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Press releases

Executive Board expected to agree funding boost for schools in Carmarthenshire

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board is expected to agree a boost to next year’s education budget.

Despite facing the prospect of making £27million efficiency savings over the next three years, and with reduced funding from the Welsh Government, an additional £2.6million could be allocated to schools in the next financial year to lift the education budget from a cash neutral position.

The money will come from additional council funding and new grants.

Members have reviewed the strategy they approved in November following feedback from the budget consultation, and are expected to agree the proposal on February 4.

The final decision on the council’s budget for 2019-20 though lies with all 74 members of the Full Council, which will meet on February 20 to discuss the Executive Board’s recommendations.

Executive Board Member for Education, Cllr Glynog Davies, said the revised budget would be good news for schools.

“We have always tried our best to protect education from budget cuts, and that has become more and more difficult,” he said.

“In November we agreed a cash neutral budget for schools, which at the time was the best we could do given we were facing a 0.5% cut in Welsh Government funding.

“However, as Executive Board Members, we feel strongly that we need to prioritise our support for schools, reflecting the representations that have been made to us by head teachers and members of the public via the recent budget consultation.

“That is why, on February 4, we will propose to support schools with a £2.6m uplift in their budgets which equates to an additional 2.4 per cent increase on the school finances for 2019-20, lifting it from the cash neutral position we have been preparing for.

“I am sure that this critical support for schools will be welcomed, and will provide assurance that we have listened to their concerns.”

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

The team at West Wales chartered accountants Clay Shaw Butler have been busy preparing a handy calendar of tax events during 2019.

One of the biggest tax events has just gone by – the January 31 deadline for submitting self assessment returns.

Here, then, is the guide to the rest of the year . . . 


Saturday 2

Deadline for submitting P46(car) for employees whose car/fuel benefits changed during the quarter to 5th January 2019

Tuesday 19

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th February 2019


Friday 1

Advisory Fuel Rates

Sunday 3

5% late payment penalty on any 2017/18 outstanding tax which was due on 31st January 2019 and still remains unpaid

Tuesday 19

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th March 2019

Sunday 31

Last minute planning for tax year 2018/19


Friday 19

Automatic interest is charged where PAYE tax, Student loan deductions, Class 1 NI or CIS deductions for 2018/19 are not paid by today

Friday 19

PAYE quarterly payments are due for small employers for the pay periods 6th January 2019 to 5th April 2019

Friday 19

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th April 2019

Friday 19

Deadline for employers’ final PAYE return to be submitted online for 2018/19


Friday 3

Deadline for submitting P46(car) for employees whose car/fuel benefits changed during the quarter to 5 April 2019

Sunday 19

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th May 2019

Friday 31

Deadline for forms P60 for 2018/19 to be issued to employees


Saturday 1

Advisory Fuel Rates

Wednesday 19

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th June 2019


Friday 5

Deadline for reaching a PAYE Settlement Agreement for 2018/19

Saturday 6

Deadline for forms P11D and P11D(b) for 2018/19 to be submitted to HMRC and copies to be issued to employees concerned

Saturday 6

Deadline for employers to report share incentives for 2018/19

Friday 19

Class 1A NIC due for 2018/19

Friday 19

PAYE Student loan and CIS deductions due for the month to 5th July 2019

Friday 19

PAYE quarterly payments are due for small employers for the pay periods 6th April 2019 to 5th July 2019

Wednesday 31

Second payment on account 2018/19 due


Friday 2

Deadline for submitting P46 (car) for employees whose car/fuel benefits changed during the quarter to 5th July 2019

Monday 19

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th August 2019


Sunday 1

Advisory Fuel Rates

Thursday 19

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for month to 5th September 2019


Saturday 5

Deadline for notifying HMRC of new sources of taxable income or gains or liability to the High Income Child Benefit Charge for 2018/19 if no tax return has been issued

Saturday 19

Tax and NI due under a 2018/19 PAYE Settlement Agreement

Saturday 19

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th October 2019

Saturday 19

PAYE quarterly payments are due for small employers for the pay periods 6th July 2019 to 5th October 2019

Thursday 31

Deadline for submitting ‘paper’ 2018/19 self assessment returns

Thursday 31

Deadline for submission of 2018/19 self assessment returns if you require HMRC to compute your tax liability and/or if tax underpaid is to be collected by adjustment to your 2020/21 PAYE code


