Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board have removed more than half a million pounds worth of proposed savings from the budget it has recommended to Full Council.
A number of proposals have been taken completely off the table, whilst others have been frozen or delayed for a year.
If approved by Full Council on February 20, it means Council Tax will increase by 4.89 per cent – a level which will allow the council to deliver services and invest in key areas, whilst minimising the impact on the public.
Cllr David Jenkins, Executive Board Member for Resources, said a better than expected budget settlement from Welsh Government helped the Executive Board set its draft revenue budget.
However, he pointed out that additional pressures – particularly in social care – meant it was in effect a real terms reduction.
Many of the proposals taken out of the recommended budget are those most strongly objected to in the recent budget consultation, including reduced winter gritting operations.
A number of proposals have been deferred, including proposed reductions to Youth Support Services and Educational Psychology, and the proposed closure of the Pendine Outdoor Education Centre.
Meanwhile, school meal prices and car parking fees have been frozen, and extra money has been put in to the budget for education and social care.
Speaking at Executive Board, Cllr Jenkins said: “One thing that is generally clear from those who took part in the consultation is that they do appreciate that difficult choices need to be made.
“Adopting these proposals allows the Executive Board to present a fair and balanced budget to County Council, which responds to the major concerns fed back from the consultation and provides significant extra resource to critical services.
“I as portfolio member for Resources, and member colleagues, have really tried to listen both to the public and fellow members’ concerns and respond accordingly.”
He added: “I would like to express my thanks to all who took part in the consultation or responded to the surveys. This allowed significant debate on the budget and has provided overall significant feedback to us in respect of the original proposals put forward.
“However I must say this year we received a poor response from the community and we will need to look next year as to how we get the public back engaged.”
The team from West Wales chartered accountants Clay Shaw Butler have issued a reminder – the following Tax Events are due on 19th February 2019:
Business Tax Events
PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th February 2019
This deadline is relevant to employers who have made PAYE deductions from their employees’ salaries and to contractors who have paid subcontractors under the CIS.
Employers are required to make payment to HMRC of the income tax, national insurance and student loan deductions. Contractors are required to make payment to HMRC of the tax deductions made from subcontractors under the CIS.
Where the payment is made electronically the deadline for receipt of cleared payment is 22nd February 2019. In year interest will be charged if payment is made late. Penalties also apply.
Harry Potter’s life lessons, the benefits of social media, the dangers of technology, exam factory schools and the lessons we can learn from Paddington Bear . . .
These were among the topics debated in the annual Llanelli Rotary Club Youth Speaks competition held at Llanelli Town Hall.
“The quality of the arguments presented was outstanding and the children taking part reflected great credit on their schools, teachers and families,” said the chairman of the judging panel Lt Colonel David Mathias.
The competition doubled up as a Rotary South West Wales Area Final, with the winners going through to a District Final to be staged on March 16 in Abergavenny. The competition has a regional final, with the carrot of a place in a National Rotary Final in Nottingham in May.
In the junior intermediate section, the team from Coedcae School won the Llanelli Rotary Club competition. The Area final in the intermediate section was won by Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bryn Tawe from Penlan, Swansea.
The team from St John Lloyd School in Llanelli competed in the senior category Area Final by default by virtue of being the sole entrants from the town.
The team from Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe took the honours in senior Area competition to progress to the District Final.
The competition attracted entries from St John Lloyd and Coedcae schools in Llanelli and Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe, representing Swansea.
Lt Col Mathias said: “The standard in the competition was exceptionally high – as it is every year – and the competitors made the judging task a very difficult one.”
Llanelli Rotary Club president Alison Evans explained that the Youth Speaks event offered an opportunity for Llanelli pupils to gain experience of speaking on a public platform.
She said: “It allows young people to form ideas on significant subjects and learn high standards of expression, presentation and appearance. It also gives pupils the experience of accepting impartial assessments and constructive criticism.”
