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Best-loved imports include fajitas and chilli con carne

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Spaghe-Bolog_793727cGOOGLE, fajitas and chilli con carne have emerged on a list of Wales best-loved imports, research revealed yesterday. 

A poll of 2,000 adults also saw Disney, French croissants, and Chinese food placed high on the list of things from other countries that have become a key part of everyday life. Research shows that the way to Brits hearts is through their stomach, with fajitas and spaghetti bolognese also appearing in the top 50 best-loved imports. The research, commissioned by experts in world food, Santa Maria, found 27 of the top 50 people, places and brands that we’ve adopted as our own were food-related items, showing the country’s passion for international food is ever-growing. Alongside our love of food, the passion for technology is clear – Google is a way of life with devotion to Facebook and iPhones also common and all three finishing high. And our love of great entertainment is also easy to spot – Friends, Sex and the City, Breaking Bad and even the adventures of Hercule Poirot have enthralled the region via the small screen. Yesterday a spokesman for Santa Maria said: ‘’The list shows a wide and varied array of things that have really had an impact on life in the UK and become a part of the culture here. “The rise of spicier food especially Fajitas and Nachos, shows the growing desire in UK consumers to pair flavour stimulation with the calming counterpart of corn based staple food notes – a balance perfectly delivered in Mexican style foods.” “The rise of tastier and more varied foods from Chinese through to Fajitas, which featured in the top 10 favourites, shows how consumers in the UK want tasty foods with more rapid flavour changes, texture spikes and challenges.” The international sex appeal of George Clooney and Brad Pitt sees them established as a part of British culture, while Kylie Minogue is also treasured. And the inimitable style of Quentin Tarantino’s big-screen films sees him included in the list of the best things from overseas. While we do love a touch of glamour – fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel perfume also appeared on the list. Narrowly missing out on the top 50 was legendary French footballer Eric Cantona and muscle-man Arnold Schwarzenegger, while the TV soap neighbours and website Buzz Feed also just missed out. The research showed the extent to which Brits fill their lives with international products one in five people currently watches more American TV shows than British. In fact more than a third of Brits were more likely to eat meals that originated overseas than they were to eat British classics like fish and chips or shepherd’s pie in a typical week. And when it comes to eating the British sense of adventure is growing with seven in ten feeling the range of foods eaten is wider than ever before. In terms of flavour, Brits palates are changing with Brits declaring themselves big fans of spicy food. Perhaps there’s no surprise then that eating out at Mexican, Chinese or Indian restaurants was found to be just as popular as choosing to eat in a pub, results showed. Taste psychologist, Greg Tucker, who worked with Santa Maria on the campaign said: ‘’The acquisition of foreign stimuli has long been an accepted part of UK life. Despite what many think it is actually true that the UK has a very open character to acquiring and making their own a whole range of foreign influences. ‘’The growing love for things such as Chinese, Mexican and Caribbean food has developed in a way in which they have become integrated into the British psyche and way of life. ‘’What was foreign to previous generations is fast becoming a part of life in 21st Century Britain – and this process will continue and accelerate as these new sauces and tastes become adopted in the household and children are exposed to them at a younger age.’’

10 BEST-LOVED IMPORTS IN WALES 

1. Spaghetti Bolognaise 41% 

2. Chinese food 40% 

3. Google 39% 

4. Disney 30%

 5. Facebook 28% 

6. Pasta 29% 

7. Fajita 29% 

8. Chilli con carne 26% 

9. McDonald’s 26% 

10. Friends 22%

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Business

WG to exceed apprentice target

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Ken Skates: Apprentices make a significant contribution to economy

THE WELSH GOVERNMENT is on course to exceed its target of providing 100,000 all-age, high-quality apprenticeships across Wales during this Assembly term, Economy Minister Ken Skates has said at the beginning of Apprenticeship Week.
Since the target was introduced, more than 74,000 individuals have embarked on an apprenticeship allowing them to learn whilst earning a wage and boost their career prospects.
Apprenticeship Week 2020 is a week-long celebration of the hard work and dedication of apprentices as well as the support and commitment shown by their employers. Events are taking place across Wales to mark the occasion.
The Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Skills policy is aimed at aligning apprenticeships to meet the needs for a flourishing Welsh economy so Wales can compete globally with a highly skilled workforce.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Speaking as Apprenticeship Week gets underway, Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “In my role, I have met apprentices in all parts of Wales and it’s fantastic to see how they have grasped the opportunity to learn new skills, develop their knowledge and build confidence.
“It’s clear that apprenticeships make a significant contribution to the Welsh economy and drive our vision for a prosperous Wales.
“As a government, we are committed to seeing our workforce grow and our investment in apprenticeships is a great example of that.
“I want to see Wales lead the way and be a prime example to nations around the globe of how investing in apprenticeships can reap major benefits.
“With unemployment in Wales at a record low and our manifesto target of creating 100,000 apprenticeships in this assembly set to be exceeded, the Welsh Government can be rightly proud of the actions we’re taking to supercharge our economy.
“Apprenticeship Week offers us a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the tangible and very real difference apprentices and their employers make.
“Our ‘make a genius decision’ apprenticeship campaign is also playing a key role in encouraging businesses to recruit an apprentice and realise the positive difference they can make to the workplace.”
Mohammad Asghar AM/AC, the Shadow Minister for Further Education said: “Apprenticeships offer a different education and career path for many people, and such opportunities expand and enhance the range of provision available – and across the age range.
“Gone are the days when an apprenticeship was solely for young school leavers. The most recent figures from StatsWales indicate nearly 59,000 apprentices, ranging in age from the under-16s to later-life learners of over 65.”
Mr Asghar added that it is not only the age range that so impresses him, but also the breadth of the courses offered.
He continued: “We see also a very large range – from the agricultural sector to media, and from engineering to business – of industries covered. It is interesting to note, too, is that around 60 percent of all apprentices in Wales are female.
“I, and my Welsh Conservative colleagues, strongly believe that apprenticeships offer in many cases what a degree cannot, and that is the ability to ‘earn as you learn’, and this is one of the reasons why we back apprenticeships, and National Apprenticeship Week 2020.”

