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Compensation available for train delays of 15 minutes and more

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FOR the first time ever, rail customers on the Wales and Borders network can claim for delays of just 15 minutes.

The move follows the successful introduction of the Delay Repay system in late 2018 and will mean customers will be compensated if they reach their final destination 15 minutes later than expected, regardless of the reason.

Customers are now able to claim 25% of the cost of the single fare or 25% of the cost of the relevant leg of a return ticket for delays of between 15 and 29 minutes.

Delay Repay offers a wider choice of repayment options, including bank transfer, Paypal and charity donation to the Railway Children, a charity fighting for street children.

Head of Customer Experience for Transport for Wales, Barry Lloyd, described the change as “a huge benefit” for customers.

He said: “We’re committed to delivering a punctual service that our customers can be proud of.

“A 15 minute delay is a big deal to our customers so this will be a huge benefit to them and shows our recognition of that. We’ve already moved to the Delay Repay system which makes claiming easier for customers and extending that to 15 minutes puts customers rightly at the forefront of our thinking.

“By offering customers compensation for delays of 15 minutes, we are setting ourselves a challenging goal in terms of our performance as we aim to be the best train operator in Britain.”

Delay Repay gives customers a quicker response to their claim, as claims will now start to be processed within 48 hours of receipt. A system providing online access to customers’ individual claim history will allow customers to know exactly what’s happening with their claim and when it is complete. Customers must retain their tickets in order to claim.

James Price, CEO of Transport for Wales added: “The introduction of this compensation scheme further highlights how we are putting the customer first in our plans to transform transport in Wales. We want to deliver a world class train service that works for the passenger and this is just one step we are taking to help ensure this.

“We are really pleased to be delivering one of the key commitments as set out in our announcements at the launch of our 15 year programme to create a transport network that people can be proud of.”

Customers can claim by completing one of our claim forms or online https://tfwrail.wales/delay-repay-compensation

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Almost 100 jobs to go at Calsonic Llanelli

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A MAJOR Llanelli employer is to shed almost a quarter of its employees following what it describes as a ‘significant drop-off in sales’.

Calsonic Kansei, based says that continuing political and economic uncertainty have contributed to its decision to lay off 95 workers at its Lleithri Road factory on the outskirts of the town.

Calsonic were offered £4.4m from the Welsh Government to create 88 jobs at the plant late last year.

Llanelli’s local AM, Lee Waters, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for the Economy and Nia Griffith MP issued a joint statement about the jobs blow.

Lee Waters AM said “Nia Griffith and I will be doing what we can to work with the company, trade unions and other employers in the area to help the workers directly affected. And the Welsh Government will be extending the taskforce helping workers at Schaeffler to offer practical support.”

“Calsonic were offered significant Welsh Government help to develop new products at the end of last year, and we will continue to do what we can to help create a sustainable future for the site, through what is clearly a troubling period.”

Nia Griffith MP said “The next month will be a difficult period for the workers and their families at Calsonic, both Lee and I are ready to do whatever we can to help anyone affected. Alongside working directly with the factory staff and the trade unions, I’ll be using my voice in Parliament to ask the UK Government to match Welsh Government’s ongoing commitment to the plant and the workforce.”

Calsonic’s vice-president of HR for Europe, Neil O’ Brien, said: “The automotive industry is at a transitional stage, as well as being at a key point in several major vehicle ‘life cycles’, with car manufacturers developing their technologies to satisfy the ever demanding environmental legislation and moving towards autonomous and electric vehicles.

“During this period of transition, the added pressures of market instability caused by the political and economic conditions have affected our customers’ volumes and, consequently, Calsonic Kansei’s sales have seen a significant drop.

“The company intends to do everything reasonably possible to reduce the impact of this proposal on its employees.”

In January Schaeffler announced plans to close its plant in Leave-voting Llanelli with a loss of 200 skilled jobs.

Schaeffler also cited uncertainty about the UK’s economic and political future as being partially responsible for its decision.

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West Wales responds to Notre-Dame ‘tragedy’

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Notre-Dame de Paris: The large fire partially destroyed the cathedral on Monday

THE WORLD has reacted to the major fire that partially destroyed Notre-Dame Cathedral, with religious leaders of west Wales among those to have sent prayers to Paris.

The large fire on Monday (Apr 15) damaged much of the historic landmark, destroying the roof as well as the famous spire. The fire began at around 6:30pm local time (4:30pm GMT) and it took until 10am (8am GMT) on Tuesday morning for firefighters to fully extinguish the blaze. Many of the relics held in the cathedral, including the crown of thorns brought there in 1239 by St. Louis, said to be that which was placed on the head of Jesus leading up to his crucifixion, were saved by firefighters. One firefighter is said to have suffered minor injuries while tackling the fire. The cause of the fire is not yet clear, but Paris’ public prosecutor is working under the assumption that it was an accident.

