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Cheryl Gillan MP The Welsh Conservatives Conference took place at the weekend. A number of announcements were made, including a promise from David Cameron to submit to questions and answers every year at the Welsh Assembly, if he becomes Prime Minister.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said that under a Tory government Welsh Office ministers would attend three question and answer sessions annually in Cardiff Bay. This would be additional to the statutory obligation to attend Assembly plenary sessions after the Queen's Speech.

Mrs Gillan added that more meetings of the House of Commons' Welsh Grand Committee should be held in Wales, and commented:

"To deliver the best for Wales there needs to be an open and continuing dialogue, not an annual arrangement."

One of her colleagues, Shadow Welsh Minister David Jones, announced that a Conservative government would set up a new committee of Welsh and English MPs (the latter being from constituencies close to or on the border) to monitor the impact of devolution in Wales and England. The committee would report to the Secretary of State for Wales.

Nick Bourne, Conservative leader in the Welsh Assembly, called for businesses with a rateable value of £10,000 or less to be taken out of business rates altogether, and tapered relief for businesses worth up to £15,000. Shadow Assembly Local Government Minister Darren Millar said that every pensioner household in Wales should receive a 30 per cent reduction in their council tax bills.

Tom Greeves

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