Saturday 2

Deadline for submitting P46(car) for employees whose car/fuel benefits changed during the quarter to 5th October 2019

Tuesday 19

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th November 2019


Sunday 1

Advisory Fuel Rates

Thursday 19

PAYE, Student loan and CIS deductions are due for the month to 5th December 2019

Monday 30

Online filing deadline for submitting 2018/19 self assessment return if you require HMRC to collect any underpaid tax by making an adjustment to your 2020/21 tax code

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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Pupils have the recipe for success in Llanelli Rotary Young Chef competition

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Watch your step James Martin and Jamie Oliver; there’s some competition for you on the horizon from the talented schoolchildren of Llanelli.

Llanelli Rotary Club staged their seventh annual Young Chef competition at St John Lloyd School.

“It was a wonderful occasion and a great showpiece for the culinary skills of young Llanelli and Burry Port pupils and budding chefs,” said Llanelli Rotary President Alison Evans.

The title of Llanelli Rotary Club Young Chef 2019 went to Josi Robinson, a 13-year-old Year 9 pupil from Glanymor School in Burry Port.

The winning three-course meal for two consisted of – Starter: Flat wild mushrooms, stuffed with garlic and bacon lardons, rocket salad and tomato salsa. Main course: Harissa salmon steaks, cauliflower tabbouleh and pan-seared courgettes. Dessert: Cranberry and cinnamon poached pear with honey yoghurt.

“It was a well-planned menu, cooked with a sense of style and well presented,” said senior judge Stewart Williams, the development chef at Castell Howell foods in Cross Hands.

His judging colleagues, Doreen Martin, food technology teacher at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr School in Llandeilo, and Simon Davies, head chef at Llanelly House, were equally impressed.

Doreen said: “All seven contestants worked really hard and coped well with the stress of cooking to a competition deadline. It was a difficult competition to judge, but we were all in agreement and felt that Josi was a very worthy winner.”

The runner-up was Mia Rees, a 15-year-old Year 10 pupil at St John Lloyd School.

Her menu was – Starter: Couscous and prawn salad stack. Main course: Stuffed chicken ballontine with spinach, potatoes and red wine sauce. Dessert: Meringue and raspberry coulis.

The Llanelli competition also doubled up as the Area Rotary Final. The winner received a trophy and now goes forward to the next round of the nationwide Rotary competition and a district final in Haverfordwest on March 2.

In addition, the winner and runner-up will also get to spend some ‘work experience’ time working alongside head chef Simon Davies at Llanelly House.

All the contestants received souvenir inscribed wooden spoons and aprons.

The winner, Josi Robinson, also received a gift token and recipe book.

The MC for the evening was Rotarian Past President Robert Lloyd and the organising team included Rotarians Kevin Jones and Alison Evans.

The evening was well attended by Rotarians, family and friends of the contestants and teaching staff. They all got a chance to sample the menus at the end of the competition.

The Young Chef tournament is part of a national competition organised by Rotary International Britain and Ireland (RIBI).

Llanelli Rotary President Alison Evans said: “RIBI believes it is highly important to encourage and develop creativity in young people, and this includes creativity in the kitchen.

“Cooking among young people is a growing interest and a valuable life skill. Schools seem to agree and hence the RIBI Young Chef competition moves forward from strength to strength each year producing some superb quality cooking from our young people.”

The competition was open to students aged 11 to 17 years. The challenge was to prepare a three-course meal for two people in two hours, with a budget of £20.

Mrs Evans said: “The standard was exceptional and the judges were full of praise for the effort, ambition and creative ingenuity of the young chefs.

“Our grateful thanks go to St John Lloyd School for hosting the event, to all the pupils who took part and to the mums, dads and others who turned up on the night to add a real buzz to the competition.”

Other contestants were –

Katie Duffy, aged 14, Year 10 St John Lloyd School.

Alana Morris, 15, Year 11 Bryngwyn School.

Evie-Marie Pritchard, 13, Year 9 Coedcae School.

Dion Protheroe, 14, Year 9 Glanymor School.

Amy Reilly, 16, Year 11 Bryngwyn School.