The competition was run to a national Rotary format, which included a question from the floor. The main speaker for each team faced the daunting task of fielding an unrehearsed question from Llanelli Rotary Associate member Ieuan Griffiths.
Llanelli Rotary President Mrs Evans added: “The youngsters coped admirably with the questions – not an easy task in front of a full house at the Town Hall. It was a very entertaining and thought-provoking evening with some challenging arguments being put forward by pupils who had obviously done their homework and research.”
Best Intermediate Team – Coedcae (who debated ‘The benefits of social media’). Team members – Chair Evie Pritchard, Speaker April Coslett, Vote of Thanks Proposer Rhys Morgan.
Best Chair – Evie Pritchard, Coedcae.
Best Speaker – April Coslett, Coedcae.
Best Proposer of Vote of Thanks – Leo Huntley, St John Lloyd.
Best Intermediate Team – Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe (who debated ‘This House believes that Harry Potter teaches us some of life’s most important lessons). Team members – Chair Steffan Thomas, Speaker Sonny Tregembo, Vote of Thanks Proposer Jonah Eccott.
Best Chair – Steffan Thomas, Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe.
Best Speaker – April Coslett, Coedcae.
Best Proposer of Vote of Thanks – Jonah Eccott, Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe.
Senior Area competition
Best Senior Team – Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe (who debated ‘Is there more to Paddington Bear than his love of marmalade?’). Team members – Chair Caitlin White, Speaker Manon Keeble, Vote of Thanks Proposer Nansi Eccott.
Best Chair – Meg Lewis, St John Lloyd.
Best Speaker – Manon Keeble, Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe.
Best Proposer of Vote of Thanks – Nansi Eccott, Ysgol Gyfun Bryn Tawe.
The judging panel was – Lt Colonel David Mathias, Deputy Lord Lieutenant and distinguished military historian (chair), Joanna Poulson-Jenkins, elocution teacher and speech and language coach, and Judith Thomas, West Wales bank manager with Lloyds Bank.
The MC for the evening was Rotarian Past President Robert Lloyd and the timekeeper was Rotarian Alan Bodman.
The event was organised by a team led by Rotarians Joanna Isaac and Dr Kevin Jones. Prizes were handed out by Llanelli Rotary Club President Alison Evans.
The judges: Joanna Poulson-Jenkins, David Mathias, Judith Thomas.
The audience at Llanelli Town Hall, including the Chairman of Carmarthenshire Council Cllr Mansel Charles, the Chairman of Llanelli Rural Council Cllr Sian Caiach, the Deputy Mayor of Llanelli Cllr Suzy Curry.
St John Lloyd Junior team – Ben Cooper, Niamh Howells, Leo Huntley. Pictured with Rotarians Joanna Isaac and Kevin Jones.
Ysgol Gyfun Bryan Tawe Junior team – Sonny Tregembo, Steffan Thomas, Jonah Eccott. Pictured with President of Morriston Rotary Club Gordon Wellington and Llanelli Rotarians Joanna Isaac and Kevin Jones.
St John Lloyd Senior team – Thomas Toft, Meg Lewis, Denise Agudilla. Pictured with Rotarians Joanna Isaac and Kevin Jones.
Ysgol Gyfun Bryan Tawe Senior team – Manon Keeble, Caitlin White, Nansi Eccott. Pictured with President of Morriston Rotary Club Gordon Wellington and Llanelli Rotarians Joanna Isaac and Kevin Jones.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proud to announce its role as a Stonewall Cymru Diversity Champion, promoting inclusion and equality for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) staff and the community.
A previous top 20 employer on Stonewall Cymru’s Workplace Equality Index, the council has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting LGBT employees by joining the Champions scheme, with a view to renewing its place on the Index.
Cllr Cefin Campbell, the council’s Equalities Champion, said: “Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserves to be treated equally, and as a major employer we are proud to reaffirm our commitment and support to our LGBT colleagues, especially during LGBT History Month.
