Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Business

New fund for tourism

Published

on

Exploring more of Wales: The little big country

A €2M project to encourage more visitors to explore lesser known areas of Ireland and Wales has been announced by the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Dafydd Elis-Thomas on Monday, February 26.

The Celtic Routes project, backed by €1.6m of EU funds, aims to encourage visitors to explore new areas of Wales and Ireland en route to their final tourist destination.

Led by Carmarthenshire County Council, the project will focus on the areas of Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion in Wales and Waterford, Wicklow and Wexford in Ireland.

The Celtic Routes project aims to transform less well known areas from transit zones to new touring sites, increasing the time visitors spend in these regions and capitalising on the opportunities to boost local economies.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, said: “Celtic Routes is a great example of EU funds being used to benefit cross border areas in Ireland and Wales by encouraging visitors to explore the local scenery, hospitality and culture of wider regions , and not just tourist hot spots. By helping to increase visitor numbers, the project will stimulate economic growth and both create and safeguard jobs in the cultural, heritage and tourism sectors.

“In light of Brexit it is more important than ever that we support and celebrate the strong Celtic links between our two countries.”

The project will be developed through customer research, trade events and workshops as well as cross border visits by businesses in Ireland and Wales to bring together expertise and ideas.

The aim is to increase the visitor appeal of the targeted areas, including through the development of new trails linking local culture, heritage and the natural environment.

This exciting new initiative will complement The Wales Way, a ten-year strategic initiative launched to the international market last year, to celebrate a range of existing and planned routes and give visitors from around the world the confidence to explore more of Wales.

Irish Government Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: “Tourism is one of Ireland’s most important economic sectors and has significant potential to play a further role in Ireland’s economic renewal. On the weekend we welcome Welsh rugby fans to Lansdowne Road, the Celtic Routes project shows how EU funding can support tourism development in a cross-border context to the benefit of both countries.”

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, executive board member for culture, sport and tourism for Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “We have a fantastic opportunity to attract people who are passing through south Wales and Ireland as they travel to their final destination. We want people to stop and appreciate the amazing beauty of the countryside and coast, visit our vast array of attractions and stay, eat and enjoy as our guests before they travel on. Hopefully they will come back time and time again, and tell the world about what we have to offer.”

The Celtic Routes project is part-funded by the EU’s Ireland Wales Co-operation Programme, which supports collaboration between Ireland and Wales to address common economic and social challenges and opportunities.

Business

Workplace inequality affects economy

Published

on

Workplace equality: Could grow economy by 10%

INFLEXIBLE workplace structures, gendered assumptions about childcare, and wide-scale discrimination mean mothers are more likely to be trapped in part-time, low-paid work with fewer opportunities for career progression.

Those are the findings of a National Assembly committee which has been looking at the issue.

The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee believe such factors are key causes of gender inequality and represent a loss to the economy.
The UK Government’s Women’s Business Council estimates that equalising the employment rates of women and men could grow the UK economy by more than 10% by 2030.

The employment rate for women with dependent children in Wales is 75%, compared to 91% for men with dependent children.

The gender pay gap between men and women in Wales is 15% for all employees (full and part time).

A 2016 survey by the Equality and Human Rights Commission revealed that Welsh employers lag behind England and Scotland in offering flexible working.

The same survey found that 87% of employers in Wales feel it is in the best interests of organisations to support pregnant women and those on maternity leave. But it also found that 71% of mothers reported negative or discriminatory experiences as a result of having children.

Employment law isn’t devolved to Wales but the Committee focused on the levers at the Welsh Government’s disposal including employment of public sector workers and businesses and organisations in receipt of public funding,

“During the course of our inquiry we heard some shocking individual experiences: women who lost their jobs during maternity leave, careers derailed because of the lack of flexible work, and fathers prevented from taking on caring responsibilities because of cultural attitudes,” said John Griffiths AM, Chair of the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee.

“These stories have directly influenced our conclusions and recommendations.

