BEN LAKE MP has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the government’s financial support package for businesses and self-employed workers in next week’s Budget as many struggle to stay afloat during continued lockdown restrictions.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak is to set out the UK Government’s budget on Wednesday 3 March, almost a year since the last Budget on 11 March 2020.
To help businesses and our local high streets over coming months, the Ceredigion MP has called on the Chancellor to extend the lowered rate of VAT at 5% for hospitality and tourism for a year to March 2022 and to extend the business rates relief package.
Mr Lake also called on the Chancellor to retain the furlough scheme for the duration of pandemic restrictions, as recent figures show more than 178,000* in Wales are still receiving government help from the CJRS. He also urged the Chancellor to expand the existing eligibility criteria for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme in order to offer some help to the many individuals who have not received a penny in Government support thus far.
Ben Lake MP said: “For many businesses and self-employed workers, the financial support government has offered over the last 12 months has been a lifeline. Now, as we are finally starting to see light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, we cannot remove this lifeline prematurely. Extending this help for a little longer, and expanding the criteria to help those that have been excluded thus far, would offer small businesses the support they require to ‘bounce back’ from the pandemic.”
Many businesses who are still not open due to lockdown measures are also now expected to start repaying their Bounce Back Loans. This is despite their situation largely remaining unchanged since they took out the loan, or in some unfortunate instances, worsened as they have not yet been able to trade.
UKHospitality has estimated that the hospitality sector lost around £72 billion in sales in 2020 and faces, frankly, a debt mountain, including £4.2 billion in state-backed loans.
Mr Lake said: “It is important that businesses that took out bounce back loans and CBILS are required to pay only when they are in a position to do so – once they have ‘bounced back’ from the pandemic. Affording such a level of flexibility, and thus preventing avoidable business failures, would protect jobs, the taxpayer’s investment in the recovery, and the integrity of our financial system.
“We remain in the early stages of a vaccine-led recovery, and it is likely that we will have some form of restrictions for many months to come. Having done so much to protect the economy and the workforce, we must not withdraw support prematurely, as to do so would risk throwing away the investment taxpayers have made in the last year, and potentially our economic recovery.”
Llandeilo going for Fair Trade Status
A NEW steering group has formed in Llandeilo to achieve Fair Trade status for the town.
“Many of our local shops and venues already stock or serve Fair Trade products and I believe Llandeilo deserves to be officially recognised for this,” says co-founder town councillor Christoph Fischer.
“It’s fantastic to see so many businesses and stakeholders committed to Fair Trade in Llandeilo,” says Candace Browne of Y Pantri Glas, Llandeilo’s Zero Waste and Natural Foods store. “However, for me Fair Trade extends beyond insuring workers growing imported exotic produce like bananas and chocolate are treated fairly but also to trading fairly with our local producers and sourcing good food locally. As Chair of Slow Food Cymru, Slow Food Town status with a shared vision of “Good Fair Food for All” would also be great for businesses to work towards for our community.”
The group, which has representatives of several businesses and interested individuals, are currently mapping all products that local shops, schools, groups and organisations offer and are lobbying the town council and other bodies to get behind the movement by declaring their own commitment to Fair Trade.
“As town councillor and as individual I feel this initiative fits perfectly well with the trend in town for fair trade,” says Fischer. “As Member Pioneer for the Llandeilo Coop part of my role is to initiate projects like this and bring all parts of the community together. We already had positive replies from Café 139, The Lighthouse, Heavenly, Ikigai, CK’s, Crown Stores, Umami and Llandeilo Primary.”
If you and your organisation want to commit to Fair Trade or are stocking Fair Trade products, please contact ChristophFFischer@googlemail.com
Council determined to close Aberystwyth’s window of waste
ABERYSTWYTH town centre is provided with regular and reliable waste collection services. Unfortunately, some localised, seasonal issues continue to arise. One of the solutions to this is to close the Window of Waste!
The window of waste is the time between when waste is presented for collection and when it is actually collected. The longer the window of waste is open the more issues and problems that occur which includes the waste being ravaged by seagulls, other animals as well as the elements. This causes the problems that are experienced in some town centre locations mostly on and around waste collection days.
The County Council has been very proactive in Aberystwyth over recent years in introducing interventions and changes to waste collection arrangements with a view of addressing or improving long standing issues. These are currently being reviewed and include but are not limited to:
· Additional early waste collections in the town centre to collect waste that has been presented too early.
· Provision of wheelie bins on North Parade and heavy duty sacks at various streets to contain waste between the time it is presented and collected
· Provision of free caddies and caddy liners for food waste and boxes for glass
· Localised information provision
· Closer working between Waste Collection and Street Cleaning teams
· Closer monitoring
· Ongoing liaison with residents and landlords
As part of Caru Ceredigion and Caru Aber all residents are encouraged to play their part in being part of the solution rather than the cause of the problem. This means working with us to ensure that:
· Aber’s streets are kept clean and attractive at all times
· Aber’s waste is dealt with in the most efficient way possible from a cost and environmental perspective
· Aber remains a fantastic place to live and visit
· Aber maintains the superb positive profile and image it deserves
We are asking all residents to help us close the window of waste by presenting the Right Waste in the Right Way and on the Right Day:
· Right Waste: making full and proper use of the services provided for recycling and food waste which are collected every week
· Right Way: presenting the waste in suitable containers, which includes the food caddies and glass boxes provided by the Council. A range of bins from wheelie bins to traditional bins are available from local outlets or online to store and present waste.
· Right Day: waste should only be presented for collection by 08:00 on the day of collection.
Businesses are reminded that they have a legal responsibility to have trade waste arrangements in place for all the waste their business produces
For the size and nature of the town, Aberystwyth is a clean town, which contributes to its overall attractiveness as a fantastic place to live and visit. If this were not the case then so many local people and visitors would not hold it in such high regard.
For more information regarding Ceredigion County Council’s waste collection services, including a postcode finder, please visit www.ceredigion.gov.uk.
Lidl branded best value as expanded store opens in Aberystwyth
Lidl has been revealed as the cheapest supermarket in May, according to the latest monthly analysis from Which?.
Which? compared prices for a trolley of 20 items every day throughout May and found that on average, shoppers would have paid £22.66 at Lidl, beating the big four and Aldi to the accolade. Products checked included own-label products such as tomatoes and chicken drumsticks and branded goods such as Nescafé coffee, to see how UK supermarkets compared. The announcement recognises Lidl’s continued commitment to offering customers top quality products at great value prices as the retailer expands further into the future. Earlier this year, Which? named Lidl as the Cheapest Supermarket 2020, demonstrating that Lidl continues to offer UK shoppers consistently unbeatable prices.
The news comes as the supermarket expanded its operation in Aberystyth.
This pic of the new store was taken by Rose Voon.
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