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Latest podcast from Phil Evans and Robert Lloyd

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The latest podcast from Phil Evans and Robert Lloyd.

The Big Cwtsh – Episode 37.

Now available on Soundcloud.

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Press releases

Carmarthenshire Council’s review of 2018

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The eyes of the world were on Carmarthenshire in September and our County sealed its reputation as a world-class host of major sporting events when we welcomed the Tour of Britain – one of the largest cycling races in the world.

The event saw 120 of the world’s best cyclists, including Tour de France winners Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome.

The event, which raced through our county – taking in Kidwelly, Carmarthen, Abergwili, Ffairfach, Bethlehem, Llangadog and Llandovery along the way, saw thousands of spectators out on the streets, and has no doubt left a lasting legacy inspiring many people to take up cycling and using Carmarthenshire’s fantastic cycling routes and trails.

We launched our Cycling Hub of Wales destination guide showcasing the county’s new routes and incredible cycling terrain, including tracks, trails, circuits and traffic free paths. It allowed the county to showcase its stunning landscape and scenery to cycling fans across the world.

The guide showcases two fantastic off-road cycling circuits launched during 2018 – the new National Closed Road Circuit at Pembrey Country Park and the newly renovated historic Carmarthen Velodrome; challenging mountain biking trails through the Brechfa and Crychan forests; and traffic free paths through Llanelli, Amman and Tywi.

In education, we’ve seen more new schools opening, including Ysgol Pen Rhos in Llanelli and Parc y Tywyn in Burry Port, and there are plans to deliver a further £129million through our Modernising Education Programme investment with more new schools all around the county in 2019. 

Also, making best use of our school facilities to support community activities and engage with more young people. 

In social care and housing, we have already surpassed the halfway target on our commitment to deliver 1,000 more affordable homes, bringing empty homes and buildings back into use and passing plans to build new homes across the county; we have transferred a contract we held with Allied Healthcare in-house, taking on all staff and care packages, when the company got into trouble financially.

We have also maintained a vibrant and ambitious Capital Programme. Our Five Year Plan plan seeks to drive economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being in Carmarthenshire and by doing this we will ensure that our residents, communities, organisations and businesses are supported and enabled to develop and thrive for the benefit of our county.

This year we have embarked on a number of very exciting developments, including the new £2.5m County Archive Building in Carmarthen which is due to be completed next autumn; the £1/2m Closed Road Cycle Circuit in Pembrey Country Park which has officially opened, as well as the completion of Yr Egin at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Carmarthen.

As an authority we have been a key partner in Canolfan S4C Yr Egin, which has already created a significant boost in the county in terms of employment – with 10 companies taking residency in the building, in addition to S4C who moved their headquarters to Carmarthen in September.

Connecting towns and villages across Carmarthenshire has also been a priority, and we have pushed ahead with three major transport schemes – Carmarthen West, Cross Hands East and the £6m Towy Valley Path.

We completed the contract for The Marine Group to take over Burry Port Harbour. They and we will invest £millions in a new dredger, improved pontoons and opening up the whole harbour for mooring. A new lifeboat station, cafe, restaurant and other leisure developments are planned around the Harbour.

And in Carmarthen we have successfully worked with a private developer on the Guildhall who has signed a lease to bring a new restaurant to the ground floor, whilst maintaining access to the first floor courtroom.  In Ammanford, we have just opened our new customer service Hwb in the town, modelled on the successful service in Llanelli which helps bring more footfall in to the town centre and supports neighbouring traders.

Other exciting ventures include our new Housing company Cartrefi Croeso, which builds new homes for rent and affordable purchase, and Llesiant Delta Wellbeing Ltd, which replaced the Careline service, safeguarding jobs and creating additional employment for 10 people in Llanelli, as well as giving thousands more vulnerable people greater access to technology-based support when they need it.

Our library services were highlighted in the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Kuala Lumpur in August. The event, which brings together over 3,500 participants from more than 120 countries, highlighted Ammanford Library’s Makerspace project which successfully launched earlier this year.