RIBI Young Chef is designed to encourage young people to: 

  • Develop cookery skills
  • Develop food presentation skills
  • Consider healthy eating options and food hygiene issues
  • Prove their organisational and planning skills
  • Prove their ability to cope in a demanding situation.


The seven competitors with Llanelli Rotary Club President Alison Evans.

Llanelli Rotary Club President with Young Chef winner Josi Robinson, right, and runner-up Mia Rees.

The seven competitors with Llanelli Rotary Club President Alison Evans and two of the judges, Simon Davies, left, and Doreen Martin, right.

Rotarians and spectators sampling the food after the event.

Competitors hard at work under the expert eyes of judges Stewart Williams, Simon Davies and Doreen Martin.

The winning three-course meal as cooked by Josi Robinson.

Link to photo album –


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Press releases

Defence Secretary visits Woody’s Lodge in the Vale of Glamorgan

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Defence, and the Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales, visited Woody’s Lodge at the Amelia Trust Farm in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The visit was to gain an insight into the work being carried out to support vulnerable veterans and their families.

Woody’s Lodge is a partner in Project 360°, along with Age Cymru and Age Alliance Wales, that helps improve support services for veterans.

An equivalent Lodge has been set up at Eirias Park in Colwyn Bay, alongside two satellite offices in Rhyl and Wrexham. 

With the support of Age Cymru, Woody’s Lodge provides safe spaces for armed service veterans, recent leavers, reservists and those who served in the emergency services to socialise and access a wide range of health and social services.

Both Lodges provide veterans with an opportunity to be themselves and interact with people who have had similar experiences.

The facilities at Amelia Trust based Lodge include sports activities, gardens, and nature areas that will enable the project to support the wider needs of veterans and their families.N

Woody’s Lodge is a partner in Project 360° alongside Age Cymru and Age Alliance Wales through which the development of Woody’s Lodges’ Barry and Colwyn Bay sites are being funded.

Project 360° is funded by the Aged Veterans Fund funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR money until March 2020.

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Phil Evans

Blog posts

The latest Phil Evans column

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy. This column appears in the South Wales Evening Post, Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star. Website – www.philevans.co.uk


“Meet The Gang, ’Cos The Boys Are Here. 

The Boys To Entertain You!”

Many readers will recognise the song that opened all 56 episodes of the BBC sitcom “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum!”.

It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and based on their wartime experiences with army concert parties in Burma and India.

It’s hard making people laugh in comedy clubs. How tough must it have been with gunfire and explosions close by?

One of the stars of the series, Windsor Davies, sadly passed away recently, aged 88. 

His character in the sitcom, Battery Sergeant Major Bryn Williams, was truly memorable.  

Viewers roared with laughter whenever he loudly voiced his disapproval of the hopeless entertainers in uniform – a motley crew he constantly failed to discipline into a fighting force.

The Sgt Major was always troubled by Bombardier ‘Gloria’ Beaumont, played by Melvyn Hayes, and ‘Mister Lah-Dee-Dah’ Gunner Graham, played by John Clegg.

The series ran from 1974 to 1981 and had regular audiences of 17 million! I’d better repeat that in capital letters – 17 MILLION!

Last Christmas, BBC bosses were delighted when “Call The Midwife” was watched by 9 million! 

Times have changed and the BBC refuse to repeat “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” because they say it’s racist. 

Although Perry and Croft denied these accusations, their protestations that the Indian characters always outwitted the ‘idiotic’ British officers were stifled by the BBC, who couldbe accused of hypocrisy.

Because not only are they happy to make money from a series they disdain – every episode is available on BBC DVD – the Gold channel, part-owned by the BBC, often repeats another Perry and Croft comedy classic “Are You Being Served?” 

The sitcom features thinly-disguised innuendo about Mrs. Slocombe’s cat; the outrageously camp Mister Humphries; and ‘Young’ Mister Grace, a man so ancient he’s helped around by a busty young blonde nurse.

So that’s okay then!

In view of the BBC’s refusal to repeat “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum!”, I’ve rewritten the opening song…

“You Can’t Meet The Gang, ’Cos The Boys Aren’t Here.

They’re Not Allowed To Entertain You!”


They do say that travel broadens the mind.