“Preventing a large proportion of the population from contributing their skills and experience to the workforce is not fair and does not make economic sense.

“In light of technological, social and economic changes, now is the time to modernise workplaces so that they are fit for the future for everyone, not just parents.

“We believe the Welsh Government can set a standard in promoting flexible working, ensuring organisations in receipt of public funding are flexible by default and by reassessing its new childcare offer.”

The Committee makes 34 recommendations in its report, including:

  • That the Welsh Government should advertise public sector jobs (including teaching posts) as ‘flexible by default’, and lead the way by allowing senior roles like Ministers and councillors to be job-shared;
  • Strengthening the obligations on organisations receiving public funding to provide flexible working and report on the retention rates of staff returning from maternity leave;
  • The Committee heard that the Welsh Government’s new Childcare Offer was unlikely to achieve its main aim of increasing maternal employment in the most effective way. It recommended the Government reconsider the target age group and the income threshold; and,
  • the Welsh Government improve advice services in Wales, and that information about rights and obligation at work should be provided to women at an early stage of pregnancy.

The report will now be considered by the Welsh Government.

Continue Reading

Business

Skates makes case for rail

Published

on

Rail investment inequitable: Ken Skates demands action

TRANSPORT S​ECRETARY Ken Skates has cited slow speeds, manual Victorian signalling and level crossings bringing traffic to a standstill up to 200 times a day in his call on the UK Government to make available an equitable level of funding for rail infrastructure enhancements in Wales.

In May, Ken Skates announced Cardiff University’s Professor Mark Barry would lead on the case for investment in rail infrastructure in Wales, against the backdrop of the UK Government’s £50bn investment in HS2.

The Transport Secretary summarised the case in the Senedd on Tuesday​ (Jul 17)​.

Ken Skates told Assembly Members: “The initial findings of this work are stark. Wales has not received an equitable share of UK rail investment over a sustained period, denying us the economic benefits enjoyed elsewhere in the UK.

“Network Rail’s Wales Route, which makes up 11% of the network, has received little more than 1% of total spend on enhancements in England and Wales.

“This has resulted in low lines speed on the South Wales Mainline, capacity and speed constraints along the North Wales Coast, infrequent commuter services for the Swansea Bay city region, and inadequate cross-border services in both North and South Wales.

“I continue to support HS2, but call once again on the UK Government to make the right choices to benefit north Wales, and exert pressure on them to mitigate against the probable impact of HS2 on the economy in South Wales.”

The work carried out by Professor Barry highlights the use of old, inefficient, and unreliable infrastructure constraining the number, speed, and quality of services.

“These constraints dampen demand, restrict economic growth, and increase costs to passengers and tax-payers.

“I will continue to set out a broader vision for a successful rail network. One that helps us meet our obligations to the environment, responsibilities for Well-being and Future Generations, delivers the goals of the Economic Action Plan, and meets the UK Government’s commitment to rebalance the economy.

“The work undertaken has identified direct transport user benefits of at least £2bn, generated by reducing journey times for rail passengers. Additional benefits also arise from reduced road congestion leading to environmental and safety improvements.”

James Price, Chief Executive, Transport for Wales said: “The success of the Wales and Borders rail service relies on efficient and reliable infrastructure with the ability to transport more people more efficiently. We look forward to working with the Welsh and UK governments to deliver improvements that meet the needs of passengers in Wales and across the border.”

Cardiff University Professor of Practice in Connectivity, Mark Barry said: “Wales’ railways are stuck in second gear. Long-term under-investment compared to the UK as a whole has left them unfit for purpose.

“It’s no great surprise fewer people in Wales choose to use the train than in the rest of the UK, leading to less efficient rail operations, higher subsidies per passenger and more road congestion. This is a brake on our economic growth, improvement of air quality and carbon reduction.”

