Devolution leaflet floods post in Wales

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The Government is spending pounds 160,000 on the production and distribution of a leaflet setting out the main points of proposals for a Welsh assembly to Wales's 1.2 million households.

Ron Davies, the Secretary of State for Wales, will this morning join Cardiff postmen for the first day's delivery. He said: "When I put the plans for Welsh devolution before the House of Commons I promised that people would be provided with an easily understood version of the White Paper. The leaflet fulfils that promise and will enable voters to study the issues for themselves and make an informed choice when voting on 18 September."

Welsh Office minister Peter Hain is this morning visiting Flint in North Wales to meet postal workers preparing for the delivery.

The leaflet is being distributed by Royal Mail's door-to-door service. It provides neutral information in line with government guidelines. No government money has been given to either the "yes" or the "no" campaign.

There was no Bank Holiday respite from the devolution battle in Wales, with campaigners from both sides seeking out the estimated 30 per cent of "don't knows" who appear to hold the key to the 18 September referendum.

New avenues are being explored. A "Women Say Yes For Wales" group is to be launched at Whitland, Pembrokeshire, where a 10th-century reformer, Hywel Dda (Howell The Good), codified a plethora of laws which enhanced women's' rights.

The meeting agreed to try to persuade more women to vote yes by setting a target of 10 converts for each enthusiast. One forcast: "By coming back to the place where women's' rights were born we can say that an assembly could bring genuine equality."

In Cardiff, 100 miles east, Mr Davies announced the publication of pro-devolution leaflets in eight minority languages. Wales has a long- established cosmopolitan population - in Cardiff alone there are an estimated 5,000 Somalis and sizeable groups from the West Indies, Africa and the Far East.

"No" campaigners, who believe that the former mining valleys of the south are fertile grounds for their cause, were out in Pontypridd and Merthyr Tydfil. In Powys, where sheep out number people by ten to one, farmers eyed the proposed assembly with traditional caution. They claimed that devolution would harm relations with Europe, but John Lloyd Jones, chairman of the National Farmers' Union in Wales, remained neutral: "I am not supporting either side."

The Confederation of British Industry in Wales is also leaving it to individual members to decide for themselves.

In the contest to win over celebrities, the "Yes" camp claimed rugby star Neil Jenkins to complement the capture of football international Ryan Giggs. Cricketers have yet to be brought on side, but there is still much to play for before stumps are drawn in a little over three weeks' time.