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Welcome to Wales Today, our headlines tonight:
Sport Wales, the organisation which promotes and develops sport
in Wales, sees its chair and vice-chair suspended.
The real problems right at the top of this organisation show no sign of
abating. They were in the business of tin
cans, tonight serious questions about the millions of pounds
of public money given to this Swansea company
which later went bust. Samantha Broome says
she was discriminated Tonight a charity warns disabled
people and their families I try to shield it from
them as much as I can because I don't want them to worry
that I'm not in work. They don't have to worry about that,
that's my concern, It's time for Tata steel workers
to decide on the future Canoeists, paddlers and swimmers
want a change in the law. The crisis at the top
of the organisation which develops grassroots and elite sport in Wales
has intensified tonight. The chair and vice chair
of Sport Wales have been suspended while separate complaints
and concerns are looked into. A review by the Welsh Government
also found there has been a significant breakdown of relations
at a senior level. More from our political
editor Nick Servini. It is the main body promoting sport
in Wales but the lid has been lifted on a board brought to a standstill
by infighting. Sport Wales aim was to get every child hooked on sport
is an ambitious target backed by more than ?22 million of public
money. But in November last year the activities of the entire board was
suspended after a vote of no-confidence this man, the current
chair and former business troubleshooter Paul Thomas by the
other members of the board. In a statement the public health Minister
Rebecca Evans confirmed that while the board would be reinstated, Paul
Thomas would be suspended while formal complaint into him I looked
into. The vice chair Adele Baumgardt is also suspended because of
separate concerns around the conducive functioning of the board
and its relationship with Welsh ministers. The minister gave few
details of whatever officials discovered in their two-month review
and other than to indicate major problems at the top. Because of
issues and on the basis of legal advice it would be inappropriate for
me to comment in detail on the findings of the review. I do want to
make clear for the avoidance of doubt that the conclusions are
principally related to a significant breakdown in interpersonal
relationships at a senior level within Sport Wales. Spot Wales will
be able to plan, distributor friends to grassroots sports. As the rest of
the board has been reinstated under an interim chair. Paul Thomas is no
stranger to controversy. A business academic and a troubleshooter in a
BBC programme he was sent in to try to make being collecting in Blaenau
Gwent more efficient. He isn't afraid to be abrasive. He conducted
an internal review in November based on independent research it claimed
organisation lacks transparency, was indeed acclamation and had been
unwilling to listen. One of the main aims of Sport Wales
is to help stars like this and Jazz Carlin win medals in major
competitions. Olympic and Commonwealth Games coach was among
those to speak anonymously in the review. The culture said elite
sports would function without spot Wales. Another sports speaking
anonymously said he had been repeatedly surprised how insular
Sport Wales had become. The minister has asked for this review to be
completed by an independent panel member.
Nick, it's difficult to see how this will be resolved quickly?
That is right. Wasn't it striking that Rebecca Evans failed to give a
time frame as to when she hopes to resolve matters in this case. Even
in the context of Minister Mill language used in the chamber you get
an overwhelming sense of a pretty spectacular breakdown in
communications in relations right at the top of the organisation. Away
from the personality and it is difficult at this case, there are
unresolved differences as I alluded to. There is this internal review
which criticised the strategic direction of Sport Wales and the way
it is run. That review will be completed by an independent panel
member. It'll be fascinating to see whether the ministers here agree
with those substantive findings and in due course allowed Paul Thomas
back. If that happens, presumably, he will take the organisation in a
different direction to whether it is going at the moment. In the
meantime, this is an organisation that can have some degree of
normality because the rest of the board are back. They have an interim
chair in place and they can get on with the day-to-day business of
planning the next financial year which will be crucial in the here
and now of Sport Wales. Serious question marks around the future.
The First Minister says his former economy minister was "guided"
by experts when she gave more than ?3 million to a Swansea
steel-coating company that later went bust.
Edwina Hart has been criticised for sanctioning grants
and loans for Kancoat despite being told by a government
official that its business plan was "weak and inconsistent".
More from our political reporter Paul Martin.
Cans have been coated here for years. By American firm. After it's
left, Kancoat was an attempt to restart of the old production line.