It has its benefits no doubt – and for those that are blessed with the ability to get about and see the word, life can be enhanced in so many ways.

For me, travel takes me away from the day to day challenges, pressure of work and constant demands that many of us face, in this fast-paced world that we now live in. 

I’m lucky to have work-related activities that allow me to travel. 

Time away often gives me a chance to think and reflect – a welcome opportunity to clear my head and process the important things in life. 

At times like this I find that I’m at my creative best.

Possibly because I have an opportunity to watch and observe other people and cultures, which over the years has provided me with some truly inspirational writing and comedy gold.

Yes, this is me watching you. Another blessing. 

By the way – I’m not keen on camping. Let’s face it, life can be hard enough as it is!


You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales and www.philevans.co.uk

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Robert Lloyd

Blog posts

The latest ‘On Song’ column from the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The members of the Hospital Notes Choir, based in Llanelli, have been busy getting ready for their BBC Radio Wales debut.

Producers from the popular Roy Noble radio programme visited rehearsals this week to record a session for the show’s Choir of the Week slot.

And the item is scheduled to be broadcast on the Roy Noble Show on BBC Radio Wales on Sunday, February 3.

The Hospital Notes Choir was founded last year to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the National Health Service.

Choir member Linda Williams explained it has been an eventful and exciting first year for the choristers.

She said: “The choir was founded to bring together colleagues from the hospital and community sectors, past and present, to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the NHS.

“The aim was to perform a concert for patients and staff on the official NHS Anniversary day on July 5 last year.

“The performance was held outside the restaurant in Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli. It was a huge success, with fantastic feedback from patients, visitors and staff.

“Such was its success that members asked that the choir should continue beyond the NHS celebrations. To that end, from the autumn of 2018, the choir was reformed and expanded.”

The choristers set down three aims –

  • improve the mental health and wellbeing for our members
  • give joy to patients
  • give back to the community.

Linda added: “We secured the talented leadership and direction of our musical directors Andrew Harries and Stacey Harris. We rehearsed weekly at Prince Philip Hospital.

“Our first concert performance was at Dafen Church at the Remembrance Service. We also sang at “Their Light Still Shines” service at the National Botanic Gardens in Llanarthne.

“We sang at the Prince Philip Hospital Carol Service and performed Christmas Carols around the wards at both Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, and Prince Philip Hospital. 

“We continue to go from strength to strength, with a busy and diverse performance schedule for 2019. We are excited and proud to have become the only integrated health, care and emergency services choir in the UK. 

“We believe that the choir is a way of creating a wonderful community, getting to know people that you may never have come in to contact with and forging new friendships. Being able to sing is not as important as wanting to have fun and be part of the choir.

“The rehearsals and performances and the fundraising activities of the choir all support our well-being and provides us with the opportunity of giving back to our community.

“As a choir, during 2019, we will be raising money for Motor Neurone Disease (MND). We have designed a “7 Peaks Challenge”. This involves walking up the highest mountain of each Health Board in Wales. Once at the summit, we will be singing! Family and friends of the choristers will be joining us on this challenge, giving it a real community spirit.”

Meanwhile, the Llanelli-based Lleisiau Hardd choir will be getting their 2019 programme off to a flying start with an ‘Evening of Music’ at The Hyst in High Street, Swansea.

There will be soloists and items from Lleisiau Hardd members old and new, with curtain up at 7pm on Wednesday, January 30.

The ‘boys’ of Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir will be helping the chairman of Llanelli Rural Council raise money for charity when they perform their St David’s Day concert.

The concert will take the form of a Cawl a Chân evening at The Diplomat Hotel in Llanelli on Thursday, February 28 (7pm).

The chairman of Llanelli Rural Council Councillor Sian Caiach has chosen three charities to support during her year of office – Breakthro’ Llanelli, Llanelli Railway Strike Riots 1911 Commemorative Committee and Wales Air Ambulance.

Tickets at £12.00 each are available from Llanelli Rural Council, Vauxhall Buildings, Llanelli

Tel. 01554 774103 Email: enquiries@llanelli-rural.gov.uk

Over in Llandybie, Côr Merched Tybie’s next big concert is one being arranged in memory of Elyth Morris, who sadly died last year.

Elyth lived in Llandybie for more than 60 years after marrying Idris Morris (Morris Bakers).

