Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pontcysyllte to Cardiff

WALKING across the Pontcysyllte aqueduct on Monday morning gave me a bird’s eye view across Wrexham and parts of Flintshire, and into England – it’s a good job I’ve a head for heights.

Thomas Telford’s masterpiece of engineering, 126ft high and 1007ft long, is one of the Wonders of Wales. But this Grade I listed, Unesco-protected World Heritage Site isn’t just a place of history, it’s also somewhere with a great future.

I’ve been involved in discussions about regenerating an area around Trevor, near the aqueduct. There is a huge economic opportunity here, both in continuing to bring in tourists, and in helping people find a home they can afford.

It would involve a new marina with berths for tourist boats and also residential berths for people who live on narrow-boats. It’s an affordable way for many to live in their own home, in a popular area where there are few homes to rent, or to buy.

My stroll along the Llangollen Canal bank was to accompany supporters of Enough Food For Everyone If…. This campaign wants action to end world hunger, with action to stop tax avoidance by multi-nationals. In the Third World last year $160bn was lost in tax avoidance.

Enough Food is also calling on Wales’ AMs to ensure the money we spend supports fair trade, tax transparency and environmental sustainability. I understand their concerns about ending this unfairness. It’s frustrating to know the world produces enough food for everyone, but not everyone has enough food.
The campaign is also pressing for the UK to use its Presidency of the G8 and the Enniskillen Summit in June, to urge other rich countries to meet their longstanding promises of spending 0.7% of GNP on aid - the UK is the only member of the G8 to spend this amount on global aid.  This shows the commitment of the UK Government to helping the poorest in our world.  This is not without controversy as many people here question why we are spending that money abroad and not at home, but some of the people being helped live on less than a £1 a day.