“We are delighted to work with Stonewall Cymru to ensure our workplace is truly inclusive. As a Diversity Champion we benefit from being part of a large network of employers, with expert guidance and support to ensure our strategies and policies truly work for our employees and citizens.”
Cllr Mair Stephens, Executive Board Member with responsibility for human resources, added: “We are fully committed to equality of opportunity and actively promote diversity to create an environment in which all staff feel equally welcomed and valued.”
Stonewall is Europe’s largest lesbian, gay, bi and trans charity. The Diversity Champions programme is the leading employers’ programme for ensuring all LGBT staff are accepted without exception in the workplace.
Stonewall Cymru’s Director, Andrew White, said: “We are excited to see Carmarthenshire County Council re-join the Diversity Champions programme. The aim of the programme is to help organisations progress their LGBT inclusion work through tailored support and best practice sharing. Over the next twelve months and beyond we will be working together to look at all aspects of the organisation from recruitment and training to community engagement, all with the aim of ensuring that LGBT equality is embedded in to all aspects of the council’s work.”
The fifth annual Young Musician competition organised by Llanelli Rotary Club saw performances of the highest standard.
“All the competitors were a credit to their parents and their teachers and helped showcase what a wonderful range of youth talent we have in and around Llanelli,” said the chairman of the judging panel, Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir musical director D Eifion Thomas.
The final of the Llanelli Rotary Club competition also doubled up as the Rotary Area Final, with the winners going through to the third round, a Welsh District Final in Blackwood, Gwent, on March 9.
The Young Musician event is a national competition. The target is to get through to the Rotary International Britain and Ireland final.
The Llanelli Rotary Club Final and Area Final was split into two categories – instrumental and vocal.
The Llanelli Rotary instrumental competition was won by 16-year-old Amelia Jane Lee, a pupil at Gower College in Gorseinon.
The runner-up was 15-year-old Abbie Morgan, of Coedcae School, Llanelli.
Amelia Jane Lee took the Area title, with Morgan Bird, aged 17, of Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr in Gowerton, the runner-up.
Amelia Jane Lee’s programme of music featured Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum by Debussy and Shui Cao Wu by Ming xin du.
The winner of the vocalist competition (in both the Llanelli and Area events) was James Oakley, aged 14, of Ysgol y Strade.
The vocal competition as so competitive there was little to choose between the top four contestants.
The judges took the unusual step of giving a joint runners-up award to Daisy Owens, aged 16 of Ysgol y Strade and Loud Applause Rising Stars, and Osian Clarke, 17, head boy of Ysgol Dyffryn Amman and a member of Loud Applause Rising Stars.
James Oakley’s programme of music featured Anfonaf Angel, Can yr Arad Goch and Stars from Les Miserables.
The finals were staged at the impressive music studio facilities at Ysgol y Strade in Llanelli.
“It would be fair to say that the talent on display was quite remarkable,” said Llanelli Rotary President Alison Evans.
“I was blown away by the quality of musicianship and singing – and I know the audience at Ysgol y Strade felt the same.
The judges were Mr D Eifion Thomas and the celebrated organist Allan Fewster MBE.
The competition organisers were Rotarians Cerith Owens and Kevin Jones.
The compere was Rotarian and Past President of Llanelli Rotary Robert Lloyd.
Amelia Jane Lee
Instrumental winner and contestants: Llanelli Rotary Club president Alison Evans with, left to right, Morgan Bird, Abbie Morgan, Amelia Jane Lee (winner), Catherine Phillips and Ellen May Jones.
Vocal winner and contestants: Llanelli Rotary Club president Alison Evans with, left to right, Imogen Price, Amelia Rachel Cliffe, Osian Clarke, James Oakley, Daisy Owens, Lauren Fisher, Ellen May Jones and Catherine Phillips.