She was very active in the community, being a member of the WI and the Mothers’ Union.

She was the organist at Llandybie Church for 60 years and was also a member of Côr Merched Tybie.

Dorothy Singh came up with the idea of a concert for Elyth, knowing her love of music and her musical contribution to the community over many years.

Dorothy’s amazingly talented pupils will be playing at the concert. Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi will also perform.

The concert will raise funds to set up a programme that will run from St Tybie Church in Llandybie.

The idea is to reach out and make music accessible to all – “making music – changing lives”.

The new venture will be run by a local musician and music teacher Dorothy Singh. The idea is to give local children the opportunity to learn and enjoy music.

The concert will be held on Friday, February 1, 7pm.

This Sunday, February 3, will see the annual Llanelli Rotary Club Young Musician of the Year contest, being staged at Ysgol y Strade from 12.30pm.

The competition will feature musicians and singers. The instrumental part of the competition starts at 12.30pm, with the vocalists taking centre stage at 2.30pm.

Competition organiser Rotarian Cerith Owens said: “This year’s competition has proved more popular than ever and we think we have a record number of contestants taking part. Mums and dads and members of the public are welcome to turn up to watch.”

February sees The Opera Boys back at The Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen.

The boys are back with a brand new show, full of opera, classical, West End and crossover music, as well as their unique on-stage banter.

Combining four big voices with four big personalities, The Opera Boys promise a fabulous show full of music and laughter!

Operatic arias and classical favourites from ‘Nessun Dorma’ to ‘Time to say goodbye’ are mixed with showstoppers from ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’ right through to ‘Jersey Boys’.

The show also features brand new classical arrangements of modern day pop hits, all performed in The Opera Boys’ inimitable style.

The Opera Boys have been delighting audiences all over the world with their unique show combining beautiful, powerful and emotional music with funny, engaging and light-hearted entertainment.

They are at The Lyric at 7.30pm on Friday, February 8.

Mid Wales Opera return to Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli at 7.30pm on Wednesday, February 27.

They will sing Puccini’s Tosca.

Power and passion collide in this breathtaking masterpiece.

Trapped in a life and death struggle against the corrupt police chief Scarpia, the diva Tosca and her artist lover face the ultimate sacrifice.

Puccini’s lavish score takes audiences on an emotional rollercoaster ride from tender love story through powerful brutality to ultimate tragedy. The opera will be performed in English.

The Miners’ Theatre in Ammanford will be staging a St David’s Day Concert on Friday, March 1 (7pm).

The popular Cor Meibion Dyffryn Amman will share the stage with three highly-talented young musicians from the Ammanford area – clarinettist Catrin Soons and the beautiful voices of Neve Summers and Osian Clarke. The guest accompanist will be Joseph Cavalli-Price.

Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli always stages a hugely-popular St David’s Day concert. This year it will be held on Saturday, March 2.

The concert will feature the world-famous Morriston Orpheus Choir, conducted by Joy Amman Davies, and Côr Lleisiau’r Cwm, under the baton of Llanelli’s Catrin Hughes.

Sharing the spotlight will be two highly-talented young singers from the Loud Applause Rising Stars stable – mezzo soprano Nikkila Thomas, from Llanelli, and tenor Osian Clarke, from Tycroes. 

The busy ladies of Côr Curiad Choir in Llanelli are looking forward to another big year of charity fundraising.

The choir’s main event this year will be on Saturday, April 6, at Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli.

Their special guest will be TV star and X Factor winner Sam Bailey and her band.

The evening will also feature Ysgol y Strade pupil Martha Morgan and Angharad Elise Thomas, who runs her own drama company called The Hive in Llanelli.

All proceeds from the Llanelli Côr Curiad concert will go to Marie Curie Wales.

The compere will be TV and radio personality and ‘local hero’ Kev Johns MBE. Tickets are £32 and £28.

Côr Curiad musical director Alex Esney said: “It’s the first time Sam has performed in Llanelli, so we are very excited.

“We are hoping to smash our charity fundraising target of £20,000 by the end of this year.”

Robert Lloyd works as a media consultant – www.rlloydpr.co.uk

If you have any news about the choral scene in Llanelli, then please contact him on 07777 683637 or email rlloydpr@btinternet.com

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