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Mark Jones

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The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column

Posted By Robert Lloyd

By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants. The Money Matters column appears in the Pembrokeshire Herald, the Carmarthenshire Herald and the Llanelli Herald newspapers.

The taxman at HMRC is reminding employees that they may be able to claim a tax rebate on their work-related expenses.

HMRC estimate that millions of employees, particularly those working in the service industry, could be entitled to a tax refund.

Workers, including nurses, hairdressers, construction workers and those working in retail and food sectors, may be able to claim tax rebates.

Individuals in these types of roles sometimes have to pay for work-related expenses including car mileage, replacing or repairing small tools, or maintaining branded uniforms.

Where these types of expenses are incurred, employees may be entitled to claim a tax refund.

HMRC is advising individuals to go directly to the Government website at GOV.UK to check if they can claim extra cash back.

If you need help with work-related expenses, then you can always contact the team at Carmarthen-based chartered accountants Cay Shaw Butler.

HMRC advise taxpayers to log in to their Personal Tax Account to claim their tax relief online and that approved claims should be refunded within three weeks.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride MP, said:

“We know what a difference tax relief can make to hard-working customers, especially at this time of year.

“HMRC is keen to make sure customers get all the relief they’re entitled to, by using the online service.”

Tax relief isn’t available for all employment expenses, so the online Check If You Can Claim tool is very helpful – then if your claim is approved, your full tax relief will be paid directly into your bank account.

The majority of claims are for repairing or replacing tools and branded uniforms, professional subscriptions and mileage.

Healthcare workers, people working in food and retail, and those in the construction industry are among the top professions to claim from HMRC.

HMRC is advising that taxpayers may be able to claim tax relief on the cost of:

  • repairing or replacing small tools needed to do their job (for example, scissors or an electric drill)
  • cleaning, repairing or replacing specialist clothing (for example, a branded uniform or safety boots)
  • business mileage (not commuting)
  • travel and overnight expenses
  • professional fees and subscriptions.

Employees can check if they are eligible for tax relief on their expenses online.

Claims must be made within four years of the end of that tax year

Eligible employees will be paid tax relief at the rate of pay that they pay tax.

For example, if they spend £60 and pay tax at a rate of 20% in that year, the tax relief they can claim is £12.

Workers will need to have a Personal Tax Account.

Customers can also claim by post by printing off a form from GOV.UK, or by phone if their total expenses are less than £1,000, or £2,500 for professional fees and subscriptions.

Call 0300 200 3300 (Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm; Saturday: 8am to 4pm; Sunday: 9am to 5pm).

Internet link for more information on the Government website GOV.UK news


You can find out more about money matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) – 


We have a strong and experienced team with great local knowledge all geared-up to helping you get the very best from your finances – whether that is as an individual or as a business.

We stay ahead of the game by putting great store by continual professional development for our staff.

With Investors In People status at Clay Shaw Butler, we care passionately about making sure our staff have all the tools they need to serve you, our customers.

Weblink – http://www.clayshawbutler.com

The team at Clay Shaw Butler can be contacted on 01267 228500.

The team at Clay Shaw Butler are on Twitter. Look for @clayshawbutler.

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Press releases

Carmarthenshire to stage second Celebration of Culture Awards

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Those who enrich our lives through music, arts and literature will be recognised in Carmarthenshire’s second Celebration of Culture Awards.

Hosted by Carmarthenshire County Council and supported by the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star, the awards aim to celebrate excellence in arts and culture, and showcase our county-wide cultural achievements.

The awards will be held in April, and will highlight the importance of culture in our region.

They are open to anyone living, working or originating from Carmarthenshire who made a significant contribution to Carmarthenshire’s cultural landscape during 2018. Individuals, groups and organisations will all be considered for awards across a range of categories designed to shine a spotlight on all areas of culture in Carmarthenshire.

Councillor Peter Hughes Griffiths, executive board member for culture, sport and tourism, is behind the awards scheme.