Continue Reading

Business

Kidwelly firm is Responsible Business Champion

Published

on

Award winner: John Burns with Llanelli MP Nia Griffith

BURNS P​ET NUTRITION has been nominated for responsible business award.

The Kidwelly-based natural pet food company Burns Pet Nutrition has been nominated for a National Responsible Business Champion award in Parliament.

John Burns, who owns Burns Pet Nutrition and the Parc y Bocs Farm Shop, attended the ceremony in Westminster last week with local MP Nia Griffith. Mr Burns was nominated for his community outreach work, paying all his staff the Living Wage and providing the only fully-accessible disabled toilet in the Llanelli area.

At the awards ceremony, Mr Burns was congratulated by Andrew Griffiths MP, the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility. He also spoke with Baroness Greengross, who co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group (APCRG) that runs the award.

Nia Griffith MP said, “It was fantastic to welcome John Burns to Parliament last week, and to celebrate all the wonderful things he is doing for the local community in Kidwelly.

“Burns Pet Nutrition is a vibrant and innovative business that provides excellent local job opportunities and work experience placements for young people. It is a genuine Living Wage employer, and does a huge amount of work with local community groups… in particular providing transport for the senior citizen Kidwelly Luncheon Club.

“John’s farm shop at Parc y Bocs is also a huge asset to the community, and astonishingly the ONLY place in the Llanelli area with a fully accessible disabled toilet. This is a model for other businesses and also Carmarthenshire County Council, who need to step up and provide some of these facilities themselves.”

John Burns said “I was delighted to attend Parliament last week with Nia Griffith MP and have my company nominated for a National Responsible Business Champion Award.

“This means a lot to me, as I have always thought it vital that businesses have a connection with the communities they serve. That’s why we strive to provide good job opportunities for local people and pay our staff a proper Living Wage. We also try to help local community groups in any way we can, through our Burns in the Community programmes and donations to good causes.

“We are also very happy to be able to provide a fully-accessible Changing Places toilet at our farm shop. We know the difference this can make for disabled people and those who care for them, so it is important to us that we cater to the whole of the local community and everyone passing through.”

Continue Reading
News2 hours ago

Investigation continues into oil pollution along Cleddau estuary

NATURAL RESOURCES WALES (NRW) is looking into the cause of a pollution incident that has affected several areas along Milford...

News4 hours ago

Huge response to PATCH appeal

“WE’RE going to need a bigger van…..” That was the first reaction of Tracy Olin – manager of the County-based...

News1 day ago

St Davids: Man jailed after ‘drunken, bare-chested’ attack

A ST DAVIDS man is in jail today after a jury convicted him of attacking the father of his then...

News2 days ago

Amroth: RNLI rescue three people swept out to sea

THE RNLI rescued three people after they were washed off rocks by huge waves at Telpyn Point near Amroth. At...

News2 days ago

Interviews to take place this week for £91k council job

INTERVIEWS are to be held this week for a controversial senior role within Pembrokeshire County Council, with an advertised salary...

News2 days ago

Police investigating burglary find two drug dealers

POLICE investigating reports of a burglary found two drug dealers instead. Reece Ford, 19, was visiting his friend and fellow...

News2 days ago

Fishguard: Police catch drug dealer who boasted about selling cannabis

A CANNABIS dealer from Fishguard became so brazen he boasted in social media ‘I buy and sell weed ha ha...

News5 days ago

Stephen Crabb MP speaks out in 40 hour Brexit debate

PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has spoken out against a so-called ‘No Deal Brexit’ which would see Britain leave the EU...

News6 days ago

Police searching for two missing teenage boys

Dyfed-Powys Police is concerned about 15-year-old Shane and 14-year-old Ewan who are missing from Pembrokeshire. Shane is described as white,...

News6 days ago

Have you seen this missing 14-year-old boy from Haverfordwest?

DYFED-POWYS POLICE is concerned for the welfare of 14-year-old Ewan who is missing from Haverfordwest. Ewan is described as white...

Popular This Week