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MP pledges support for local pubs in Gower

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Tonia Antoniazzi MP has pledged her support for the Long Live the Local campaign to help pubs and breweries in Gower recover and thrive.

Tonia joins over 125,000 people who have signed the petition so far, including 137 in Gower alone.

Ms Antoniazzi is calling on the Government to lower VAT for pubs and for an overall reduction in Beer Duty.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on brewers and pubs throughout the UK and continues to do so as the sector tries to kickstart its recovery.

The campaign argues that the sector needs an immediate boost and the fact that a local pub adds £100,000 to its local economy, creates jobs and acts as a social hub, underlines how directly investment in the form of lower VAT and an overall cut to beer duty can help pubs and their communities to recover. It will also boost Britain’s world class brewing sector, a homegrown manufacturing success story that brews over 80% of the beer we drink.

Brewing and pubs in Gower supports 1344 jobs and contributes £29m to the local economy. With £1 in every £3 pounds spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers and pub goers are overtaxed and this is hampering the recovery of our cherished locals and Britain`s brewers.

Commenting on the campaign, Tonia Antoniazzi MP said: “Pubs are at the heart of communities across Gower, but with pubs bearing a disproportionate burden as a result of the pandemic the Government should consider cutting unfair taxes on pubs that are hampering their recovery. I’m supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to lower VAT for pubs and reduce Beer Duty overall at this year’s Budget to support the recovery of pubs.”

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Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: “85% of pubs are based in community and rural areas, bringing jobs to the parts of the UK that need them most. They employ over 600,000 people, of which 43% are under 25. Cutting VAT and an overall reduction in Beer Duty would go a long way to helping pubs and brewers across Gower that are desperately trying to recover.

“We are very grateful to Tonia Antoniazzi for her support for the Long Live the Local campaign, and hope that the Government listens to MPs across Parliament and the thousands of people across the country who are calling on the Chancellor to lower VAT & Business Rates for pubs and reduce Beer Duty overall.”

Lead image: Emma McClarkin with Tonia Antoniazzi. 

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Food & Drink

New Neath Abbey ALDI celebrates opening with Team GB Olympian

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A brand new Aldi store in Neath opened its doors to customers this morning at 8am, with Team GB Olympic Rugby hero Sam Cross, cutting the all-important red ribbon alongside pupils from Abbey Primary School.  

The Abbey Road store is the new Aldi to open in and around Neath, and will be run by Store Manager Geraint Davies, along with a team of 25 colleagues from the local community.  

In celebration, Team GB silver medallist Sam Cross gave away complimentary bags of fresh fruit and vegetables from Aldi’s famous Super 6 range to the first 30 customers in the queue, before delivering an inspirational virtual assembly for pupils at Abbey Primary School as part of the supermarket’s initiative, Get Set to Eat Fresh – which has already inspired over two million school children aged 5-14 years to learn more about the benefits of cooking fresh, healthy food with their families.  

Olympian Sam Cross hands out bags of super six items to customers at Aldi’s New store opening at Neath Abbey

As Aldi has been fuelling Team GB with fresh, healthy food since 2015, the silver medallist from Rio 2016 focused on the benefits of eating healthy food and the importance of exercise and believing in yourself. He also talked to pupils about his experience of competing as an Olympian and shared his challenging training regime.  

Store Manager Geraint Davies said: “It’s been a wonderful morning here at the opening of Aldi Neath. It was lovely to welcome our new customers into store, and I look forward to meeting more of the community in the coming weeks. I’m also thrilled that we’ve been able to support Abbey Primary School through our partnership with Team GB.”  

Team GB hero Sam Cross added: “I’ve had a fantastic time opening the new Aldi this morning. It was an honour to officially open the store and welcome customers inside for the first time. 

“It was great to speak with the children at Abbey Primary School about the importance of eating healthily and how it can be fun to plan and prepare meals as a family. Hopefully I’ve also managed to inspire the pupils to keep active and try different sports.”  

Olympian Sam Cross with Store Manager Geraint Davies and Aldi team members at Aldi’s New store opening at Neath Abbey

The new Aldi store offers large chillers and freezers dedicated to fresh, Welsh meat products, a ‘Food to Go’ section at the front of the store, and an exclusive section full of Health & Beauty products.  

Neath customers can also take a walk down the ‘Aisle of Aldi’, where they will find legendary Specialbuys which are available every Thursday and Sunday. During opening week, the store will be offering a wide range of toys, including Barbie colour reveal dolls for £16.99, Meccano 150-piece buckets for £19.99 and Christmas Squishmallows for £7.99. 

