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Business rates relief scheme extended

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A further £23m in business rates relief: Announced by Rebecca Evans AS

WELSH GOVERNMENT Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans AS, has extended a business rates relief scheme.
In a written statement to the Senedd last week, the Minister announced a further twelve months’ support for all retailers in Wales with a rateable value of up to £50,000.
As a result, the Welsh Government will now provide over £1/4bn in rates reliefs for businesses.
The additional money will be fully funded by the Welsh Government and will provide support of up to £2,500 towards the rates bills for retail properties with a rateable value of up to £50,000.
It will reduce rates bills to zero for retail properties with a rateable value up to £9,100 and reduce bills by £2,500 for properties with a higher rateable value.
As well as supporting retailers on the high street, the scheme will continue to support retailers in other locations. Ratepayers benefitting from the relief include those with occupied retail premises such as shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and wine bars.
A further £2.4m will be allocated to local authorities to provide additional discretionary rates relief for local businesses and other ratepayers to respond to specific local issues. This funding will be provided through the local government settlement, taking the total being provided to local authorities for discretionary relief to £4.8m for 2020-21.
The scheme will continue to be administered by local authorities on an application basis and operates in addition to other support provided by the Welsh Government. This means that while local authorities will collect the business rates, at a cost to the local Council Taxpayer, they have little or no say in how the money collected from business rates feeds back into or supports the communities from which it is collected.
While the Welsh Government continues to tinker at the edges of business rates, as The Herald reported before Christmas there is a widespread call for the whole system to be overhauled.
In November, the Treasury Select Committee published its report on business rates.
It acknowledged the burden the current regime poses for businesses of all sectors and sizes and that it is no longer fit for purpose. It also agreed that business rates deter investment.
One solution, a commercial landowner levy based on the land value of commercial sites rather than their capital value, would shift the burden from tenants to landlords. Such a radical reform seems highly unlikely as long as the Treasury has its hooks into the billions raised by business rates. In practice, unless regulation was strict, it would enhance the desirability of obtaining tax benefits by leaving commercial sites vacant.
At the last election, every political party agreed that business rates needed reform.
Labour’s Mid and West Regional AMs Eluned Morgan and Joyce Watson welcomed the announcement.
They said as well as supporting retailers on the high street, the scheme will continue to support retailers in other locations including restaurants, cafes and public houses.
Eluned Morgan AM said: “Across Wales, 15,000 small and medium businesses will be supported in the new financial year”
Joyce Watson AM said: “I welcome this latest announcement to support local businesses. It will reduce rates bills to zero for retail properties with a rateable value up to £9,100 and support of up to £2,500 towards the rates bill for retail properties with a rateable value up to £50,000.”
Dave Matthews, who runs the Oasis bookshop in Whitland welcomed the continued support being offered saying: “We are very happy about this continuation. Oasis is much more than a shop in Whitland, it’s a drop-in centre for the community too. What makes what we do sustainable is the fact that our business is supported by this continued rate relief.”

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Business

Lead distiller named Foundation Apprentice of Year at company’s awards

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Ffion Lewis receives the Foundation Apprentice of the Year award from Arwyn Watkins, OBE, managing director of Cambrian Training Company.

FFION LEWIS has been promoted to lead distiller at award-winning In the Welsh Wind Distillery, based at Tanygroes, near Cardigan, after completing a Foundation Apprenticeship in Brewing.

Now the 22-year-old’s learning journey has been rewarded with the Foundation Apprentice of the Year award at the annual Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards held by Cambrian Training Company, one of Wales’ leading work-based learning providers.

There was a double celebration for In the Welsh Wind which also won the Small Employer of the Year award.

Ffion joined In the Welsh Wind as an apprentice distiller after returning home to Mid Wales from New Zealand where she lived for three years and has played a key role in the development of whiskey making at the distillery

With a background in laboratory work, the job was perfect for her. Having now progressed to a leadership qualification with Chwarae Teg Women’s Career Development Programme, Ffion says the Foundation Apprenticeship improved her confidence, self-esteem and employability.

Ffion, who is now supporting other apprentices within the business, said: “It means a lot to win this award. I think apprenticeships are really important. I had previously worked in a microbiology lab in New Zealand and didn’t have any experience in distilling before doing my apprenticeship.

