fatality toll to 27,510. 

PEOPLE IN POOREST PARTS OF ENGLAND AND WALES ARE DYING FROM COVID-19 AT DOUBLE THE RATE 

An interactive map which reveals deaths by postcode shows that people living in the poorest parts of England and Wales are dying at more than double the rate of those in affluent areas.

The map, included in the latest Office for National Statistics report, found that between March 1 and April 17, the most deprived regions suffered 55 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 25 fatalities in the wealthiest areas.

London – the epicentre of Britain’s outbreak – had the highest mortality rate, with 85.7 deaths per 100,000 people – more than double the national average of 36.2 fatalities. One in four of all coronavirus victims live in the capital.

The London boroughs of Newham, Brent and Hackney were the three worst-hit regions in all of the country, suffering 144, 142 and 127 deaths per 100,000, respectively. 

Ethnic minority groups – who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 – make up the majority of residents in Newham (71 per cent) and Brent (64 per cent). 

Officials also recorded another 6,000 cases, with 177,000 Britons having now been infected since the crisis began in February – but a lack of testing means potentially millions of cases have been missed. 

Mr Hancock revealed the figures, which include fatalities in all settings, in tonight’s Downing Street press conference. 

Officials do not provide a daily breakdown of how many COVID-19 deaths occurred in different settings, such as hospitals or care homes.

But at least 352 of the fatalities occurred in hospitals because NHS England reveals new deaths recorded by trusts every afternoon. 

Scotland (40), Northern Ireland (18) and Wales (17) all include care home deaths in their daily updates – but their tallies do not necessarily line-up with the official count provided by the Department of Health because of how they are recorded.  

Ministers finally caved in to mounting pressure to include COVID-19 fatalities in care homes in the daily updates this week, amid claims thousands of victims were being missed. 

The revised count added almost 4,000 more deaths onto the historical toll.  

The chief executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green, said the peak of coronavirus-related deaths in care homes could potentially be months away. 

Asked how far behind the peak in hospital deaths the care sector is, he said: ‘We are a long way behind, because despite what the Health Secretary says, about us being always regarded as a priority, well clearly we weren’t.’

‘Clearly we weren’t at the centre of this pandemic. So I just think the Government needs to understand that, if they knew in January we were the high-risk area.

‘And it’s quite clear from the very start of this that people with long-term and underlying health conditions were the most vulnerable, where every single person in a care home falls into that category, why wasn’t the response quicker?’

Estimating a timescale for the care home peak, he said: ‘I think it will probably, hopefully, be weeks, but it could potentially be months.’

On Friday, the UK announced 739 more coronavirus deaths, taking Britain’s official fatality toll to 27,510 

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