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Politics

Ultrafast broadband voucher for communities

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COMMUNITIES in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and across Wales can come together to make a bid for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which can provide ultrafast broadband for homes and businesses.

The scheme, which is managed by the UK Government, has been given the boost of a top-up in Wales with the Welsh Government providing more funding to take into account the particular challenges caused by the country’s topography.

Ministers from both governments are now urging Welsh businesses and communities to apply as a group for the funding to get gigabit capable broadband.

The group must include at least one business along with surrounding premises. Two or more businesses can get together, or businesses with residents, to combine their vouchers towards the cost of building the infrastructure. Up to ten residents can get together with one business to create a group or community project.

Under the arrangements for Wales, the Welsh Government will provide an additional £3,000 for businesses up to a certain size and an additional £300 per residential property. This means that for group projects in Wales up to £5,500 is available per business, compared with £2,500 elsewhere in the UK. Up to £800 will now be available per residential property in Wales, compared with £500 elsewhere.

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “While the vast majority of premises in Wales can access superfast broadband, we know we must reach the final five per cent. There is no one size fits all solution to do this, and the Gigabit Voucher Scheme is an important part of our efforts to do this.

“I would urge communities without access to look at this option and see if it’s suitable for them. The vouchers would potentially give them access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.”

UK Government Minister for Wales Kevin Foster said: “Improved digital connections for homes and businesses is a central part of our modern Industrial Strategy which invests in skills, industries and infrastructure to build a Britain that’s fit for the future.

“Together with the Welsh Government, we are working to ensure more people in Wales have access to reliable broadband speeds, supporting communities, enhancing access to online services and strengthening our rapidly expanding digital sector.”

The Welsh and UK Government funded £200m Superfast Cymru programme has already taken superfast broadband speeds to more than 733,000 Welsh homes and businesses commercial companies had no plans to cover.

Residents and businesses can check whether they’re eligible for the voucher and look up their postcode to find a registered supplier in their area.

Further information on how to apply for the Gigabit Voucher scheme is available on: www.gov.wales/broadband

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Community

Living Wage Week highlighted during Kidwelly launch

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Plaid Cymru Mid and West AM, Helen Mary Jones visited Burns Pet Food in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire to launch Living Wage Week locally.

PPLAID CYMRU Mid and West AM, Helen Mary Jones visited Burns Pet Food in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire to launch Living Wage Week locally.

The company is a champion of the Living Wage movement in Carmarthenshire, and the visit emphasised the importance of employers adopting the Living Wage for their workers.

Speaking at the launch Helen Mary Jones AM said:

“A big thank you to Burns Pet Food for hosting the Living Wage Celebration in west Wales. It’s very fitting that we are here today in the headquarters of this pioneering company that was established to provide a much-needed focus on nutrition, health and natural ingredients in animal food. Animal welfare is at the heart of everything for the firm. Their ethical emphasis also extends to the Burns workforce.

“The organisation is the first champion of the Living Wage Movement in Carmarthenshire; what a privilege and a responsibility that brings and one that John Burns and his staff have taken on board with energy and commitment.

“Everyone here at Burns is a passionate advocate for paying a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and we are delighted they hosted the event to help encourage and inspire as many employers in the region as possible to take up the mantle and follow their excellent example.

“Living Wage Week is about celebrating our Living Wage Employers – thanking them for making such a difference in people’s lives. It’s also about helping our friends and colleagues in other organisations who are also in favour of fair pay and want to learn as much as possible about what it means to become accredited Living Wage Employers.”

In addition to the advocation of the Living Wage implementation across Wales, Helen Mary Jones AM congratulated the 224 Living Wage accredited employers and celebrated the achievement in a statement of opinion in the Senedd. The statement has been signed by Labour and Plaid Cymru members.

Burns Pet Food in Kidwelly kicked started the celebrations of The Living Wage Week, which runs from 11th November to 17th November 2019.

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Politics

Carmarthenshire residents urged to use their vote

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RESIDENTS in Carmarthenshire are being encouraged to use their vote in the General Election being held on December 12, 2019.

Those who are yet to register to vote have until midnight on Tuesday, November 26, to sign up or lose the opportunity to have their say in the forthcoming election.

Acting Returning Officer for Carmarthenshire, Wendy Walters, is urging everyone to exercise their democratic right.

In particular, a call is being made to young people as Electoral Commission statistics show almost a third of 18-34 year olds are not registered to vote.

Those who have recently moved house are also being reminded to register to vote at their new address, with Electoral Commission data showing that only 36 per cent of those who have moved in the last year have re-registered with their new details.

“You can’t vote unless you’re registered to do so,” she said. “It’s vitally important that everyone has the opportunity to have their say in this General Election. It is quick and easy to register, and as always our electoral services team is on hand to help anyone in need.”

Information about the General Election, details about how to register, how to apply for a postal or proxy vote, a list of Carmarthenshire polling stations, and more, can be found online at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/generalelection2019

Further advise can be sought if needed from the Electoral Services Unit on 01267 228889.

Follow Carmarthenshire County Council on Facebook and Twitter for information updates in the run up to the election, and for results as they are announced.

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Community

Free advice drop-in on EU Settlement Scheme

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FREE advice about the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme is being made available to EU citizens in Carmarthenshire.

A mobile team from Newfields Law, who provide a specialist immigration advisory service, will be on hand at a drop-in event in Carmarthen Library on Monday November 11 from 2pm to 5pm.

The UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme means EU citizens and their families have to apply to secure their rights to continue living and working in the UK.

Free online applications have to be made by December 31, 2020, in the event a no-deal Brexit.

If a Brexit deal is agreed, the application deadline will be extended to June 30, 2021.

At the drop-in event in Carmarthen Library on St Peter’s Street, experts from Newfields Law will advise on eligibility for settled and pre-settled status, and documents needed to support applications.

Members of the team will also be available to discuss any post-application queries people may have, including questions raised by the Home Office.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Carmarthenshire County Council Leader, said: “Statistics show there are about 7,000 EU nationals living or working in Carmarthenshire.

“As a council, we hugely value their contribution to the county – not just economically, but for their role in boosting Carmarthenshire’s cultural diversity.

“That’s why we’d encourage all EU nationals living and working here to apply to this UK Government scheme as soon as possible to ensure their rights are protected after the UK leaves the European Union.”

Carmarthenshire County Council will also soon be providing an assisted digital service at its customer service Hwbs in Carmarthen, Llanelli and Ammanford to help EU nationals with their applications, if needed.

This service will include equipment to scan biometric documents like passports and national ID cards.

Visit www.eusswales.com for more information about the EU Settlement Scheme and details on further advice and support.

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