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How Ceredigion Preseli candidates will tackle cost-of-living crisis

General election candidates for Ceredigion Preseli are, from left: Jackie Jones (Welsh Labour); Mark Williams (Liberal Democrat); Aled Thomas (Conservative); Ben Lake (Plaid Cymru); Tomos Barlow (Green Party); Taghrid Al-Mawed (Workers Party of Britain); Karl Robert Pollard (reform UK)

AHEAD of the July 4 general election, Ceredigion Preseli general election hopefuls have outlined what they will do about the cost-of-living crisis.

As part of constituency changes, bits of north Pembrokeshire – including St Davids and– are joining the new Mid and South Pembrokeshire constituency.

Other parts of the north of the county are now in the new Ceredigion Preseli constituency; which extends up past Aberystwyth and also includes Cilgerran, Crymych, St Dogmaels, Fishguard and Llanrhian.

There’s now a 15-candidate battle for the two seats, eight in Mid and South Pembrokeshire and seven in Ceredigion Preseli.

With a July 4 date set for the general election, candidates for the new Ceredigion Preseli seat are: Ben Lake for Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrat Mark Williams, Welsh Labour’s Jackie Jones, Conservative Aled Thomas, Tomos Barlow for the Green Party, Karl Robert Pollard for Reform UK, and Taghrid Al-Mawed for the Workers Party of Britain.

In the run-up to the election, all candidates were asked: “What will you do to improve the economic situation/ help tackle to cost-of-living crisis in your constituency?”

Plaid Cymru hopeful Ben Lake, previously MP for Ceredigion, said: “The cost-of-living crisis has affected every one of us. During the winter of 2022/23, the UK Government implemented a support scheme to help households pay for their energy bills but off-grid homes were initially excluded from this package.

“Ceredigion was the constituency that was most reliant on heating oil or LPG as a source of energy on mainland Britain, and as the MP, I championed my constituents’ needs and secured monthly payments of £200 for off-grid homes to help with the rising costs. I would continue to push for greater support from the Government for families and for those with the greatest needs.

“I am also an advocate for creating opportunities. Ceredigion Preseli has so much potential waiting to be unlocked but investment in core infrastructure (digital and transport) is essential to do so.”

Taghrid Al-Mawed for the Workers Party of Britain said: “I do not feel it is fair that a CEO of one of our supermarket chains earns £9.5 million pounds a year when the people working in the shops who create that wealth get a tiny, tiny fraction of that and the Welsh farmers run at a loss to provide these supermarkets with the produce they sell.

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“We will stop this, we will redistribute the wealth away from the fat cats back to those who created the wealth in the first place. The constituents of Ceredigion Preseli would notice more money in their pockets, more money to go into the local economy to revitalise it, not to be hoarded by a few in offshore accounts.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Mark Williams said: “Conservative mismanagement of the economy has hit the majority of us hard, and Lib Dems are committed to provide long term help with the cost of living  by cutting energy bills through a Home Energy Upgrade Programme.

“We need to tackle rising food prices through a National Food Strategy, and getting mortgage rates under control though careful economic management.

“When public finances permit, we are committed to raise tax free personal allowances – a Liberal policy which has already taken millions of people out of tax already. We will scrap the bedroom tax and increase the Carer’s Allowance.”

Green Preseli Pembrokeshire candidate Tomos Barlow said: “Introducing a Universal Basic Income will give people an opportunity to strive for better as it gives power to people in work to be able to do better for themselves generally, and also making jobs generally more secure for people.

“I also believe that we need to be heavily diversifying industries within this constituency, and we can do that by encouraging green energy and (with reform to the system) encourage green instillation schemes which can increase the amount and diversity of apprenticeships that we are desperately needing. We also want to encourage apprenticeships in agriculture, horticulture, carpentry and so much more.”

Conservative candidate Aled Thomas said: “Rural communities like Ceredigion and North Pembrokeshire can often feel left behind by both Westminster and Cardiff Bay as the dynamic of our communities is nothing like those in urban centres.

“As someone brought up on a remote farm in the countryside, I know the challenges that rural communities face and I’ll use my voice to fight this injustice in the next parliament.

“As inflation eases and the country’s economic growth returns, we now have a clear plan to cut taxes for working people to ensure they have more money in their families’ pockets to spend on what they want and need.”

Jackie Jones, Labour candidate said: “After 14 years of the Tories, people in Britain are facing soaring mortgages, sky-rocketing bills and the highest tax burden in 70 years. If Rishi Sunak is given five more years on 4 July, the average household is set to be £5,883 worse off. We cannot afford that.

“Being inside any incoming Labour government, I will have direct access to those who make decisions to drive investment to our town centres, our rural communities and our businesses: town centre regeneration, good, well-paying jobs, a better childcare offer, help for higher and further education, more teachers, help for farming, creation of GB energy and better transport. These measures will bring down your bills: food, mortgages and much more without higher taxes.”

All candidates were contacted and asked to respond.

The candidates have also been contacted for further responses on subjects to come, the next being agriculture/the countryside.