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Business forum weighs up Covid-19 impact

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AN ONLINE meeting of Pembrokeshire businesses has shone a spotlight on the impact that Covid-19 is having on the local economy.

Using video conferencing, local MP Stephen Crabb assembled a forum of 17 key businesses, along with Welsh Parliament Member Paul Davies and representatives from Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire College, to discuss the impact of the pandemic on local firms. Businesses included building merchants and contractors, manufacturers, food producers, software developers, tourism and transport firms.

The conference call was organised by the Preseli MP as a way for the County’s key employers to meet together whilst adhering to the government guidance. It gave businesses the opportunity to speak directly to their MP, raising their experiences of running businesses during these unprecedented times.

Following the meeting, Stephen Crabb said:“Coronavirus has sent shockwaves through our local economy with many businesses closing overnight as the country ground to a halt under lockdown. Numerous support packages have been announced by UK and Welsh government. But while some businesses have been able to get support quickly, others have run into a brick wall. Hearing first-hand feedback on the way these schemes are working is vital if we are going to work out which businesses are falling through the gaps.”

“Pembrokeshire’s economy has been hit hard by the pandemic and the future is far from clear. We need our local firms to come through this crisis and help rebuild the economy on the other side. It has never been more important for all tiers of government to be listening to those who work incredibly hard to create and sustain jobs in our community.”

Paul Davies MS added: “The Forum was a great opportunity to hear first-hand some of the challenges that businesses across Pembrokeshire are facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and that feedback is invaluable in making representations to the Welsh Government. I’ll continue to raise the issues faced by local businesses with the First Minister at every opportunity as it’s clear that more work needs to be done to address the gaps in the Government’s business support packages.”

“The economic impact of Covid-19 is huge and if significant changes aren’t made, then many local businesses will simply not be able to weather this storm. These are unprecedented times and we’ve all got to work together to mitigate the impact that coronavirus is having on our local economy and our communities. I’ll certainly be doing everything in my power to raise the concerns of local businesses and I’ll continue to encourage the Welsh Government to provide further support, where it can, to those sectors that are most vulnerable.”

The Welsh Affairs Select committee, chaired by Stephen Crabb, is seeking evidence from Welsh businesses who have been impacted by coronavirus. If your business would like to submit evidence, please visit https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=nt3mHDeziEC-Xo277ASzSsdf6aRbb_hHi61kcnJ3-KJUNEpKUVQ3ODkxU0tTQUdVV05ZMFhYRFozRy4u before the survey closes at 5pm on May 15th.

UK-wide, 6.3 million workers have been furloughed since the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme opened on April 20, with 800,000 companies making use of the scheme. The Bounce Back Loan scheme which opened Monday (May 4) saw more than 100,000 applications in its first day. Further conference calls with the tourism hospitality sector and the charity sector will be held in the coming weeks.

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Drug drive arrest following routine check

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A MALE has been arrested following a positive roadside test.

The vehicle, which was stopped this morning, June 6, by the Pembrokeshire Road Policing Unit (Pembrokeshire RPU) was part of a routine check.

Traffic officers suspected the driver may be under the influence after smelling cannabis coming from the vehicle.

A roadside drug test was performed with a positive result with the drugswab provided. A small quantity of cannabis was also found inside the vehicle.

The cannabis was seized and the driver was arrested, later released under investigation, pending the male’s blood test result for the drug drive offence, out of court disposal for the possession.

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Campers from Cardiff sent packing

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PEMBROKESHIRE Road Policing Unit (Pembrokeshire RPU) have this morning, June 5, reported nine individuals for breaching coronavirus regulations.

The occupants of the three vehicles, all from the Cardiff area, had moved barriers that had been in place to close off the carpark to the public and set up camp for the night.

A Pembrokeshire RPU spokesperson said ‘Three vehicles from the Cardiff area located at Abereiddy this morning.

“The occupants of the vehicles, who’d travelled down overnight, had moved the barriers that had been used to close the car park. Having done so they then set up camp nearby.

“All nine persons present were reported for breaching coronavirus regulations. One was further dealt with by means of an out of court disposal for possession of cannabis.

“Rubbish cleaned up, car park closure reinstated, vehicles escorted out of Pembs.”

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Police urge visitors to ‘check the rules’

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POLICE in Powys are reminding people to check the rules before they travel, as tourists from the Midlands, London and Bristol continue to visit despite lockdown restrictions.

Last weekend more than 1,000 cars were turned around by police in the Brecon Beacons after visitors attempted to access the area around Ystradfellte known as ‘waterfall country’.

Many of those stopped claimed they thought the rules around travel were the same as in England, while others had deliberately flouted them.

Seventy-two per cent of people reported for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions in Powys since March 27 have been from outside the police force area.

“I would like to thank the communities of Powys for their cooperation in recent months in complying with requirements of the Covid 19 legislation and also reassure them we are still working hard with our partners to police the restrictions that remain in place across Wales,” said Superintendent Steve Davies.

“Our officers have worked hard to engage with the public at every opportunity throughout these unprecedented times by explaining what we are doing and why, and encouraging people to make the best choices to protect public health in Wales.

“But where people have clearly flouted the rules we have dealt with them appropriately and issued fines.”

He said officers will continue to conduct stop checks throughout Powys and across the force area this weekend.

In England, people can now travel an unlimited distance for exercise and to access so-called ‘beauty spots’.

But the Welsh Government has said people must remain local – ideally not travelling further than five miles from their home – for exercise or limited leisure pursuits, and this also applies to anyone travelling across the border.

Wales’ three national parks – which include popular sites such as Snowdon, the Elan valley and the Pembrokeshire coast – currently remain closed to the public, as do all National Trust car parks and properties.

The latest Welsh Government advice is available at gov.wales/coronavirus.

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