Winter has certainly arrived in Brecon and Radnorshire.

While the snow is certainly beautiful and festive it also causes much disruption.

I hope that you and your families had a chance to enjoy the snow and that it has not caused too many problems.

It has been wonderful to hear all the stories of people helping each other in these difficult conditions and a special thanks to our emergency services, health workers, carers and highways staff who have to keep going whatever the weather.

n Last week we had news of yet another bank deserting our high streets and their rural customers. Santander has announced it will be closing its branches in Llandrindod and Builth in spring next year. It will be the most vulnerable groups that suffer the greatest consequences, but this appears to mean very little to banks these days.

My office was in contact with Santander before this decision, urging them not to close any more branches. Sadly, until the government in Westminster strengthens the banking code they will continue to ignore the needs of rural areas, where other forms of banking are not always possible.

Santander officials have confirmed they will meet with me urgently to discuss this issue; I will leave them with no doubt about the level of anger and disappointment in our communities.

I hope you are all aware you can use the Post Office to make cash withdrawals, check your balance and make deposits into your bank account.

n You will have seen in October that Powys County Council received a highly critical report into their children’s services. The report was clear that staff on the ground do a good job in very difficult circumstances but problems lie primarily with management.

An inspection of Adult Social Services due to take place amid concerns there are difficulties in that area too.

This is a very worrying situation and the Welsh Liberal Democrat County Council Group has joined up with opposition groups, to demand that an independent investigation is launched into the way that the Independent/Conservative-run Council has been managed at senior level in the period up to and since the production of the CSSIW Report.

n I started my Christmas shopping early this year on Small Business Saturday in some of the lovely independent shops in Builth Wells.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy so I am very pleased that the details of a permanent small business rates relief scheme has recently been announced by the Welsh Government. If you would like the details of this announcement please contact my Office.

n This will be my last Politically Speaking column of 2017, so let me take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2018. I will continue to hold regular surgeries in towns and villages across Brecon & Radnorshire throughout 2018. If you would like to attend one of these or if there is anything I can do to help you, please call my office on 01874 625 739 or email me at