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Tax credit changes ‘target self-employed’

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Changes are economic madness: Nia Griffith MP

Changes are economic madness: Nia Griffith MP

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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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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MP and AM call for Trostre certainty after merger fails

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LOCAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said “This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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