WALES’ fire services failed to reclaim £6.2m in VAT receipts for almost three years, it has been revealed.
The news that £6.2m went unclaimed until March 2016 emerged in a Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service authority meeting on Thursday, September 29.
Elizabeth Aitken, the authority’s Assistant Chief Officer, said no VAT money was lost and ‘the whole of this amount has now been claimed’.
The budget for the fire service was not affected by this mistake.
Initially, however, money had to be borrowed to cover the shortfall, which resulted in the fire authority paying £46,000 in interest.
The reason for the error was staff sickness and a changeover in the fire service’s financial department, they said.
Cardigan charity represented at food poverty launch
THE CARDIGAN-BASED charity Jig-so was represented at the Wales launch by the National Federation of Institutes (NFWI) on the issue of food poverty.
The event hosted by Mid and West AM Simon Thomas in the National Assembly considered some of the key challenges in addressing the issue.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said: “I was very pleased to welcome Jigso to the National Assembly. I think it is important we showcase some of the tremendous work being down in west Wales in our national parliament. I know Jigso has done much over the years to help families understand good nutrition and to help give access to sadly-needed food banks.”
“The WI used the event to launch their food matters campaign around food poverty and access to good food and we need to hear from all parts of Wales.”
This work follows on from the Great Food Debates project, undertaken in 2013, which saw WIs and county federations organise over a hundred food discussion events to consider the issue of food security.
Linda Grace, Chair of Trustees of Jig-So added: “We appreciated Simon Thomas’ invitation to attend this important event which he sponsored on behalf of the Women’s Institute who have a strong and long standing reputation on leading campaigns on “what matters”. Simon is a long time supporter of Jig-So’s work and our work on alleviating food poverty. A strong advocate of supporting community groups and small third sector bodies with an awareness of the rural context.”
Police say safeguarding children is ‘everybody’s business’
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is urging people to speak out if they spot signs of adults developing inappropriate relationships with children in their community.
Sunday, March 18, is the national awareness day for Child Sexual Exploitation led by the charity National Working Group.
Safeguarding children is everybody’s business. Any child can be sexually exploited no matter what culture, ethnicity, religion, background or gender.
To support this day, all this week officers and staff from the force’s child sexual exploitation investigators team, Police On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), school officers and frontline officers have been targeting suspects and children identified as potential victims as well as visiting hotspot areas, schools and groups to encourage the public to think, spot and speak out about child sexual exploitation.
Dyfed-Powys police will be supporting the campaign through social media. Look out for the hashtags on Twitter: #CSE #CSEDay18 #HelpingHands.
Child Sexual Exploitation Coordinator for Dyfed-Powys Police, Linda Elias, said: “Child sexual exploitation is everybody’s business and is happening in our communities. This is not an issue isolated to more urban areas of the UK, we know it is happening locally and we are working hard to identify and protect those children who are vulnerable and also deal with the adults who are taking advantage of children.
“We have police officers trained to recognise the early signs of CSE that can identify children at risk, but we all have a role to play in ensuring our children are safe. Please, if you suspect someone in your family, social group of wider community is being exploited by any adult report it immediately to police by calling 101.
“Exploited children are almost always too frightened or ashamed to ask for help themselves, and members of the community including hoteliers, restaurant owners, community shops or youth facility leaders, are urged to speak out if they see when someone or something suspicious.
“By passing their concerns on to the police they could potentially save a child from the nightmare of CSE.”
Regional Dyfed-Powys SchoolBeat Programme Manager, Bethan James, said: “It is vital that we raise awareness of CSE with our children and the staff working in our schools. Designated school officers have been trained to deliver these sessions. School Community Police are delivering targeted age appropriate CSE sessions in schools as part of the wider SchoolBeat Cymru Programme.
They have the current, up to date knowledge and understanding in order to inform, prevent and protect our children.”
Detective Sergeant at the Police On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), Mathew Davies, said: “Our team of specialist staff and officers, consisting of Detectives, Digital Media Investigators, Forensic Examiners and analytical staff, are targeting those who exploit children, carrying out warrants across the whole Dyfed-Powys force area. The work of POLIT is helping to speed up the investigation of offences and bring more offenders to justice.”
Nichola Rance, Coordinator for witness and victim service Goleudy, said: “Sadly, it is a fact that CSE is occurring in the counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys. I fully support the national CSE awareness day as it helps to raise awareness of abuse of children that should not be ignored. I would urge anyone who has witnessed CSE or is a victim of CSE to contact Goleudy for support. We are an independent service for victims and witnesses of crime and we have highly skilled advisors who can listen and support people through distressing times in their lives.”
Spot the signs of CSE:
- Being secretive
- He or she stops engaging with their usual friends
- Associating with older men or women
- Going missing
- Being defensive about where they are and what they are doing
- Receiving odd calls or messages
- Possessing new, expensive items that they may have received as gifts
To report CSE in your community call 101 today.
For more information on CSE Awareness Day visit: www.stop-cse.org.
Seven-week-old puppy dumped in garden
RSPCA CYMRU is appealing for information after a seven-week-old puppy was found dumped in a shoebox.
The young Staffordshire bull terrier type pup – who has now been named Molly – was found in a garden at Bro Llethi, Llanarth, on Monday (March 12).
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “This small defenceless puppy has been callously abandoned on her own in a shoebox. The caller very kindly took care of the puppy until we arrived. It is believed she was dumped between the hours of 3pm and 6pm on Monday.
“She was taken to a vet for an assessment and has a fracture growth plate injury on her leg which must be uncomfortable for her so will require treatment. However, she’s doing okay despite her ordeal and is now safe in RSPCA care. We’re keeping a close eye on her.”
The animal welfare charity is now appealing for information to try and find out who abandoned this dog.
RSPCA inspector Hobgen added: “It is just so sad that someone felt that they had no option other than to leave this poor pup out in the cold on her own.
“If anyone has any information about this incident we urge them to contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence.”
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, you can donate online.
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