Andrew RT Davies MS writes:

ARMED Forces Day takes place this Saturday, where we all take time to reflect and appreciate the work of our Armed Forces.

Our Armed Forces community includes serving troops, service families, veterans and cadets, and they all make huge sacrifices to defend our freedoms.

It is only through their work that we can feel safe at home and abroad, and it is vital we show them our gratitude.

Armed Forces Day is a fantastic initiative to show them our support and thank all current and ex-servicemen and women in Barry and the surrounding areas.

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Obviously, commemorations this year will be different to those we have held previously, and large-scale events are not permitted under current restrictions. However, this does not mean we cannot at the very least pause for a moment to reflect, and please join me in doing so on Saturday.

This week marks Children’s Hospice Week, and on Monday I took the opportunity to visit Ty Hafan in Sully.

I was welcomed to the hospice by Chief Executive Maria Timon Samra, for the first external visit they have hosted since the start of the pandemic in spring last year.

I was shown around the fantastic facilities they have at Ty Hafan, providing palliative care for terminally ill children across South Wales. On top of this, they also provide much needed emotional support and respite for families.

Currently, children’s hospices in Wales only received 5 per cent of their funding from the Welsh Government. In England, meanwhile, government funding accounts for 21 per cent of hospices’ costs, and it’s vital parity is achieved.

Ty Hafan and fellow children’s hospice Ty Gobaith are calling for a Lifeline Fund to secure fair and sustainable funding for children’s hospices in Wales, and I support this.

I took the opportunity to raise hospice funding in Wales at First Minister’s Questions on Tuesday.

I asked Mark Drakeford to review the funding formula, to level up funding levels in Wales compared with the rest of the UK.

Unfortunately, he did not commit to doing so. While I accept this is complex, at the very least it’s vital we look again at existing funding levels.

I’ll keep pressing on this to ensure the sector gets the money it needs to carry on its good work.

This week, five years will have passed since the United Kingdom’s historic vote to leave the European Union.

Despite the efforts of many politicians who were unwilling to respect the result, Brexit has now been delivered, and we are in a strong position to make the most of the opportunities it brings.

Barry includes some of the most deprived areas in Europe, yet we were never eligible for the EU’s structural funds, because the wider Vale of Glamorgan didn’t meet the criteria.

Fortunately, we are now eligible for the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund, and Alun Cairns has been championing exciting proposals for a Barry Marina.

My advice to the Vale of Glamorgan Council is get bidding and don’t let these opportunities go to waste.