Sunak says he will keep using Brecon Beacons name

time:2023-06-04 16:07:46 source:Al Jazeera

Rishi Sunak says he will keep using the English name Brecon Beacons, which the national park has dropped.

It rebranded with its Welsh name, Bannau Brycheiniog, this month, a decision criticised by Welsh Tories.

Ahead of this weekend's Welsh Conservative conference, the prime minister said he thought "most people" would still say the Brecon Beacons.

He also defended railway funding after the Senedd said Wales was owed money from HS2.

In a TV interview, the prime minister said he was a "big supporter of the Welsh language and Welsh culture" and funding for S4C was rising.

The UK government no longer directly funds S4C, but has increased the amount of licence fee funding it gets.

On Friday Mr Sunak told the Welsh Conservative conference in Newport that said Wales would not get more powers from Westminster.

Mr Sunak added: "But when it comes to the Brecon Beacons, the first thing to say is this is an internationally renowned place to visit, attracts visitors from all around the world.

"It's something we're all really proud of across the UK.

"I'm going to keep calling it the Brecon Beacons, and I would imagine most people will do that too."

Park bosses have said the change promotes the area's culture and heritage and is part of a wider overhaul of how the park is managed.

But the leader of the Conservatives in the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies, has said the name change undermined an already well-known tourist destination.

Welsh Tories this week joined calls in the Senedd for Wales to get more rail funding in a debate about HS2.

The high-speed route has officially been classed as an England and Wales project, even though it does not cross the border.

Critics say if it was labelled England-only it would, under devolution, deliver billions of pounds for Wales.

All parties, including the Conservatives, backed a Senedd motion calling on the UK government to redesignate the line.

The prime minister said there was an "established funding settlement for these things" but that HS2 would particularly benefit mid and north Wales.

"When you look at the connections to places like Birmingham and Crewe, that will considerably reduce journey times to London," he said.

He cited £350m worth of rail improvements, announced in 2020.

A line connecting Cardiff Central and Cardiff Bay stations will also get £50m from the UK government's levelling up fund.

Mr Sunak's interview comes days after the Trussell Trust revealed it had distributed a record number of emergency food parcels in Wales, with 69,683 going to children in a year.

Asked if he was "embarrassed or ashamed" that was happening on his watch, he said "of course I don't want anyone to have to use a food bank" and paid tribute to volunteers.

UK government schemes to help people with their energy bills and raising the national living wage would help with the cost of living, he said.

In his speech to the conference in Newport, Andrew RT Davies insisted no more powers should be devolved to Wales because that would be a "distraction" from improving Welsh health and education.

The Cardiff Bay Conservative leader accused "out of touch" Welsh Labour ministers of holding "extreme beliefs", prioritising "fringe issues" and "holding Wales back".

He attacked a range of Welsh government policies, including proposals to ask for more powers so Wales can pass an equivalent to the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Act, which the UK government has blocked.

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