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Care firm in HMRC probe

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A Firm which delivers home care to elderly and vulnerable people in Carmarthenshire is being investigated by HM Revenue & Customs Village Home Care is alleged to have attempted to circumvent rules governing the minimum wage by grossly misrepresenting the time required to travel between client visits.

In order to meet the time requirements for travelling between different clients, it is claimed that carers had to cut short visits because of ludicrous expectations that travelling between rural clients located many kilometres apart would take only five minutes.

In a programme on BBC Radio 4, carers said that one visit was 16 miles (26km) from the last, a journey time of 25 minutes.

Although Mitie, which owns the firm of which Village Home Care is a part, said it is carrying out its own investigation, The Herald understands that MiHomeCare is under investigation for further breaches of minimum w age rules.

The rules provide that care companies are obliged to count time travelling between client appointments as part of employees’ working days. A review of MiHomeCare has revealed that some workers were not being paid for travelling time.

Under-estimating travel time between appointments seems to be a way of attempting to further circumvent the rules.

In the Radio 4 programme, former MiHomeCare employees refer to the practice of cutting short visits to make time between appointments as ‘clipping’.

Emma, one of the former employees interviewed went on to say: “Bear in mind that for some of them we are the only people they spoke to in that day.”

Her former colleague Clare said: “Some people used to say ‘small wash today we haven’t got time’ and you’d say ‘We need to do a full wash’. This person is going to be in bed until lunchtime maybe. You have to give them a full wash.”

A critical report by Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) Village Home Care Services (Wales) Ltd, noted that the company routinely and uniformly allocated five minutes between calls in cities and towns but failed to change that time allocation for rural visits. Other criticisms of the firm included notifications that the business was non-compliant with its obligations on staff training, non-compliant with the requirement to have a quality monitoring system or have in place an annual quality of care report. A further recommendation is made that the company must ensure that care is not started without a proper care assessment being carried out and reviewed regularly.

The report also sets out that staff feel pressured to work lengthy hours in excess of the legal limit of 48 hours per week and have insufficient time between shifts.

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Witness appeal after car is stolen and burnt out

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a car from a property in Lando Road, Burry Port, which was later found burnt out in Pembrey Country Park.

Officers are appealing for witnesses to the theft of the blue Ssangyong Rexton, which took place sometime between 5pm on Friday, 11th November, and 9am on Saturday, 12th November, and would like to speak to anyone who may have information or CCTV or dashcam footage.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Quote reference: DP-20221112-109

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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