“We are blessed with a rich cultural heritage here in Carmarthenshire with many distinguished artists, literary greats and stars of stage and screen who continue to inspire us to this day,” he said.

“In hosting these awards, we want to celebrate those who enrich our lives and add vibrancy to this great county today.

“This follows the tremendous success of last year’s inaugural celebration, a way for our gifted people to be recognised and their talents enjoyed.”

Six award categories are being opened up for nominations.

They are:

Excellence in Performing Arts

Recognising a performer or group of performers or organisation who have stood out in 2018. This can include (but is not limited to) theatre, dance, spoken word, and comedy

Excellence in Visual Arts and Crafts

Recognising an individual, group or organisation working in the visual arts, design, photography, or crafts whose work has left a lasting impression in 2018

Excellence in Creative Media

Recognising the achievements of an individual, group or organisation in creative media during 2018. This could be for (but is not limited to) film, animation, graphic design, games design, and digital art

Excellence in Literature

Acknowledgement of an outstanding individual, group or organisation working in creative writing, literature, prose or poetry who stood out during 2018

Excellence in Heritage

Recognising excellence from an individual, group, or organisation which raised the profile or celebrated Carmarthenshire’s history and heritage in 2018

Excellence in Music

Recognising the achievements of an individual, group or organisation in music during 2018. This can include (but is not limited to) musicians, singers, conductors and composers

Two special awards will be given at the judges’ selection:

Young Talent

An individual or group, aged under 25, working in any discipline, who are displaying real talent and potential at a relatively young age

Outstanding Contribution to Culture

This is an award for someone who has made a significant contribution to arts and culture in Carmarthenshire over a long period.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, on Friday, April 5.

The closing date for nominations is Sunday, February 24, at 11.59pm. People can enter an individual, group or organisation.

A judging panel will narrow down the entries to a shortlist, before choosing the three winners in each category.


Call into your local library or Council Hub’s in Llanelli and Ammanford for assistance with the online application.

 Related links:

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Nutrition expert to deliver workshop for West Wales Regional Athletics Council

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Victoria Prendiville will be delivering a workshop for the West Wales Regional Council on “Building a Solid foundation to Nutrition” 

It is being held tomorrow evening at the University of Wales Trinity St David in Carmarthen.

This session will cover :-

The power of nutrition;

Time management and Nutrition as a young athlete; 

Knowledge of daily habits and lifestyle choices; 

Energy Balance Macros and MicrosFine tuning; 

Nutrition Strategies; Supplements;

Time for Questions.

To attend you must be a Welsh Athletics affiliated club athlete in West Wales in school year 8 to adult, a parent of an affiliated athlete or a UKA club coach in the West Wales region.

Tickets are £6pp and there is a limit of 80 places. The workshop is suitable for athletes from all running, jumping and throwing disciplines.

Victoria is a clinical dietitian with more than 17 years experience in the NHS.

Currently the service lead for the Nutrition and Dietetic Service for Hywel Dda University Health Board, she has a post graduate degree in Sport and Exercise performance Nutrition and is a SENR Registered sport and exercise performance Nutritionist.

The SENR Register (Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register) holds the names of professionals that have the highest level of qualifications, knowledge, skills and competencies to support athletes from recreational up to elite level. She is also a UKAD Anti doping adviser, part of the Sports Wales Nutrition Network and a committee member of the National Sports Nutrition Group.

She sees athletes of all ages from recreational up to elite level in all different sporting disciplines. Working with athletes on an individual level, coaches and performance teams.

Her aim is always to meet individual athlete goals supporting health, well being and performance.

As a triathlete, working mum and business woman she understands the practical challenges that meeting nutritional requirements and balancing these with the demands of sport and every day life can have and will always strive to support athletes, coaches and parents with Simple yet effective nutrition messages.

She aims to educate and inspire young athletes to become self sufficient over time, taking responsibility for their nutrition and hydration and always promotes interventions that can be followed as a lifestyle.

There will be a second workshop on . . .

