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Scarlets in the red

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Scarlets accounts reveal debt crisis

Scarlets accounts reveal debt crisis

THE ANNUAL accounts of the regional rugby company show that it incurred a loss of over £1.7m in the year to June 2014 and that Scarlets Regional Ltd now has a cumulative deficit of over £14m.

In addition, the report shows that the Scarlets are barely half-filling their stadium for home games. Parc y Scarlets capacity is 14,870. Average attendance at home games is recorded as being ‘over 7,000 per game’.

In light of the appalling figures, the accounts go on to set out that the region’s continued operation is possible only with the support of the WRU (through payments made to the region) and the continued willingness of shareholders to plough money into it. The region recently made what amounted to a debt for equity swap, by which larger shareholders increased their own holdings at the expense of small shareholders. The rights issue conditions also provided that first preference in any other offering would be given to those larger shareholders and not to supporters. While the Directors’ report is upbeat on the prospect of the future of the Scarlets region, much of that confidence stems from the agreement with the WRU continuing and the Scarlets providing sufficient international players who qualify to receive dual contracts from the Welsh governing body. The accounts reveal that the region spent £200,000 on battles with the WRU over the level of support offered to regional rugby and the dual contract issue.

More worrying, however, is the conclusion reached by the auditor – James & Uzzell Ltd. The auditor’s comments on the accounts point out ‘the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern’. The stadium, construction of which was largely bankrolled by the local authority, is given a ‘carrying value’ (the original cost of an asset, less the accumulated amount of any depreciation) of around £9.9m.

A particular thorny matter for the local authority is the fate of the Scarlets involvement in the Eastgate Centre, into which further considerable resources were ploughed by the authority.

Way back in December 2013, The Pembrokeshire Herald published details of the sale of a car park to the Marston’s chain of pubs. Carmarthenshire Council were the freeholders of the property while the Scarlets held a 150 years’ leasehold on it granted by the Council. The car park was originally ear-marked for a retail development, but instead was transferred to Marston’s for £850,000.

Controversy then arose in relation to the division of the sale proceeds between the Council and the Scarlets. The council received £200,000 for its interests and the Scarlets £200,000. Questions have been raised, however, about approximately £280,000 being given to the Scarlets for what are described as ‘allowable expenses’. The ‘expenses’ were allegedly used for paying off a commercial loan the Scarlets had taken out to fit out its shop and restaurant within Carmarthenshire County Council’s Eastgate development and were a further example of the council’s willingness to bankroll the rugby region with public money.

The Scarlets’ accounts disclose that the £280,000 ‘investment’ by the council in the Scarlets’ project at Eastgate has been written off as a complete loss by the region, who have also sublet the shop units. The region’s accounts imply that without the free rent period, which is coming to an end, the lease is not commercially viable.

Eastgate has never been fully let since opening.

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Llanelli: Stop notice issued for school planning application

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a new 480-spaced school in Llanelli has been issued a stop notice by the Welsh Government.
Carmarthenshire County Council is proposing to build a new £9.1m school on Llanerch Fields in Llanelli and were looking to determine the planning application in the coming weeks. Welsh Government will now decide whether to call in the application or not.
The new school would accommodate 420 primary and 60 nursery pupils, set over two floors with larger classrooms with integrated IT facilities, a multi-purpose hall and specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs.
Over recent years there has been much debate in the area on the choice of site for the new school with campaigners arguing that they support a new school, but object against Llanerch fields being built upon. Last year an attempt to get the land designated as a village green was turned down.
In 2017, Ysgol Dewi Sant as the first Welsh medium primary school to be provided by a local authority celebrated its 70th birthday.
Councillor Rob James, local member for Lliedi, stated “From day one I have raised concerns that the Council’s site choice and planning process opened the Council up to the possibility of the Welsh Government calling in the planning application. It is clear that these concerns were not misplaced and there is now a really chance that it will be. 

“As a local Councillor, a school governor and a parent, I am passionate about the need for a new school for the pupils of Ysgol Dewi Sant and it is important that local pupils get the benefits of a 21st century school.
“I will now be working with Council Officers to ensure that contingency plans are prepared in case the Welsh Government state that the planning application does not comply with national planning policy.
“I will also work with parents, pupils, residents and interested parties are able to engage with the Welsh Government during this process.”

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Third annual Burry Port Raft Race is eagerly awaited

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THE THIRD ANNUAL BURRY PORT RAFT RACE, organised by Burry Port couple, Craig and Isabel Goodman, will be held on Saturday (July 27).

The event which is held in Burry Port Harbour, raises much needed funds for both Burry Port RNLI and a children’s football academy and primary school the couple support in The Gambia.

The day launches at 12pm with stands, food stalls and children’s inflatable games and rides and these will be available until 5pm. You’ll also have a chance to meet the crews, who’ll be busy putting the final touches to their rafts.

Rafts launch at 3pm, followed by a presentation ceremony, including prizes for first raft over the line, first raft to sink and best dressed raft.

Craig said: ” A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, including overall sponsor Dawsons, along with continued sponsorship from Celtic Couriers, Parker Plant Hire, Burns Pet Nutrition, Burry Port Co-Op, Llanelli Star, LBS Builders Merchants, Burry Port Marina, First Choice Flooring and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council.

For any further information about the event, please contact 07825 842981.

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Compensation offered after FSCS declares Llanelli firm in default

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CONSUMERS could get back money they have lost as a result of their dealings with a failed regulated firm in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. The firm is Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited formerly Assura Protect, Room 1, 7 Meadows Bridge, Parc Menter, Cross Hands, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales SA14 6RA.

The firm was declared in default in June 2019 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

FSCS is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme that protects customers of authorised financial services firms that carry out certain regulated activities. A declaration of default means FSCS is satisfied a firm is unable to pay claims for compensation made against it. This paves the way for customers of that firm to make a claim for compensation with FSCS.

Alex Kuczynski, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FSCS, said: “FSCS steps in to protect consumers around the UK when authorised financial services firms go bust. This vital service, which is free to consumers, protects deposits, insurance, investments, home finance and debt management. We want anyone who believes they may be owed money as a result of their dealings with this firm to get in touch, as we may be able to help you.”

Since it began in 2001, FSCS has helped more than 4.5m people, paying out more than £26bn in compensation.

If you wish to make a claim with FSCS against Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited, you may be able to do so using FSCS’s online claims service at https://claims.fscs.org.uk Or you can contact its Customer Services Team on 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100

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