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Vision shared for the Mid Wales economy

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Today, the Leaders of the Growing Mid Wales Board have shared their vision for the Mid Wales economy and progressing the Mid Wales Growth Deal with the Welsh and UK Governments.

Councillors Rosemarie Harris and Ellen ap Gwynn are the leaders of Powys County Council and Ceredigion County Council as well as the Growing Mid Wales Board. They shared their vision with the Welsh Government’s Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates MS, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters MS and David TC Davies MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales.

In constructive discussions during a virtual meeting on 11 June 2020, they discussed a range of concerns, from the impact of the current pandemic and ensuring the Growth Deal plays its part of the broader strategy in recovering and growing the Mid Wales economy to the future.

In a joint statement, Councillors Harris and ap Gwynn said: “Our vision is ambitious, but achievable. We have worked closely with businesses and across Mid Wales to put our vision together.

The Coronavirus pandemic fundamentally affect our daily lives in a way that we have never seen. We are already seeing significant economic impacts globally, nationally and across Mid Wales.

Rather than pause the Growth Deal in order to understand this effect in more detail, it is imperative that we prepare the ground now for the recovery that will inevitably need to follow.

It’s an exciting step to be able to share our vision. Our plan is to use the Growth Deal to leverage further funding in partnership with both Governments to support much needed investment in the communities of the region by providing good quality jobs, and significant and sustainable growth.”

Work will now continue in earnest throughout the year to aim towards agreement of the Heads of Terms for the Growth Deal later in the year, before a Full Deal Agreement can be reached once programme level business cases are in place.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies MP said: “The Mid Wales Growth Deal will contribute to the recovery of the region following the coronavirus pandemic. By working closely with the people who live and work in mid Wales we can capitalise on the region’s strengths and realise its full potential.

“I am encouraged by the progress that has already been made and look forward to seeing the development of projects that create jobs and economic growth.”

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Economy, Lee Waters, said: “The Mid Wales Growth Deal has the potential to play an important part in the economic recovery of the region post-coronavirus and I’m pleased to see the progress made up to this point.

“Whilst an important milestone has been reached in setting out the vision and roadmap for a Growth Deal, further work is now needed to develop a programme of activities which can clearly demonstrate what can be delivered across the region and the outcomes to be achieved. This will be critical in reaching a point where Governments and the region can agree Heads of Terms and determine funding.

“The Welsh Government remains committed to working closely and constructively with regional partners and the UK Government to explore how a Growth Deal can benefit the area and its residents.”

The document that was submitted to the Welsh and UK Governments can be found here: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/your-council/partnerships/growing-mid-wales/ or https://en.powys.gov.uk/article/5547/Growing-Mid-Wales

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A glimpse at the first few weeks of Penweddig’s new Headteacher

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Penweddig Comprehensive School has appointed a new Headteacher to lead the school.

Dr Rhodri Thomas joins the school after a period as a Deputy Headteacher at Glantaf Welsh Comprehensive School and Cardigan Secondary School.

Originally from Carmarthen, he was educated at Bro Myrddin Welsh Comprehensive School. He studied Chemistry at Oxford University, before studying for a doctorate degree at Edinburgh. He continues to be an ambassador emphasizing the importance of the sciences, and he is the author of a number of A Level Welsh and English textbooks in Chemistry.

Dr Rhodri Thomas, Head of Penweddig Comprehensive School, said: “I started my career in higher education by working in universities in the UK, USA and Australia. I was inspired by the work of educating students, and in particular by the outreach work with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. I saw the difference an individual can make to the lives of children and young people. I moved to work in secondary schools about twenty years ago, and I’ve spent my career in Welsh medium and bilingual schools – I strongly believe in the importance of our work to develop Welsh citizens. In my work at Penweddig, I will focus on nurturing ambition in all pupils and supporting them to develop the skills and qualities to achieve their aspirations. That’s the privilege of being a teacher – we work to help pupils fulfil their dreams.”

Meinir Ebbsworth, Ceredigion County Council Corporate Lead Officer for Schools and Culture, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Rhodri Thomas to Penweddig, and we look forward to continuing to work together for the benefit of all pupils and staff in the school.”

Ceredigion County Council would like to thank Rhian Morgan for her work as an Acting Headteacher, and wish Dr Rhodri Thomas well as he takes over.

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Businesses reminded to keep to the coronavirus rules

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Businesses in Ceredigion are reminded to keep to the coronavirus rules to avoid a rise in cases.

Businesses are reminded to be consistent with their COVID precautions. This includes social distancing, queuing and one-way systems, provision of hand sanitisers and PPE equipment for staff.

Ceredigion County Council shares the concerns raised by Councillor Andrew Morgan, the WLGA Leader, relating to an apparent and general ‘drop in standards’ in social distancing measures in some supermarket settings.

Complaints received by the Council’s Public Protection Service on this matter have been increasing and raise more general concerns associated with a wider range of premises including dining places, public houses and supermarkets. These complaints suggest that there has been a decline in compliance with social distancing guidelines in some of these businesses.

In Ceredigion, the Council will be re-focusing attention on these business sectors and conducting targeted inspections with a view to reminding businesses of the regulations that are in place and their legal responsibilities. Improvement Notices will be issued to premises where it is considered necessary and appropriate.

New regulations came into force on Monday, 14 September which has provided local authorities in Wales with new powers to control premises, events and public places in their areas to help control coronavirus. This includes closing premises and public places and stopping events.

The public are also reminded of the need to follow the rules when out and about in Ceredigion. Wearing masks in shops and other indoor public spaces is now compulsory.

Information on Ceredigion and the Coronavirus is available on the Council’s website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/coronavirus

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Ceredigion MP welcomes High Court ruling on Covid-19 business interruption insurance

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HOLDERS of business interruption insurance have welcomed a victory in a High Court test case to determine whether the Covid-19 pandemic should trigger payouts under their policies.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) brought a test case earlier this year over the wording of business interruption (BI) insurance policies, which some insurers argue do not cover pandemics.

The FCA previously said it was bringing the legal action following widespread concern over the lack of clarity and certainty for businesses seeking to cover substantial losses incurred by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdown.

The FCA selected a representative sample of 17 policy wordings used by 16 insurers, which were considered at an eight-day hearing in July.

Eight insurers agreed to assist the FCA by taking part in the test case, which the regulator has said it hopes will provide clarity and certainty for everyone involved in these BI disputes, policyholder and insurer alike.

The High Court judges ruled that pay-outs should put businesses back in the position they would have been in had Covid-19 never occurred.

According to FCA estimates, the findings could affect as many as 370,000 policyholders one way or another — and each successful claim could potentially run to tens of thousands of pounds.

Ben Lake MP has been following this case closely after raising the matter with the UK Chancellor on behalf of many Ceredigion businesses. In response to today’s ruling, Ben Lake MP said:

“This is a significant judgement. Covid-19 has caused substantial disruption to businesses across the county, and many are under immense financial strain as a result. By making existing insurance policies effectively worthless during this crisis, many insurance companies have left businesses out of pocket and have damaged trust both in the market and in the Government containment measures.

“I therefore welcome the actions taken by the Financial Conduct Authority, and I hope that following today’s High Court ruling the UK Government will do its utmost to ensure that the insurance industry takes effective, fair and immediate action to assist businesses that fell foul of their original interpretation of these policies.”

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