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Flu vaccination sessions held to protect carers

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FLU vaccination sessions specifically for domiciliary care workers and residential care home staff in the county are being held for the first time.

Carmarthenshire County Council is working in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board to ensure a key priority group of staff have access to the vaccination ahead of the winter months.

The sessions, which are being held at day centres in Ammanford, Carmarthen and Llanelli, are open to council staff as well as those in the private sector.

A pharmacist is on hand to deliver the vaccine to up to 42 members of staff at each session on an appointment basis. The authority has supported those members of staff who have requested the vaccine by working around their rotas.

More than 200 carers within the authority and from the private sector have been vaccinated to date.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s executive board member responsible for health and social care, Cllr Jane Tremlett, said: “As flu vaccinations are more in demand than ever this year we felt it was essential that we made sure that our front line staff who are supporting the most elderly and vulnerable in the community are protected. 

“By working together with the local health board these sessions have made it easier for staff who may have found it difficult to get a slot to fit around their work to be able to get the vaccination by us organising appointments at a time to suit them.” 

Angela Evans, Head of Community Pharmacy at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Protecting care home staff with a flu vaccine is more important than ever. We hope these flu clinics for domiciliary care staff have provided a convenient way for these key workers to access the vaccine and protect themselves and their clients from flu this winter. 

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this partnership working between social care colleagues and pharmacists across Carmarthenshire as we aim to protect as many people from flu this winter.”

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Expressions of interest sought for Carmarthen mart

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council is looking for a business to operate its livestock market in Carmarthen.

The council intends to offer the lease of the mart at Nant Y Ci by open-market tender.

Businesses are being invited to get in touch with the council if they are interested in knowing more about the tender opportunity.

The Carmarthen mart is a traditional and prominent fixture in Carmarthenshire’s vibrant agricultural industry.

Occupying a purpose-built modern building, the mart has two auction rings with associated livestock pens for cattle, sheep and pigs. There are loading areas to the side and rear with lorry parking and wash down facilities, a reception and mart office, café area and kitchen facilities, a bar, and ten business units occupied by agricultural supply/service companies.

The council is looking for applicants that can demonstrate proposals for a progressive and forward-looking regional livestock market, operating regular livestock auctions and managing all ancillary functions including sub-letting of concessions, catering functions, and business units.

The council’s Rural Business Development Centre could also be included within the lease.

Cllr David Jenkins, the council’s Executive Board Member for Resources, said: “We are absolutely committed to supporting Carmarthenshire’s farming community and rural economy and recognise the important role the Carmarthen mart has to play in that.

“This is an exciting opportunity – as well as operating this busy mart, we hope to attract applicants that will also look at wider opportunities to create a viable and sustainable enterprise. We very much look forward to seeing the mart operating again.”

Further details are available on the council’s website – visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/business or email estates@carmarthenshire.gov.uk.

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Conservatives in disarray over alleged Christmas party lockdown breach

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THE CONSERVATIVE Party is investigating the attendance of senior Senedd members and staff at a Christmas party held during December’s lockdown.

Lockdown restrictions prohibit mixing with people outside your own household.

The Welsh restrictions barring such gatherings follow the basic outline of those imposed by the Conservative UK Government in December.

Those attending the drinks party included Paul Smith, the Conservative Chief of Staff at the Senedd, Darren Millar, the Party’s Chief Whip and campaign coordinator, and Preseli Pembrokeshire MS and Conservative Senedd Group Leader Paul Davies.

The Herald understands that a Labour Senedd Member who attended the Party has been suspended by the Labour Senedd Group pending its own investigation.

The Conservatives’ embarrassment at talking the talk but not walking the walk is intensified by Darren Millar’s presence at the shindig.

In May, Mr Millar led calls for Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething to be sacked for eating a bag of chips in a park with one of his own children.

If the Conservative Party follows the logic of their previously stated positions, Mr Millar’s and Mr Davies’ futures look bleak indeed.

With a Senedd election only months away, the revelations have thrown the Conservatives into disarray.

If they do nothing, the Conservatives will – at the very least – face claims they are hypocrites.

If the Conservative Party acts decisively, it faces massive internal problems.

The Conservatives responded to our request for a response to our story.

Those involved stressed they did not host a Christmas Party.

The incident happened on December 8, when the above met in the members’ tea room to discuss legislation for possible inclusion in the Welsh Conservative manifesto with a Labour backbencher.

During the evening they did drink a glass or two of wine.

They stress that at no point were there more than four people in the room at any one time and that they maintained social distancing.

A joint statement from Paul Davies, Darren Millar, and Paul Smith said: “We are profoundly sorry for our actions.

“While we did not break the rules, we recognise that what was part of a day’s work would not be seen to be following the spirit of them, especially given the tough time the country has been going through.”

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Have your say on Carmarthenshire County Council’s budget

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PEOPLE are being encouraged to get involved in Carmarthenshire County Council’s annual budget setting process.

The council is inviting local residents, businesses, community and voluntary organisations to have their say on its draft budget so that councillors can consider public feedback before making a final decision in March.

The council has a legal responsibility to set a balanced budget every year, ensuring that income from sources such as Council Tax, revenue from paid-for services and grants is enough to cover its expenditure.

With Covid-19 having had a significant impact on services, this year councillors face the added pressure of funding extra costs incurred and ensuring future contingencies can be met.

Pressures are being particularly felt across social care services because of the pandemic, and across the environment department associated with school transport, flood and coastal defences, and enhanced resources to tackle cleansing and fly-tipping in targeted areas.

No new savings proposals are being put forward for consultation this year, however the council’s Executive Board has reiterated its commitment to delivering the three-year savings agreed in the 2020 budget.

Meeting earlier today (Monday, January 18, 2021), Executive Board members rejected a proposed 4.89 per cent Council Tax increase in favour of proposing a more modest 4.48 per cent increase in recognition of the pressures being faced by people because of the pandemic.

“The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked personal and financial havoc on our county, and the good people of Carmarthenshire have paid a huge price,” said Leader of the Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole. “Given the circumstances of Covid-19 and the way that people are currently affected, I propose reducing the proposed Council Tax increase to 4.48 per cent to give the people of Carmarthenshire the support that they so rightly deserve.”

The consultation has now opened allowing people to have their say on the proposed draft budget.

Cllr David Jenkins, Executive Board Member for Resources, said: “It’s so important that we are able to take people’s views into consideration when setting our budget. Although we haven’t put specific proposals forward this year, we have to plan for areas of spending and saving. Hearing from people about what matters to them allows us to understand public opinion and as such we encourage everyone to share their views with us before our final decisions are made.”

People can share their views online at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/consultation until 5pm on February 3, 2021.

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