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Welsh Government announces £200m support for small businesses in wake of coronavirus outbreak

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THE WELSH GOVERNMENT has today announced a package of support worth more than £200m for small businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak.

Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Llanelli with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% business rate relief and pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £100,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction on their bill.

A further £100m will be available for a new grant scheme for small businesses Further details on this new grant scheme will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Welcoming this announcement, Lee Waters MS, said: “I’m pleased that the Welsh Labour Government is offering this package of support to businesses as part of their response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

“They are doing everything they can to support businesses to deal with the impact of coronavirus. My advice to all businesses is to use the help and advice that is available.

“Any business affected should contact the Business Wales telephone helpline on 03000 603000. They can help with practical advice – from staffing to financial planning as well as supply chain support.

“The Development Bank of Wales is also available to help – it has equity and loan funding it can make available immediately to small businesses to help them through the cash flow and other challenges they may face in next, difficult, few weeks and months. The Development Bank of Wales can be contacted on 0800 5874140.”

Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans AM, said: “We are allocating every penny of the funding we will be receiving as a consequence of the schemes the UK Government announced in England last week to support businesses in Wales.

“But I know that helping businesses with their rates bills will not be enough to protect them from the severe drop in custom many are experiencing as coronavirus cases increase.

“We will be calling on the UK Government to act quickly and decisively to provide a very significant support package for vulnerable businesses and their employees.”

Please find below links to current information issued that you may find useful for your business and continuity.

A number of announcements were made in the March 2020 Budget including financial support that businesses can expect to access:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses

In terms of Department for Work and Pensions support for employers, here is a useful link (via GOV.UK): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses?utm_source=37472ed5-c0b4-4625-8801-549259dc908d&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
Further and complementary advice can also be found on the Business Wales Website: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Visit Wales also provide some specific advice for tourism businesses regarding the situation. This can be found by following:
https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWALES/bulletins/280805d

We should all help protect ourselves and our communities by following Public Health Wales advice at: https://phw.nhs.wales/coronavirus

There is also updated information regarding the virus on the Welsh Government website. Please view: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan

We are also starting to see banks such as Lloyds offering support via low interest loans sources. We will update this information as further opportunities come forward.

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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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