The social library is the driving idea behind the project, also known as Stordy Creadigiol – where people of all ages will find a flexible, inclusive space in which to read, create, discuss and have new experiences.

It is the first of its kind in Welsh Libraries that offers library users an opportunity to create intellectual and physical materials using resources such as computers, 3D printers, audio and video capture and editing tools, and traditional  arts and crafts methods, to name just a few.

In October, we saw unprecedented flooding hit Carmarthenshire, affecting over 200 homes and businesses and tragically claiming the life of a young man in a landslide at Cwmduad.

Our teams pulled together, to respond to the emergency and then helped the county recover, both physically and financially. Much of this work is still underway, and we continue to work with specialists to assess and repair our highway network.

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Mark Jones

Blog posts

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.By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants.

It’s Christmas and some employers may wish to give a small gift to their employees.

As long as the employer meets the relevant conditions, no tax charge will arise on the employee.

A tax exemption is available, which should help employers ensure that the benefits provided are exempt and do not result in a reportable employee benefit in kind. If you have any doubts, then please feel free to contact the team at chartered accountants Clay Shaw Butler.

In order for the benefit to be exempt it must satisfy the following conditions:

  • the cost of providing the benefit does not exceed £50 per employee (or on average when gifts made to multiple employees)
  • the benefit is not cash or a cash voucher
  • the employee is not entitled to the benefit as part of a contractual arrangement (including salary sacrifice)
  • the benefit is not provided in recognition of particular services performed by the employee as part of their employment duties
  • where the employer is a ‘close’ company and the benefit is provided to an individual who is a director, an office holder or a member of their household or their family, then the exemption is capped at a total cost of £300 in a tax year.

If any of these conditions are not met then the benefit will be taxed in the normal way subject to any other exemptions or allowable deductions.

One of the main conditions is that the cost of the benefit does not exceed £50.

If the cost is above £50 the full amount is taxable, not just the excess over £50.

The cost of providing the benefit to each employee and not the overall cost to the employer determines whether the benefit can be treated as a trivial benefit.

So, a benefit costing up to £50 per employee whether provided to one or more employees can be treated as trivial.

Where the individual cost for each employee cannot be established, an average could be used. Some HMRC examples consider gifts of turkeys, a bottle of wine or alternatively a gift voucher.

Further details on how the exemption will work, including family member situations, are contained in the HMRC manual.

However, if you are unsure please do get in touch with the team at Clay Shaw Butler before assuming the gift you are about to provide is covered by the exemption.

For more advice online, go to the HMRC manual link on the Government’s website – https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-income-manual/eim21864

You can find out more about money matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) – http://www.clayshawbutler.com/news/latest-news-for-business

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

Young people transform Reservoir into Fairy Garden

Posted By Robert Lloyd

A group of young people have spent the past four months volunteering to transform the area around the reservoir in Tanerdy, Carmarthen.

Up to 20 young people have turned the area into a Fairy Garden especially for young children in the community.

Since September, the young people who attend activity sessions at the reservoir and classroom at Rathbone Training Centre, have been clearing the pathways and area around the reservoir as well as cleaning and painting the bridges.

To date up to 30 unique fairy doors have been created and placed around the reservoir, as well as bilingual signs.

The project, which has been organised by Carmarthenshire County Council’s Youth Support Service Post 16 Team, is set to continue into Spring – with plans to add to the Fairy Garden as well as creating birdboxes, bat boxes, bug houses and picnic benches.

Everyone who has taken part will receive a certificate for their achievements to support their job prospects in the future.

All young people have volunteered their free time to participate in active citizenship which has had a huge impact on their own skills development and self-esteem and confidence- making them feel more included in the society in which they live.

Nia Meredith, aged 18 and from Carmarthen, has been involved in the project since the beginning. She said: “It’s been fun and has been good to meet new people. I’ve been trying new things and have learnt a lot.”

Executive board member responsible for education and children’s services, Cllr Glynog Davies, said: “I would like to congratulate this group of young people for all their hard work and for giving up their time to volunteer and transform the area, especially for the benefit of the younger people in the community. I’m sure that this has been a valuable experience for them and that they have been able to learn new skills in the process.”