It couldn't attract private finance but the Welsh Government is putting
millions in grants and loans. To no avail. Six months after the final
government loan Kancoat went bust. But then economy Minister took the
decision to back the firm. Most of the money was put in after a civil
service review described Kancoat's business plan as weak and
inconsistent. Why did she continued to back it? The First Minister told
the Assembly today she had been acting on advice. The investment
panel recommended approval of the investment. The minister was guided
by that. It seems Edwina Hart was effectively weighing up competing
civil service advice. On the one hand, the sceptical due diligence
review and on the other the investment panel recommending she
support the firm. She went with the panel's recommendation. The
government acknowledges the panel got it wrong. Back in the chamber,
the Conservative leader was looking for an apology. Will you apologise
for the loss of this money which is taxpayers money come in this
particular instance when so many warnings were made as so many of
those warnings were ignored by your then Minister, and ultimately it is
the taxpayers los? I accept what the Welsh Conservatives have said the
stock he understood the situation in terms of the initial grant. This is
a start-up business, start-up businesses are inherently risky but
there must be an acceptance of risk by government. Today's report by the
cross-party Public Accounts Committee calls for a considered
approach to risk identification and mitigation in the future. It says
investment decisions that go against official advice should be clearly
documented. This afternoon, the economy secretary suggested the
recommendations would be accepted. A number of changes have already been
made. It is a case of fact and indisputable that in the previous
Assembly term, during which time my predecessor oversaw record growth,
the success rate of businesses supported by Welsh Government was
more than 97%. The debate over risk versus reward rolls on. Wales Audit
Office will begin a broad report on government support for business.
A teenager whose classmate died after being hit by a school minibus
has told an inquest she had seen five other near-misses
15-year-old Ashley Talbot was running for his bus home and
didn't use a pedestrian crossing when a vehicle driven by his
teacher, Christopher Brooks, hit him at Maesteg Comprehensive
The First Minister has called for calm following the dropping
of English-stream education at a Carmarthenshire primary school.
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood accused some Labour members
of working with Ukip in a campaign against the changes
The decision by the Plaid-run council will see the school become
Part of Colwyn Bay's Grade II listed pier will be dismantled
after it partially collapsed into the sea earlier this month.
Conwy council has agreed to remove the damaged part of Victoria Pier
so it can be saved and stored for future restoration.
It has set aside ?650,000 for the work but says there is no
way of knowing how much it will cost.
Too many people with disabilities are being prevented
from returning to work because employers are unwilling
That's according to Citizens Advice Cymru which says
people who are disabled or have a long term health problem
are a third less likely to be in work than those who are healthy.
Two years ago she would have been running about with her two sons but
Samantha Broome from Barry has developed a long-term pain and
While her sons have been understanding, she says her
Last year she was dismissed after taking time off sick.
She is now planning to take them to an employment tribunal on
Telling my family that I've lost my job was really difficult.
Because there is a sense of pride involved as well?
I try to shield them from it as much as I can because I don't
want them to worry that I'm not in work.
They don't have to worry about that, that is my concern,
Citizens Advice Cymru suggests she is not alone.
Of the 11,000 clients they saw last year with an employment
related problem, just over 2700, a quarter, had a disability
It is that group which Citizens Advice feel are still
encountering too much bad practice and discrimination by employers.
Clients have told us that it has a detrimental effect on their mental
health, that has deteriorated, or even their physical health.
Other people feel they've had no choice but to leave their job
voluntarily which has meant they are left in a
much more precarious financial situation.
The report highlights that in Wales 79% of working age people
are in employment but when it comes to those with a
disability or long-term health condition it is 43%.
That leaves an employment gap of 36%.
The equivalent gap for the whole of the UK is 32%.
Helen Walby runs Recycle Ccooters in Aberdare where they
dismantle and salvage motorcycles and sell them on around the world.
She says small businesses are proportionately better at employing
people with disabilities than larger firms.
They are more agile, less formal but size also
If you run a small business you tend to wear many hats.
You will do the marketing, the finance and the HR
but you might not be a qualified HR professional so
finding things on things like the Business Wales websites can
sometimes be difficult although the information
is out there, and also finding the time.
The Department for Work and Pensions say their Access
to Work Schemes provides funding for equipment or support but they
appreciate more needs to be done and are currently consulting
Campaigners hope its results in fewer people ending up
Much more to come before seven o'clock.
She's changing the perceptions of women in sport.
Ashley Brace the first professional female on the bill in Cardiff.
And the other Marble Arch is in London but where in Wales is this -
Tonight the calls to move it to somewhere more prominent.
The results of the pensions ballot of Tata's steelworkers
by unions is expected to be announced tomorrow.
The company's staff across Wales are being asked whether they accept
moving from a final salary pension to a less generous scheme.
Our business correspondent, Brian Meechan, is at Port Talbot.