“I was really happy to find a job in a job at In the Welsh Wind when I returned to West Wales.”

Recognising employers and learners who have excelled in apprenticeship, skills and employment training programmes delivered by Cambrian Training Company, the awards were held at The Metropole Hotel & Spa, Llandrindod Wells.

The other Foundation Apprentice of the Year finalist was Ryan Harding, 26, Kepak, Merthyr Tydfil who lives in Blaenavon.

With offices in Welshpool, Holyhead, Colwyn Bay, Llanelli and Llanelwedd, Cambrian Training Company delivers work-based apprenticeships across Wales.

Arwyn Watkins, OBE, the company’s managing director, congratulated Hannah and all the award winners and finalists for their achievement despite the challenging disruptions caused by the pandemic over the past two years.

“These awards showcase the dedication and commitment by individuals and companies to the apprenticeship programme here in Wales,” he added. “Ffion has demonstrated what can be achieved in career progression through apprenticeships.”

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

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Supporting Ceredigion’s small businesses at the Eisteddfod

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THE NATIONAL EISTEDDFOD OF WALES visiting Ceredigion will be an excellent opportunity to promote local businesses and boost the local economy.

In addition to the surge in visitors to the county, a number of Ceredigion businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity to sell their products at trade stands at the Eisteddfod.

Ceredigion County Council supports local/small businesses, and we are pleased that some have accepted the invitation to showcase their products in wooden huts at Pentre’ Ceredigion’s stand on the Maes.

We welcome the opportunity to show that Ceredigion is a good place to do business, and it will be an opportunity for the businesses to promote and sell their products.

Around 15 companies from Ceredigion will take advantage of the wooden huts during the week. These include Pethau Melys, Galeri Gwyn, Bay Coffee Roasters, CreatEmAber, Yoga Essentials, Canfas, Tonnau Surf, U Melt Me, Gwella, L P-D, Atebol, Coffi & Bara, In the Welsh Wind, Recover Eden, and Aberdabbadoo.

There will also be an opportunity for people to learn more about food and drink companies in the county during the daily cooking demonstrations at 11:30am in Pentre’ Ceredigion. Pop by for a treat for your tastebuds.

One local company who has taken advantage of this is the craft business L P-D. Lowri Pugh-Davies from Llangybi said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for my small business. I’m extremely grateful for the privilege and the chance to trade along with other businesses from Ceredigion, and only a stone throws away from my home. The experience will be even more special for me as this will be the first Eisteddfod where I’ll be taking a stand, and the biggest event for my small business. Thank you very much for the invaluable opportunity.”

Why not visit other areas in Ceredigion during the Eisteddfod period. You can get a glimpse of what the county has to offer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBFvGg23UqA

Councillor Clive Davies, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for the Economy and Regeneration, said: “Ceredigion businesses have so much to offer and the National Eisteddfod’s visit to the county is a truly fantastic opportunity to celebrate and promote that. It will be lovely to see visitors venturing to every part of Ceredigion to get a taste and support local businesses, as well as finding interesting companies on the Maes itself. Ceredigion County Council is proud to support small businesses too by offering slots in the wooden trading huts during the week. Remember to drop by.”

You can see Pentre’ Ceredigion’s full timetable on our website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/eisteddfod

You can also download the Eisteddfod app and find more Information on the Eisteddfod’s website, www.eisteddfod.cymru, and follow us on social media:

Facebook: @CeredigionCountyCouncil

Twitter: @CeredigionCC

Instagram: @CaruCeredigion

Remember to share your photos too by using the hashtags #Steddfod2022 and #EisteddfodCeredigion.

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New Quay RNLI is looking for volunteers to run the new shop

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NEW QUAY RNLI is looking for new volunteers to join their engagement team to run and manage the brand new shop being located in the centre of the town.

To entice potential volunteers the RNLI are holding an open day in the New Quay shop on Thursday 28 July. The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts.

The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service.

Catherine Jones, RNLI Community Manager for North and Mid Wales said, “We are holding an open day at the new RNLI shop in New Quay on Thursday 28 July between 11am and 3pm. The builders have recently been modifying the shop, and although the shop won’t be ready, it will give people a chance to come and take a look around and hear more about what volunteering with the RNLI means. Please do come by and say hello and find out how you can help save lives at sea.”

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