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Aldi’s new store at Neath Abbey

Additionally, the new Aldi store is calling on local charities and food banks in Neath to register with Neighbourly, a community engagement platform that links businesses to charitable organisations in the local community.   

Local charities that register will be able to collect surplus food and perishable products, such as fruit, vegetables and baked goods, up to seven days a week. Any charities in the area that would like to partner up with the new Aldi store should email aldi@neighbourly.com.  

The new store is located at Abbey Road, Neath, SA10 7BR and will be open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 10pm, and on Sunday’s from 10am to 4pm.

(Lead image: Olympian Sam Cross with Store Manager Geraint Davies and Aldi team members at Aldi’s New store opening at Neath Abbey)

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Food & Drink

Swansea BID Paints the city centre red for Beaujolais Day

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Swansea’s iconic Castle Square fountain has turned red for Beaujolais Day 2021 – as the city centre celebrates the biggest day in its social calendar.

Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) is wishing its city centre businesses a busy and successful Beaujolais Day as they roll out their special menus and events.

Swansea BID Chief Executive, Russell Greenslade, said: “We are pleased to see so many of our BID area businesses getting on board with Beaujolais Day 2021 on Thursday 18 November and we are pleased to ‘paint the town red’ by colouring the Castle Square fountain red for the big day as visitors head into the city centre to enjoy the unrivalled hospitality we have to offer.

“As a BID we are putting more money into operations to support visitors and our hospitality sector businesses. 

“On Beaujolais Day we are supplying two new Night Marshals to start work in the city centre at 5pm, supporting our businesses security team and police partners. And there will be a boosted team on Friday and Saturday night, too.

“Our venues all continue to take their public safety responsibilities very seriously and we know they are working hard to ensure the highest possible safety standards so people can feel confident and relaxed on their nights out. 

“We are pleased to see Swansea hospitality businesses embracing Beaujolais Day – an event which has become crucial to the local economy, and we are pleased to be supporting them in this. Beaujolais Day is one of the key calendar dates for city centre businesses and the event is good for our businesses across clothing, beauty, and, of course hospitality. Let’s continue to work hard to make it safe and enjoyable.”

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Lidl to become UK’s highest paying supermarket

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Lidl GB has announced plans for its biggest ever investment into colleague wages, making it the highest paying supermarket in the UK.

The commitment of £18 million will see entry-level pay rise from £9.50 to £10.10 per hour outside of London and £10.85 to £11.35 within the M25, with colleagues earning up to £11.40 and £12.25 respectively, depending on length of service.

It also represents a pay rise of over 6% for some employees and will directly benefit over 21,000 Lidl colleagues across the country, which equates to over 80% of its workforce.

The discounter say they have long been committed to increasing wages in line with the cost of living, with a combined investment of over £50 million into hourly wages over the past five years. Lidl say this latest rise recognises the hard work and dedication of frontline colleagues during the last 18 months of the pandemic.

As a result of the increase, Lidl employees will benefit from 60p per hour more than the National Living Wage (for over 23s). The commitment also follows a £200 thank-you payment to all front-line workers this year, in recognition of their commitment and dedication throughout the pandemic, as well as a £150 gift voucher for all employees in 2020. This represented a combined investment of £9.5 million from the business.

Christian Härtnagel, Chief Executive Officer at Lidl GB said: “At Lidl, our frontline colleagues are the backbone of our business. They have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months of the Covid-19 crisis and are integral to our future success. We have ambitious plans to grow our business across Great Britain, and to do that we need to ensure we attract and look after the best talent at every level of our business.  This year we feel incredibly lucky to be in a position as a business to go even further by making this significant investment in our incredible workforce, which will make us the best paying supermarket in the UK.” 

Nan Gibson, Chief HR Officer commented: “In 2015 we became the first supermarket in the UK to match the rates advocated by the Living Wage Foundation, and we are proud to have consistently increased wages every year since. There is no denying how hard our people work, more so than ever during recent times, and we’re delighted to be able to give our store and distribution centre colleagues the recognition they deserve and look forward to welcoming new colleagues to our teams in the months ahead.”

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The wage increase, which will come into effect from the discounter’s new financial year in March 2022, forms part of the discounter’s wider plans to invest £1.3bn in Great Britain, in 2021 and 2022, alongside a 1,000 stores target by the end of 2023. The commitment also builds on other benefits such as enhanced holiday entitlement and development opportunities and a 10% colleague discount.  

(Lead image: Lidl)

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