Agenda item

To receive announcements from:

(i) Mayor (or person presiding)

(ii) Members of the Cabinet

(iii) Chief Executive





We were very saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Clare Drakeford, the wife of Wales's First Minister, Mark Drakeford on the 28 January 2023.


The thoughts of everyone in Bridgend County Borough Council are with the First Minister and the family at this time.


It is also with sadness that I announce after a short illness the unexpected sad passing of Mr Jeff Baker an independent member of Bridgend County Borough Council Standards Committee.


Mr. Baker had been a member of the Committee since 2016 and certainly made a significant contribution to the governance of this Council.


I am sure all members today will extend warmest condolences to Jeff’s wife Janet during very this difficult of times.


It was a pleasure to continue into the New Year with some fantastic examples of the incredible young talent we have here in the County Borough.


I attended His Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Mid Glamorgan Awards for the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for Wales at Pontypridd.


It was a particularly proud moment to see three young people from our Borough being recognised.


Leading Cadet David Morgan and Able Cadet Anna Marie Petter from Porthcawl Sea Cadets Corps.


Cadet Flight Sergeant Scott Jones from No 3 Welsh Wing RAF Air Cadets. Congratulations to all on their achievements.


Together with the Mayor of Porthcawl Town, I accepted an invitation to visit to the Grand Pavilion at Porthcawl where Porthcawl Comprehensive School presented 'Footloose the Musical'


He extended his thanks to all that were involved in the show.


The Mayors Award nomination process has been completed, with the applications all being of a very high standard and worthy of recognition.


We are currently in the process of contacting those who participated in the process to update them on their individual applications.


I wish to introduce you all to this little Red Dragon sitting proudly of front of me, a dragon currently with no name. Can I extend an invitation to you all to nominate a name for this. The cost of which is £1 a go. All proceeds will go towards the Mayor’s Charity. I would like to think the list will be full of all Councillor names and those of Senior Officers within the Authority.


Can I thank Councillor Paula Ford for finding this poor creature? There will be a personal presentation from myself to the individual who picks the correct name.


It is my pleasure to have with us in the Chamber today, two of the Youth Council (YC) representatives, Aspen and Tyler. Each representative then gave a short speech, in turn, on their roles and responsibilities on the YC.


Finally, a timely reminder to those who unfortunately were unable to manage their mobile phones during council business. Your penalty of £10 to the Mayor’s Charity remains unpaid. Interest will be due on any outstanding sums along with a public name and shame list.


Cabinet Member - Regeneration


At the last meeting of full Council, our Chief Executive advised members that an announcement was due on our bid to the UK Government Levelling Up fund.


Since then, we have learned that £18m has been awarded towards a major redevelopment of the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl.


As you know, the Levelling Up Fund is a national scheme and has been set up and administrated by UK Government as a way of enabling local authorities to put in bids for funding new infrastructure within local communities.


The funding will be used to address the condition of the building’s concrete structure and will ensure that its unique heritage can be preserved.


At the same time, it will enable the building to benefit from an extended and improved arts, culture, and heritage service.


Among the modern facilities that will be introduced are new first-floor function spaces, a new rooftop area capable of hosting functions and cafe space, a new studio theatre, space for new businesses, new offices, a ‘changing places’ facility and much more.


This funding is the culmination of many years of planning and partnership working alongside our colleagues at Awen Cultural Trust, and I am sure that members will agree it is excellent news.


Unfortunately, the news was also bittersweet as we were notified that UK Government had turned down our second bid to the Levelling Up fund.


This would have supported our ambitious plans for creating a new Penprysg Road Bridge, and I am sure that our deep disappointment will be shared by the people of Pencoed.


We are currently waiting to hear whether further rounds of the Levelling Up fund will be announced, and I will bring you more news on this as soon as possible.


Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations


I am sure that members will share my concerns over recent research which has confirmed that the cost of living crisis is driving more people in Wales to borrow money from illegal loan sharks.


The research, which was commissioned by Welsh Government and Stop Loan Sharks Wales, found that people aged 18 to 34 were most susceptible, and that half of all respondents who have borrowed money have done so to cover every day normal living expenses.


A further 66 per cent said they did so to purchase food, and 53 per cent to cover energy bills.


Worryingly, 38 per cent also said that they would be likely to borrow further money at some point this year.


This highlights the grim reality faced by Welsh communities in the current financial climate and confirms fears that the cost of living crisis is encouraging predatory illegal lenders to target desperate borrowers.


Thankfully, organisations such as Stop Loan Sharks Wales are working alongside the likes of our own Shared Regulatory Services to protect, educate and support victims of illegal money laundering, and are working together to investigate and prosecute loan sharks across Wales.


Members can support the fight against such illegal activity by ensuring that their constituents know that confidential help and advice is available simply by calling 0300 123 3311 or visiting the website, stop loan sharks wales dot co dot UK


Their work has already seen victims of illegal money laundering receive more than £66,000 in compensation, and I would strongly urge anyone who may be considering borrowing money to speak to the organisation first.


As members know, the Shared Regulatory Service works alongside a wide range of partners and play a vital role in protecting the public from unscrupulous traders while looking after consumer rights, food safety, animal welfare and more.


I’d like to thank them for their efforts, and for helping to protect local communities from being preyed upon by illegal money launderers.


Cabinet Member – Communities


I would like to draw members’ attention towards an important consultation that is currently being carried out by Welsh Government.


As you know, in 2017 Welsh Government set a series of national targets on generating and using renewable energy as part of our overall commitment towards delivering a more sustainable future for Wales.


Latest national data shows that in 2021, renewable sources generated the equivalent of 55 per cent of our electricity use against a target of 70 per cent by 2030.


We have achieved nearly 90 per cent of our target for at least one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity to be locally owned by 2030, but while our renewables-based electrical capacity continues to increase year-on-year, the current rate of growth will not be enough to meet demand.


As a result, Welsh Government has launched a consultation on proposed new renewable energy targets, which includes sourcing 100 per cent of all national electricity consumption from renewable electricity by 2035.


This is an ambitious target, one which is likely to be largely dependent on increased support from the UK Government and reductions in cost, and a wealth of research and background information has been made available to ensure that people can provide an informed response as part of their feedback.


I would urge all members to take a look at the proposals, and to participate with this important national consultation, which can be found at the Welsh Government website.


Chief Executive


Members may be aware that we are currently marking National Apprenticeship Week at the council, and I recently joined the Leader, Deputy Leader and members of Cabinet at an event where we had a chance to meet some of the authority’s existing apprentices and find out more about their experiences.


At the moment, the council has 24 apprentices working across ten different departments including Business Support, ICT, Social Care, Highways, and Green Spaces.


Since the apprenticeship programme was launched in 2013, we have successfully supported 116 apprentices, many of whom have since gone on to work at the council in full time, permanent positions.


This is especially fitting as the theme of this year’s event is all about developing ‘Skills For Life’.


We are committed towards supporting people into learning and developing future-ready skills which will help them to secure employment and set them on a path for a rewarding career.


The benefits of this ‘grow your own’ approach are very obvious, especially when you consider some of the workforce issues and recruitment challenges that the council is facing.


The last ten years have demonstrated beyond a doubt that this is a mutually beneficial and highly effective partnership.


As an organisation and an employer, we remain dedicated towards supporting young people by creating apprenticeship opportunities, and I hope that this will continue for many years to come.


Members may wish to advise their constituents that apprenticeships within the council are advertised through the job pages of the corporate website, and that further information and advice on apprenticeships is available from Careers Wales.