WELSH businesses will be hit hard by changes to the UK-wide system of tax credits, according to Llanelli MP Nia Griffith.
According to the Welsh Government (2012), 99% of businesses in Wales are SME’s with 95% of those businesses being micro businesses, accounting for 60% of all Welsh employment.
This week, self-employed people in Wales have received letters from HM Revenue and Customs advising of changes to checks on their claims for Working Tax Credits (WTC) and with many facing the possibility of losing their entitlement.
The Herald spoke to the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Nia Griffith MP about her concerns about the effects the changes will have on Wales and the Welsh economy.
Ms Griffith told us: “It is really concerning because quite clearly what Labour want to do if we get reelected in Wales is to make it easier for parents to be able to combine having a family and being able to get work. We know very well that it is the organisation of child care is the key thing.
“We are going to be consulting with parents so we get that best match for them: so that the 30 hours a week are accessible and we are talking about 48 weeks of the year. We know how for many parents school holidays are a problem.”
Nia continued: “At the same time the HMRC is looking at how it is going to assess people for tax credits. Tax credits don’t forget are for people who are in work. The paperwork looks like it is incredibly onerous. It also doesn’t take account of the fact that peoples’ work patterns do vary and that in the past we have looked at averages over a year.
“This is going to be immensely complicated. It is going to be a disincentive for people to work. It is going to be a disincentive for people to move from current circumstances. It is going to be a disincentive to take on new challenges.”
Talking about the difficulties selfemployed people are facing in Wales Nia Griffith observed: “Very often when you start up a new business or a new type of work, perhaps you don’t manage to do that much to start with. You only do a few hours. You have to put some input in before perhaps it takes off.
“It is going to be very difficult to see how people are going to cope with filling in all the paper work and worrying about the fact they are going to be cut from this or that or that they are going to have to pay back enormous amounts. It looks to me that instead of encouraging people to work it could very well end up discouraging people.”
The Herald asked if the changes would now force self employed people out of self employment and into the cycle of trying to claim alternative benefits or seeking low paid jobs.
Ms Griffiths answered: “It would be a tragedy if people are forced back onto benefits firstly because we are trying to make the provision for parents to try and go out to work and combine parenthood and work. From the point of view of the country’s economy it is complete madness. When people are doing their very best in trying to get some sort of work whether it is a small amount of experience to keep their hand in or expanding a business or whatever it is and then to be hit by ridiculous rules that are being brought in it seems to me to be crazy.”
The Shadow Secretary of State concluded: “For a lot of people running a cottage industry, it has been the only way to survive. Many people have been very resourceful and they have set up micro businesses for themselves. Whether it is cake decorating or catering they are home based industries, which they have trained themselves for and the have invested in. They may only be able to take on a few people on a self employed basis and quite clearly all these little cottage industries will be suffering and they are a very significant part of our economy.”
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7-year-old Mattie from Pembrey takes on home Pen y Fan-tastic challenge for Action for Children
Plucky Mattie Denman will climb the equivalent of Pen y Fan in the drive at her family home in Pembrey on Friday 22nd May to raise funds for Action for Children.
Mattie (7), has always wanted to climb the highest mountain in South Wales and is unable to currently because of the coronavirus pandemic. As the family exercise at home every day, she decided she wanted to do the 6-mile equivalent journey there while she waits for the chance to do it for real. Mattie chose Action for Children as her mother, Sian, works for the charity in Carmarthenshire.
Mattie said: ‘My Mammy works for Action for Children and I want to help as well because lots of families need help. My older brother and sister help Action for Children, so I asked Mammy if I could do something. We exercise everyday walking up and down the drive and I have always wanted to climb Pen y Fan, but we have never done it.
‘Mammy said I could pretend I am walking it and people will give money to the charity. I said brilliant, that is what I am going to do and I am super excited to do it. I will use mammy’s step counter and I hope I can help children that need support especially because it is so hard for some families because of coronavirus.’
Proud mum and family support practitioner for Action for Children, Sian, added: ‘Mattie has a lovely heart and really wanted to do something and I’m very proud she chose Pen y Fan as her home challenge. Action for Children has been going the extra mile during the coronavirus pandemic continuing to support vulnerable families through phone and video sessions as well as food and help with the basics from our Emergency Appeal Fund.
‘It is a tremendously challenging time for our families and every bit of money will directly help those in our communities who need it most. I hope as many people as possible will donate to Mattie’s brilliant fundraising effort, it’ll make it even more special when we finally get to climb Pen y Fan for real.’
If you want to support Mattie’s Pen y Fan challenge please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattiesclimb
Housebuilder launches Coronavirus move in package
A South Wales housebuilder has launched new incentives which mean homes are ‘ready to move into’ during the Covid-19 crisis – without the need for tradespeople or delivery people.
People in Wales are allowed to move into new build houses during the lockdown – and many people have successfully done so.
However, the limitations of social distancing can add extra stress when it comes to having things like dishwashers, washing machines and turf installed in the new property.
That’s why Persimmon Homes West Wales has launched a new incentive package which gives purchasers the chance to buy a house with white goods and flooring already in place.
Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “Our sales advisors have done a terrific job in talking with customers and guiding them through the buying process remotely, without the need of face-to-face meetings.
“It’s been a huge challenge, but we’ve risen to it – and Persimmon has sold more than 120 properties in South Wales during the lockdown period. We have customers moving into their new homes every week.
“But, understandably, some people are cautious about having too many tradespeople and contractors enter their home, even if they are doing their utmost to abide by social distancing rules.
“That’s why we have launched these new packages which mean people can turn the key, unpack and get on with enjoying their new home.”
The package includes carpets and vinyl throughout, turf in the back garden, sliding wardrobes, integrated fridge freezer, integrated washer/dryer, integrated dishwasher and £500 discount towards removal fees.
The deal is on offer at Glas Y Felin in Bridgend, Parc Yr Onnen in Carmarthen, The Bridles in Llanelli, Peterson Park in Pontyclun, Parc Brynderi in Llanelli and Allt Y Celyn in Rhos.
Persimmon’s marketing suites in Wales remain closed for the time being. Visit www.persimmonhomes.com or call 01792 229800 for details of homes available.
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