Jewsons in Carmarthen have supported the project with a donation of timber for benches which the group will be working on in the next part of the project.

The group is now looking for donations of solar fairy lights to make the area more enchanting. If any businesses are able to help, please contact Katie Morgan 07825402507 or email kmorgan@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

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Press releases

New affordable housing development gets green light

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Dozens of families will soon benefit from a new affordable housing development in Llanelli.

The Planning Committee at Carmarthenshire County Council has given the green light to a 34-house scheme on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn. 

Made up of 28 two-bedroom homes and six four-bedroom homes, the development is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver 1,000 more affordable homes across the county by 2021.

Accompanied by a detailed drainage strategy to dispose of surface water run-off, the plans also include an extensive programme of access, parking and landscaping improvements.

A new wetland pond feature will be introduced nearby, as well as a new park with children’s play equipment.  

Led by the council, the plans also include a £64,560 contribution to improve educational facilities at Ysgol Bryn Teg and Bryngwyn School.

Cllr Linda Evans, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Housing, said: “This is a terrific scheme that will help further meet the need for affordable homes across the county, while providing improved educational facilities for nearby schools, landscaped spaces for recreation, and play equipment for children.

“Expert analysis has also shown the scheme will be in keeping with the character of the area, while not having an adverse impact on traffic flows.

“In 2016, we launched our multi-million pound Affordable Homes Commitment to provide more, high-quality, low cost homes throughout Carmarthenshire. We’re now over the half-way mark in our drive to deliver 1,000 more affordable homes by 2021, which shows how seriously we’re taking this commitment.”

Proposals for additional plans to deliver even more affordable homes are due to be announced in the New Year.

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Blog posts

Farewell to former colleague Jill Hayden (Forwood)

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Colleagues from the world of newspapers will be congregating today to say farewell to Jill Hayden, a former colleague at The South Wales Evening Post.

Here is the notice of death as it appeared in the Evening Post . . .

HAYDEN Daphne Jill Peacefully after a short illness bravely borne at Singleton Hospital, Daphne Jill Hayden also known as Jill Forwood, wife of Brian and sister of Ruth, John, Howard and Lorna. Funeral service at Swansea Crematorium on Thursday 20th December 2018 at 2.30pm. Family flowers only please but donations in lieu if desired (cheques only please) made payable to Cancer Research UK c/o Graham Sullivan Funeral Directors, Ty Hedd Mynydd Garnlwyd Road, Morriston, Swansea, SA6 7QG Tel 01792 775262.

Here is a tribute published in the news column of the Evening Post –

Here is a something I wrote for the South Wales Evening.

Robert Lloyd, former deputy editor of the South Wales Evening Post and former editor of the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli, said: “It was my privilege and pleasure to work alongside Jill at the Evening Post.”With her husband (Brian Hayden), who was chief sub-editor at the paper, she was part of a formidable double act playing a key role in the Evening Post’s daily production schedule – in those days we produced several editions of the paper ‘live and on the day’, all printed on a juggernaut press housed in Adelaide Street.

“The deadlines and the production schedule were demanding, but Jill remained unflappable throughout the mayhem and industrial language that characterised newspapers back in the days of hot metal production and then, later, computerised typesetting.

“She was a highly respected writer and had honed her craft (for it was a craft in Jill’s book) at the coalface of working as a reporter.

“Accuracy was everything in Jill’s book and woe betide a junior reporter who’d played fast and loose with their ‘copy’, quotes and the facts and figures.

“Always professional, Jill expected high standards in the newsroom and there are many journalists out there who appreciated and benefitted from Jill’s advice and encouragement to sharper their skills as wordsmiths.

“Many may not recognise her from her married name of Hayden, for she carved out her early career as a journalist under the maiden name of Forwood. Jill Forwood’s name was synonymous with quality writing.

“She was a classic ‘old school journalist’ in an age when these things mattered. Her focus on good grammar and accuracy certainly stood me in good stead as a journalist.”

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