The importance of Fuelling / hydration and recovery for young athletes

Challenges of fuelling and hydration that young athletes face How to prepare for training with nutrition and hydration

How to fuel training sessions

How to recover well after training Supplements

Time for questions.

(The second workshop will be held on Friday 15th February at a venue TBC in the West Wales Region).

Both sessions will also be highlighting the risks associated with energy deficiency and RED-S with key messages integrated into both talks.


The Halliwell Conference Centre, SA31 3EP

Tickets – https://www.tickettailor.com/events/westwalesregionalathleticscouncil/221521/#

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Press releases

Dyfed-Powys Police hosts first Modern Day Slavery Investigator course in Wales

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Modern slavery is real, and it’s happening in our communities.

It is on the rise in Wales. It’s an unseen crime, where the victims can be men, women and children of all ages, and it preys on the most vulnerable.

Due to the hidden nature of slavery and the reluctance or inability of victims to seek help, we may not always realise we’ve come into contact with a victim.

Dyfed-Powys Police is determined to do all it can to tackle modern slavery, and play its part in making Wales hostile to slavery.

As part of this commitment Dyfed-Powys Police hosted the first Modern Day Slavery Investigator course in Wales, in order to ensure that officers have the knowledge and are properly equipped to deal with slavery head on.

Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police and Border Force have come together for a course delivered by the College of Policing in Carmarthen.

Paul Carroll from the College of Policing Modern Slavery Transformation Unit, delivered the four day course, designed to prepare those in attendance for the role of modern slavery investigator and develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary to understand and deal with it effectively.

Detective Chief Inspector Anthony Evans said:

“We are committed to tackling all forms of exploitation and modern slavery, and were therefore keen to be the first to bring this specialised training to the Southern Wales region, and to share the opportunity with our colleagues in Gwent and Border Force. I’m grateful to DS Dale Scriven and DC Ceri Williams for organising this and ensuring we made it happen as soon as possible.

“To reinforce our victim focussed approach to these crimes, it’s important we have officers who are well versed on the signs of slavery and that they can undertake slavery investigations confidently. Victims are vulnerable people who need help but are frightened, and none of these jobs are easy. During the course they will learn about the international and national profile, relevant offences and common factors associated with slavery.

“We know that men, women and children may be forced into various types of slavery, including forced prostitution, child trafficking, criminal exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labour and sexual exploitation. We all have a part to play in helping these vulnerable victims, and I urge anyone who suspects slavery or exploitation to report it to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121700. In an emergency call 999.”

Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Limited family contact
  • Physical abuse
  • Distrust of authority
  • Having no friends
  • Acting as if under another’s control
  • Appearing malnourished
  • Disorientation
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Unable to speak any English 
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Press releases

Next stage of works to clear Cwmduad landslide

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Phase two of the works to stabilise a landslide in Cwmduad has begun following recovery of a lorry from the river below.

Carmarthenshire County Council is leading the operation to clear the site and re-open the A484 for traffic travelling between Carmarthen and Newcastle Emlyn, following the landslide in October.

Phase one, which commenced before Christmas, created a safe zone for the recovery of a lorry that was swept in to the river during the storm.

That recovery took place earlier today (Monday, January 14, 2019).

Phase two, to permanently stabilise the embankment, involves complex drainage and geotechnical works.

The highway structure will then be assessed before any indication can be given as to when the road will re-open.

The council has thanked the community, and affected commuters, for their patience whilst site assessments and works have been underway.

Ruth Mullen, Director of Environment for Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “We are now making progress in what has been a highly complex operation and legal process between the council, partner agencies and the landowner.

“We fully appreciate the impact this has had on the community, and we wish to reiterate that we have worked without delay to undertake site investigations in the immediate aftermath of the landslide, along with clearance and construction works to make the area safe.

“We are working as quickly as we can to re-open the road as soon as possible, and would like to thank those affected most sincerely for their patience.”

Until the road is re-opened, traffic will continue to be diverted along the B4333 Carmarthen – Newcastle Emlyn.