What's on offer as part of this deal?
Workers are being offered by Tata a scheme that is better than many
other companies around the UK offer but it will give significantly
reduced pension pot to a lots of the workers here, compared to what they
currently have. Tata says this is essential in terms of securing the
future of the business, it is tied to ?1 billion of investment here at
Port Talbot over the next ten years. If the company is hitting its profit
targets. Also, to keeping these blast furnace is going for another
five years. Unions say they would leave it up to the workforce to make
the decision but in recent weeks the unions have said they are
encouraging people to support these changes.
Talk through the timings. What happens next? We are expecting the
result tomorrow. If it is a yes it is likely Tata will go ahead with
the changes, that is what the unions are encouraging as well. If it is a
no vote, there doesn't seems to be a Plan B at the moment. Nobody is
quite clear what that will mean what will happen if the vote to reject
it. It does has to be said, Tata is not bound by this result. One big
thing is, this is only part of the changes Tata wants to see. It once
the pension scheme separated from Tata. Keep us posted. Thank you.
A fourteen-year-old boy who suffered a serious brain injury
when he was born at Wrexham Maelor hospital, is to receive over
The boy, who needs 24 hour care and now has a life expectancy of 34,
was starved of oxygen during his birth in 2002.
The former head of finance at a homeless charity in Swansea has
Robert Mark Davies was arrested in 2014
following an investigation at Cyrenians Cymru.
The charity later went into administration.
He will appear at Cardiff Magistrates' Court later this month.
Tonight's top sports stories now, here's Tomos.
It's a debate that's raged for decades and today around
100 water sports enthusiasts took their protests to the Senedd.
They're calling for fairer access to Wales' waterways and have presented
The minister responsible has conceded the law
needs to be improved and the rules simplified.
We have had the right to roam, now we have a row over permission
Around 100 took their fight along Cardiff Bay barrage to the
Senedd, calling on the Welsh Government to change the law.
There is no one definitive position as to what the legal
situation is for people who want to enjoy the water.
Some people believe there is an absolute right of navigation
on all flowing water, some people think if
you own the fishing rights you also have the right
Navigation being swimming, canoeing, all the rest of it.
More than 5,000 people have shared their opinions
with the Welsh Government, with many saying
the system is just too complex.
Many here want what Scotland introduced 14 years ago,
a countrywide code setting out who can access rivers,
That would be welcomed by this former Paracanoeist.
Fran Bateman from Brecon, the world silver medallist says
the rules are putting people off coming here.
I've paddled around the world and I've got friends in other
countries that won't come to England and Wales on paddling holidays,
although we've got some classic rivers, because of the
But to an angler who pays for a licence and
a permit to fish, a canoeist can be an unwelcome sight.
The angling community, to be fair, they have
come to the table, they have offered voluntary access agreement.
It is the canoeing body that are not willing to sign the access agreement
simply because they are pushing for legislation for access
The anglers don't get access 365 days a year and they also
The Welsh Government says outdoor recreational
sports make a significant contribution to the Welsh economy
and the minister in charge says she will develop proposals
to improve current laws to remove inconsistencies in the current
That will be a real challenge, striking a deal that will address
the concerns of landowners as well as the aspirations of canoeists
Introducing a system that works for all without causing more
Cardiff City could move to the top half of the Championship table
Newport County, bottom of League Two, are aiming to make it
Gareth Bale could be back playing as early as this weekend according
That's welcome news with Wales' World Cup qualifier
against the Republic of Ireland next month.
At the Welsh Open Snooker Mark Williams is trailing
Michael White defeated Duane Jones by the same score
That's where the Ebbw Vale boxer, Ashley Brace, is set to take
She will become the first professional female to be
featured at a major event, part of a bill attracting
Brace has told BBC Wales that attitudes towards women in the sport
First she excelled at amateur boxing representing Wales.
Then came selection for the Commonwealth Games.
But Ashley Brace was denied permission to fight in Glasgow
She fought back, leaving the amateur ranks
At the time she said sexism was another battle.
Coaches saying, I don't think you should be doing this,
you should be at home cooking and cleaning.
Now, after five professionals fights unbeaten including two by knockout,
she says attitudes are finally changing towards women in boxing.
Even going to fights, people tap me on the back, people
If you like boxing, boxing is boxing as long as
Now another step up, thousands of fans at the
Next month, local boy Craig Kennedy faces Matt Askin in the main event
Ashley Brace will be on the bill too although her opponent hasn't yet
I did say the last time I was there I want to be on a big
I didn't think it would come this soon.
