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Ponytyates businessman dies

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ONE OF Carmarthenshire’s most prominent businessmen and entrepreneurs has passed away after a short battle with illness. 

Clive Hughes from Pontyates passed away on Sunday (Jul 24) at Prince Phillip Hospital in Llanelli.

He was the owner of Hughes Haulage and a number of other businesses he had established in other countries including Australia and South Africa.

His haulage and logistics companies were massive and established him amongst one of the most successful Welsh businessmen during 60s, 70s and 80s. He could often be seen mixing with some of the world’s most successful and , often, most notorious men, including Alan Bond and Jeffrey Archer.

Clive returned to Wales after having retired in the Caribbean with the aim of creating jobs in his home county. He was passionate about Wales and trying to create employment for young people.

At one time, Clive was embroiled in a planning battle with Carmarthenshire County Council over a proposed biomass power plant, which he said would have created 600 construction and permanent jobs. The plants at Coedbach, near Kidwelly, and in Swansea never got the go ahead and Clive fought until his last days to try and find out who was behind the funding of the Coed Bach Action Group who successfully thwarted his plans.

At the time, Mr Hughes said: “I do feel that enough is enough – I’ve endured years of harassment and lies against my character and businesses, which is not what I expected when I came back to Carmarthenshire. My land has been blighted, I am obstructed at every stage and at every level by the local authority and local members. My businesses have been at the receiving end of Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning department. It’s a planning system which has allowed ‘nimbyism’ to flourish. I have been fortunate to have enjoyed successful multi-million pound businesses all over the world. However, I have never been treated so badly as in my home county. I’ve had excellent business relationships all around the world and for over 30 years.”

Clive Hughes was a prominent figure at the Scarlets as the Vice Chairman of the club for many years. He was also seen regularly at the Liberty Stadium mixing with the VIps, including his friend, leader of Swansea Council, Chris Hollie and Leo Lyons of Lyons Glass. He was a member of Moriah Chapel in Meinciau.

Clive’s wife Meirwen told The Herald: “He was always chasing a new business venture. Clive was a restless soul and never afraid of speaking the truth. In recent months, he challenged the First Minister Carwyn Jones as to why he was awarding contracts to China when he had the ideas and the plans to produce energy through Welsh funded and Welsh based business. Clive never got any answers to the many questions he asked of both the local authority or the Welsh Assembly Government.”

Mr Hughes is reputed to have invested over £3.5 million in Carmarthenshire in attempts to get his renewable energy business off the ground and a substantial amount of money was paid in planning fees.

Both Dutch and South African companies were in talks with Clive shortly before his death regarding the prospect of his plants opening up in those countries.

Clive Hughes died without realising the potential of his renewable energy scheme, which he claimed could have powered homes in Carmarthenshire at a fraction of the cost of the big companies, while creating local jobs.

Carmarthenshire County Council leader Emlyn Dole provided his own personal tribute to Clive Hughes: “I’m part time minister in Meinciau, and it was through that he met both me and my wife, separately at first. Gwenda and I went with him to Australia three times, He was always nagging us to go out and take the service for Western Australian Welsh community, who met monthly and hired a chapel. Gwenda would sing, I would play guitar – I got to know Clive from that time on.

“He introduced me to two of the great pleasures of my life, golf and red wine. He started me off with some very nice Chilean Shiraz at Hong Kong Airport. In fact, he tried to drink his minister under the table and ended up with a bout of gout that lasted three weeks!

“We were opposites, both fascinated with each other. If the main quality of an entrepreneur is taking a risk, he was an entrepreneur. He owned business across the world. It was an education to be with him, and I got that opportunity.”

Cllr Dole concluded: “He was great company and a great friend and it is as a friend that I have the most respect for him. My condolences to his wife, Meirwen, and family. He was a great guy.”

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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