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Customs clearance company sets up new Llanelli office

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Clearing Customs UK has opened a new office in Dafen, Llanelli.

With the substantial increase in demand for customs clearance declarations post-Brexit, a requirement for a local agent in Llanelli was identified by Customs Clearance UK who have officially opened their office this week in Dafen.

Clearing Customs UK and their team of 6 dedicated agents say they aim to assist clients with compliance of the extensive new customs regulations and to help them to avoid potential delays and costs at borders.

Over the next few months all exports from the UK to Europe will legally require customs clearance documentation. Time management, border delays, expenses, lack of expertise and audit compliance will all be new challenges facing UK businesses.

Clearing Customs UK, a member of the British International Freight Association and FIATA, will act as a company’s customs clearance agent, lodging import and export declarations and interfacing with customs on their behalf, enabling customers to track each step of the clearance process.

Andrew Holden, manager of Clearing Customs UK’s new Llanelli office

Andrew Holden, Manager of the new Office in Llanelli said: “Over the last two years it has been clear to UK businesses that there would be big challenges facing importers and exporters as a result of Brexit.

“Full EU border controls have applied on GB goods going to the EU since the start of January, which has caused problems for some exporters already, but goods coming in the other direction have benefited from a grace period.

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“This period will come to an end over the next few months with significant impact on importations, particularly food products. All this contributes to a major new layer of bureaucracy and complexity that business will need to be ready for and get assistance with.”

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Free marketing support helping hundreds of Swansea tourism businesses

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Close to 200 tourism businesses in Swansea are now being given a helping hand to raise their profile across the UK and beyond, thanks to free marketing support.

An £80,000 Swansea Council scheme means that fees will be waived again – for a third year – so tourism and hospitality businesses can continue to feature on the official Visit Swansea Bay destination website at no cost until March 2023. 

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These businesses can also benefit from a series of marketing campaigns designed to encourage new visitors to Swansea, Mumbles and Gower.

It’s one of many schemes being funded by the council’s £25m Economic Recovery Fund to support businesses and communities throughout Swansea to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

Swansea Council has also offered tourism businesses the opportunity to improve their visitor offer with a Tourism Support Fund launched in October. This fund is now fully committed after a very positive response from local operators who wished to enhance their business in order to be able to attract more visitors.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “Tourism makes a significant contribution to Swansea’s economy, so we’re determined to do all we can to support the sector during the extremely challenging times of the pandemic.

“Since we first waived fees at the beginning of the pandemic for tourism businesses to feature on visitswanseabay.com, over 70 additional businesses have signed up for the service. This means close to 200 tourism businesses are now benefitting from not just more exposure but also inclusion in our year-long destination marketing campaigns, including new social media and video on demand TV advertising referring back to the website for more information.

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“Figures show the Visit Swansea Bay website generates many millions of views a year, so this presents a great opportunity for tourism businesses to further raise their profile as we head towards the critically important Easter and summer seasons for the tourism sector.”

Businesses benefitting from the website fee waiving include the El Pescador Restaurant and Bar on Trawler Road, as well as the King Arthur Hotel in Reynoldston, Gower.

King Arthur Hotel

Carly Shapton, of the King Arthur Hotel, said: “Given the impact Coronavirus has had on hospitality since March 2020, the support from Swansea Council through waiving the Visit Swansea Bay partnership fees has been very much appreciated.  

“The weekly email updates, press and journalist visits, and in particular the ‘late availability’ section on the Visit Swansea Bay website, have been very useful. This has given our business an extra boost during what have been a difficult few years.”

Swansea Council has now committed over £13.6m to more than 50 projects as part of its Economic Recovery Fund. Other schemes covered by the fund include free bus travel initiatives, the provision of free outside public space use for businesses to expand, and the installation of extra Christmas lights in the city centre over the festive period.

Also covered by the fund is a new Energy Awareness Hub on Nelson Street. Commissioned by the council and run by the Environment Centre, the hub aims to help local people cut their fuel bills by providing free, accessible and independent support.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Swansea investment management firm second award in 4 months

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Swansea-based Crossing Point Investment Management has been crowned best ESG Investment Management Firm in the UK Finance Awards 2021.

This is the company’s second award win in four months, after it was crowned best discretionary fund manager (DFM) for the South West and Wales region in the 2021 Citywire Adviser Choice Awards in September.

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Tomiko Evans

Founded in 2018, Crossing Point manages clients’ investment portfolios using various strategies. Its Green Path portfolios, which won it the award, focus on investments guided by environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.

Crossing Point’s investment strategies are rooted in academic research carried out by Tomiko Evans, the firm’s managing director and chief investment officer, and Crossing Point’s investment manager Mike Buckle, who is a Professor of Finance at Swansea University.

The UK Finance Awards, hosted by SME News, champion and recognise those in the financial services sector who have shown industry excellence over the past year.

Now in its third consecutive year, the awards focus on small and medium sized companies in the sector. The winners are chosen on merit alone.

Tomiko Evans, managing director and chief investment officer and Crossing Point Investment Management, said: “We’re delighted to receive this award, which highlights our commitment to providing ethical investment options for our clients.

“Socially responsible investment (SRI) and the use of ESG investment criteria to guide investments has moved into the mainstream.

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“There is now overwhelming evidence that sustainable investment can deliver comparable returns with traditional investments and offer opportunities for outperformance based on reduced risk.

“This award recognises the importance of this growing sector, and our place within it.”

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City council urges more businesses to apply for COVID support funding

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Over £2.8m worth of emergency Covid financial support has been provided to more than 1,000 Swansea businesses and charities since a new grant scheme went live earlier this month.

The scheme – funded by the Welsh Government and run by Swansea Council – covers retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses, charities and not-for-profit organisations impacted by Wales’ move to alert level two in late December. 

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Eligible businesses as well as those in their supply chains which are liable to pay non-domestic rates could be entitled to grants of £2,000, £4,000 or £6,000, depending on their rateable value.

The council is now calling on all eligible businesses which have yet to apply to submit an application form by the deadline of 5pm on Monday February 14.

More information, eligibility criteria and registration and application details are now available on the council’s website.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “Our officers have already processed close to 1,000 successful applications, but we’d urge any eligible business or charity that’s yet to apply to get their forms in before the application window for this support closes.

“We’re aiming to process fully completed applications within seven working days, although applications that require further checking or supporting evidence will take longer to assess.

“This is among many ways the council is working with the Welsh Government and other partners to support our businesses during these extremely challenging times.”

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An emergency grant scheme is also now available for Swansea businesses in the leisure, tourism, hospitality and retail sectors that do not pay business rates.

Funded by the Welsh Government and run by Swansea Council, the Emergency Business Fund grant scheme is aimed at helping support businesses impacted by current Covid restrictions which are not eligible for the Economic Resilience Fund.

Covering business impacted from Monday December 13 to Monday February 14, online applications are now open which cover two levels of grant award:

  • A £1,000 cash grant payment for hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure or related supply chain businesses which do not employ anyone apart from the owner, and do not have a property
  • A £2,000 cash grant payment for hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure or related supply chain businesses who employ staff through PAYE (in addition to the owner)

Also covering freelancers in the creative sector, both these grants are aimed at supporting businesses with an annual turnover of less than £85,000.

Businesses which may be eligible are asked to visit the Business Wales website where the eligibility checker must be completed before applicants are able to access the application form.

All applications for these grants must also be submitted by 5pm on Monday February 14.

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