It is so different to 2014 where she had to stay at home
and watch as England's Nicola Adams won gold.
Adams herself has now gone pro as well, speculation two of
the best female boxers in the UK could meet in the ring in future.
I believe if I had have gone to the Commonwealth Games it would have
been me coming home with the gold medal.
I respect her, I think she is a fantastic boxer.
But that is what, I want to be the best.
There's no point wanting to be second in this game.
Back at home in Blaenau Gwent, she is a teaching assistant
by day, a trainer for others at night.
A pro with promise who refuses to lie down.
Most of us have heard of London's Marble Arch
but did you know the famous monument said to be the place where distances
are measured from has a sister here in Wales?
Marble Arch sits at one end of the A5 road
and here the Holyhead Arch is at the other.
But ours is largely forgotten so now there's a call to move it somewhere
It is the story of two arches at opposite ends of one of Britain's
In London, Marble Arch so famous that it lends its name to
In Holyhead, the other slightly older one.
Once a gateway to Wales, the Holyhead Arch is marooned,
now stranded by the changing shape of the port.
The inscription reads, it is in memory of a visit Anglesey by
But what this arch really celebrates is something far
The completion of Britain's first modern road.
The first fully engineered roads since Roman times.
250 miles from Holyhead to London or should that
One of Britain's severest critics pays a visit.
The Holyhead arch was already more than 100 years old when
Then, as now, it was all about Ireland.
That is why Thomas Telford built his road, the A5 linking the
first city of Empire, London, with arguably the second, Dublin.
All the traffic passed through Holyhead and
Should the arch be moved out of the port and where the A5
Put it at the start of the A5, not at the end of the A5.
Put it in London, I'll guarantee you that it
cleaned up and quite a lot of people watching it.
If we can have half of those people that go to see Marble
Arch in London in Holyhead, what a fantastic idea.
The company which owns the port and the art doesn't seem particularly
bothered about losing it. They aren't paying for its move and
finding somewhere to put the arch, there are other issues. It is listed
and so are the buildings next to it. The old Customs house and harbour
office. Inherited terms, equally important. Should they move?
Now, the Welsh Assembly welcomed a very special guest
Vidar, a former army sniffer dog, served in Afghanistan and sniffed
out roadside bombs that could have killed British troops.
He saved countless lives, but was forced to retire
when he became scared of loud noises.
The hero dog was then adopted by reserve army
Well, he certainly deserves a treat or two.
He spent two years out there searching for bombs and arms and
Saved countless lives, military and civilian.
He started showing signs of being gun shy,
which he reacted, he became scared and didn't like the gunfire.
He started to switch off and wanting to run away all the time.
You needed a fur coat if you were outside today.
Let's see what the weather has in store, Derek what have you got?
It is going to turn milder. Daytime temperatures up to ten or 11
Celsius. Clearly it in some areas of Kennedy again with this beautiful
sunset. This evening, spots of rain in the east. Dry overnight for
Valentines night. Some mist and fog patches. A drop of rain in
Pembrokeshire. Not a wet night. He is the pics of eight o'clock in the
morning. Most of north and mid Wales try, a bit grey and murky in places.
Not dry everywhere in the morning because in the south and the
south-west we will have some rain and that could be on the heavy side.
During the day, the rain will spread northwards. It will clear and we
will see dry and brighter weather moving in from the south-west in the
afternoon and the sun will come out with a view sellers. Temperatures
will be higher than today. The wind turning round into the south-west.
In Wrexham tomorrow, a dry morning, a little bit of rain in the
afternoon but try and write later. In Carmarthenshire, some rain in the
morning, dry and brightening up in the afternoon. Tomorrow evening a
few showers will clear through. Dry overnight bar the odd show in the
north and over Cardigan Bay. Fog patches in Monmouthshire with
damages imposed dropping to four. Fears that should be a decent day.
The fog will lift. If few showers in the north and west. More dry weather
on Friday. We may see some rain later in the south and west.
US National Security adviser Michael Flynn has resigned over
allegations he discussed US sanctions with Russia before
Mr Flynn is said to have misled officials about his conversations
with Russia's ambassador before his own appointment.
The chair and vice-chair of sport in Wales, the organisation which
develops sports have been suspended while separate complaint concerns
and looked into. A review by the Welsh Government also found a
significant breakdown of relations at a senior level.
I'll have an update for you here at eight o'clock and again
That's Wales Today, thank you for watching.
From all of us on the programme, good evening.