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Business

Welsh businesses increase in number

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Philip Winterborne: Chair of Wales' insolvency and restructuring body, R3

THE NUMBER of active businesses in Wales rose by over 4,400 between January 2019 and January 2020, according to new figures from the Welsh branch of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3.
There were over 110,000 active companies registered in Wales in January of this year, compared to just under 106,000 12 months ago – a rise of 4.2%. The growth in active business numbers across 2019 was around two and a half times higher than the increase seen over 2018, with the number of active Welsh-headquartered businesses growing by around 1,800 (equivalent to 1.7%) between January 2018 and January 2019.
Wales’s growth in active company numbers in 2019 was slightly higher than the rate for the UK as a whole (3.8%), and Wales is currently home to around 3% of all active companies registered in the UK. Of all 12 UK regions, London has by far the highest percentage of registered company headquarters, with 25.3% of the total.
Commenting on the research, R3 Wales’s Chair Philip Winterborne, a partner at Temple Bright solicitors, said: “It’s really encouraging that, against a backdrop of subdued economic growth and considerable uncertainty, the net increase in Wales-based businesses has been so strong across 2019.
“The fact that 2019 saw two and a half times as many new businesses created as 2018 is also heartening, while all the newly-created companies should give a boost to the Welsh economy as we prepare for a year of significant change.
“Launching a new venture is always nerve-wracking, and everyone who takes the plunge should be applauded for their initiative. In many cases, entrepreneurs take out loans with personal guarantees attached – this is something we are seeing more and more, and anyone in this position should be alive to the consequent risks to their own financial standing if business isn’t as good as anticipated.
“New businesses are often less robust than more established ones, for obvious reasons, and it takes a lot to make a venture a success. If a company hits a bump in the road, unbiased third-party advice from a qualified and accredited business expert, such as an insolvency practitioner, can be a crucial ingredient in averting more trouble. The sooner directors seek help, the more options they have for turnaround and subsequent success.”
The figures are compiled by R3 using Bureau van Dijk’s ‘Fame’ database of UK companies.

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Migrant salary threshold lowered

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£30,000 salary threshold: Government committee recommends reduction

THE GOVERNMENT’s Migration Advisory Committee recommended lowering the minimum salary threshold for migrant workers to the UK to £25,600 in a report presented to the Home Secretary last week.
However, despite the report’s authors acknowledging the large regional variation in average salaries, it does not recommend any adjustments for lower-paid areas.
That decision potentially has interlocking effects. Firstly, in higher-paid urban areas in the south of England migrant labour will be cheaper than elsewhere. Secondly, skills shortages in sectors in which migrants work are likely to increase in the English regions and devolved countries where wages are on average lower than £25,600. The Committee said temporary workers should be admitted where shortages would adversely affect the economy.
Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said: “The recommendation to lower the proposed minimum salary threshold to £25,600 is a welcome, pro-business proposal, which would widen the scope for employing those beyond highly-paid professions.
“It is vital that the workers and skills needed for the UK’s economy to grow are not locked out by a future immigration system which is unresponsive to business needs.
“One in five small employers in the UK have at least one staff member from the EU.
“FSB research shows that four-in-five small employers that hire staff into jobs classed as mid-skilled do so into roles with salaries less than £30,000. This includes positions in sectors such as engineering and IT.
“The recommendation for a route to the UK without a job offer is also positive, but this must be open to mid-skilled workers and not restricted to highly-paid professionals. It should allow for smaller businesses across all regions, nations and sectors to recruit the people with the skills they need.
“It is pleasing to see that the committee has listened to FSB’s arguments for a salary threshold below £30,000, as well as an unsponsored route, which selects migrants based on their personal characteristics and allows for regional variation.
“The challenge now for the government will be to have a new, employer-responsive immigration system in place in time for the end of the transition period eleven months from now, and allowing sufficient time for small business employers to prepare. FSB looks forward to working with the government on this.”

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