Additional bus services remain in place:

  • A shuttle service currently runs from Cwmduad to Tycoch to catch the 460 service at 7.25am, 9.35am and 10.55am. Return journeys are at 2.25pm and 4.45pm.
  • The 460 service is currently operating on a diversion route

 Related link:

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Press releases

Gene-editing tool shown to limit impact of certain parasitic diseases

Posted By Robert Lloyd

A parasitologist at Aberystwyth University is one of a worldwide team of researchers that has used a gene-editing tool to limit the impact of schistosomiasis, an illness that affects more than a quarter of a billion people in Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.

Professor Karl Hoffmann from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) has been working with researchers at the George Washington University (GW) and colleagues at institutes in Thailand, Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, and others.

For the first time CRISPR/Cas9 has been successfully used to limit the impact of parasitic worms responsible for schistosomiasis and for liver fluke infection, which can cause a diverse spectrum of human disease including liver fibrosis and bile duct cancer. 

Their findings are found in two papers published today in the journal eLife. Professor Hoffmann is co-author of the paper entitled “Programmed genome editing of the omega-1 ribonuclease of the blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni”.

Professor Hoffmann’s work at Aberystwyth University focuses on tackling schistosomiasis.

Professor Hoffmann said: “With funding provided by the Wellcome Trust and working with colleagues at GW, we have been able to apply, for the first time in flukes, genome editing to knock-out an important schistosome gene product involved in human disease. Application of this technology to other schistosome genes or flukes will revolutionise our ability to develop new and urgently-needed control strategies.”

“The genes we ‘knocked out’ using CRISPR/Cas9 resulted in markedly diminished symptoms of infection in our animal models,” said Paul Brindley, PhD, professor of microbiology, immunology, and tropical medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and lead author. 

“Our research also showed that this revolutionary new biomedical procedure — CRISPR/Cas9 — can be adapted to study helminth parasites, which are a major public health problem in tropical climates.”

CRISPR/Cas9 is a new technology that allows researchers to precisely target and deactivate the genetic information needed to produce a particular protein. While the tool has been used in other species before, it was unknown if it could be applied toSchistosoma mansoni and Opisthorchis viverrini, the parasites responsible for schistosomiasis and liver fluke infection.

Schistosomiasiscan cause serious health problems, including damage to the liver and kidneys, infertility and bladder cancer. The freshwater worms S. mansoni enter the human body by burrowing into the skin; once in the bloodstream, they move to various organs where they rapidly start to reproduce and produce pathogenic eggs. 

These eggs release several molecules, including a protein known as omega-1 ribonuclease, which can damage the surrounding tissues. Brindley and his research team “knocked out” this protein using CRISPR/Cas9 and found that it greatly reduced the impact of the disease. 

“This neglected tropical disease affects more than a quarter of a billion people primarily living in Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America,” said Brindley. “CRISPR/Cas9 is a tool that may be used to limit the impact of these infections. As we work to better understand how these parasites invade and damage our bodies through this new technology, we will find new ideas for treatment and disease control.”

Key collaborators include Karl Hoffmann, PhD at the Aberystwyth University; Thewarach Laha, PhD at Khon Kaen University, Thailand; and Alex Loukas, PhD at James Cook University, Australia.

The papers, entitled “Programmed genome editing of the omega-1 ribonuclease of the blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni” andProgrammed knockout mutation of liver fluke granulin attenuates virulence of infection-induced hepatobiliary morbidity,” are available at eLife. 

Photo: Using CRISPR/Cas9 to ‘knock-out’ omega-1 from schistosome eggs. The left panel represents a wild-type schistosome egg secreting pathogenic proteins (including omega-1; red stars) into host tissues.  Eggs subjected to CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in this study do not secrete omega-1 (right panel) into host tissues and are not pathogenic to the host.


Programmed genome editing of the omega-1 ribonuclease of the blood fluke, Schistosoma mansonihttps://elifesciences.org/articles/41337

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