Whilst the principal structure was saved, including the famed towers, the building is still seen as unstable. Prior to the fire, there was already scaffolding in place to deal with the cracks appearing in the stonework. Renovations were underway and 16 copper statues had already been removed last week.

Notre-Dame de Paris, meaning ‘Our Lady of Paris’, is one of the most widely recognised symbols of France, and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The site of the cathedral is thought to have been of religious significance dating back as far as Roman Gaul. The construction of the modern church began in 1163, and the cathedral is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture.

Already hundreds of millions of euros have been donated towards the reconstruction of the site, as people across the world have reacted to the news and sent both prayers and funds to Paris.

Bishop of Menevia Tom Burns said: “For a thousand years it has stood as a beacon of prayer and hope. But what a tragedy struck Paris and the French nation on Monday evening at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. It is a beautiful creation that resides at the very heart of French life and in the hearts of French people wherever they happen to be, of whatever faith or none. It has struck chords in all people of good will who have walked through its doors into an arena of peace and calm.

“Some years ago, after wondering at the flying-buttresses that supported the thick stone walls, I had entered under that roof, never conscious of the vulnerability of its wooden structure. As I saw on television on Monday evening the fire raging through the roof, and the spire disintegrating piece by piece, I felt a lump in my throat. I shared with the people of France my sense of having once touched something quite unique. For, it had been my privilege, as Bishop of HM Forces, to preach from the Cathedral’s vast pulpit on Remembrance Sunday just over a decade ago.

“Now this was another sad occasion to remember, though thankfully without any loss of life. As York Minster was resurrected from the flames some years ago, and similarly Windsor Castle in more recent times, may the experts in restoring ancient buildings combine their God-given skills to rebuilding Notre-Dame de Paris. May it rise from the ashes to fulfil its function as God’s House in this world and to re-assure us that such a building evokes belonging and inspires us to greater things. It is still greatly needed, if not even more so now.”

Fr. Liam Bradley, Parish Priest at St David and St Patrick Church in Haverfordwest, said: “We hold in our hearts and prayers those who take risks to save life and property. May God bless the skills of craftsmen and women as they undertake the task of rebuilding.

“God our Father, let the community of Paris come together in this moment of difficulty and grace, to rebuild your house and do you honour, and so provide an enduring monument of how high the human spirit can soar in the face of adversity.

“As buildings crumble, may our faith be strong; from the ashes, may new fruit be born. Through the intercession of Our Lady of Paris, may all the people of France be filled with the peace and joy of Jesus Christ, risen for us at Easter. Amen.

“St Denis – Pray for us!”

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New funding for businesses to improve key areas of county

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A NEW pot of funding has been opened up to support regeneration, business growth and job creation in key priority areas across Carmarthenshire.

The Targeted Regeneration Investment (TRI) programme is part of a Welsh Government regional scheme to drive economic development in areas deemed most in need.

Areas chosen for investment in Carmarthenshire are Llanelli Town Centre and Station Road, and Ammanford Town Centre.

Businesses can apply for funding from two main thematic funding streams – a Property Enhancement Development Grant and Sustainable Living Grant.

Projects must promote economic regeneration – creating jobs, enhancing skills and employability and creating the right environment for businesses to grow and thrive.

A Property Enhancement Development Grant provides gap funding for owners or occupiers of vacant commercial buildings to enhance frontages and bring vacant commercial floor space back into use.

Where a local need has been identified, it could also fund development projects that create new commercial floor space.

A Sustainable Living Grant supports the conversion of vacant commercial space on upper floors into new homes. It can be used alongside the Property Enhancement Development Grant, and other initiatives, to encourage mixed-use regeneration of properties.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Council Leader and Executive Board Member for Regeneration, met Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn in Llanelli Town Centre recently to discuss the TRI programme and other ongoing improvements to the town.

He said: “This targeted investment has potential to make a real difference in Llanelli and Ammanford, and complements the council’s on-going efforts to regenerate these important towns.

“We are pleased to be part of this regional programme that will make the most of vacant commercial space and help improve the appearance and vibrancy of our town centres.”

Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn said: “We want to support local businesses, grow our fantastic town centres and create job opportunities in Llanelli and Ammanford. Creating more good quality commercial and retail space will play a real part in this, as will creating homes in the centre of our towns, so people can live and work centrally and contribute to the local economy.

“This fund will help to create opportunities out of empty properties and attract more people to our town centres. I look forward to seeing some exciting refurbishments, and businesses growing and prospering across in Llanelli and Ammanford as a result.”

Any businesses or applicants interested, or with a deliverable project in the priority areas identified, should contact Carmarthenshire County Council’s Economic Development Team for an initial discussion.

Contact Economic Development Coordinator, Tessa Peregrine, on TPeregrine@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or 01554 748815.

More information is available on the business section of www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales.

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