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Carmarthenshire

‘Energy bill nightmare’ – Figures reveal areas of Wales set to be hardest hit by price hike

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couple calculating all their bills

New research has revealed the areas in Wales set to be hardest hit by the crippling energy price hike announced by Ofgem today.

This news comes as Ofgem have announced a 54% increase in the energy price cap, with average bills reaching nearly £2,000.

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Average energy bills per household are expected to rise by £970 in some areas, according to analysis of ONS data by the party.

The worst hit local authority areas include Ceredigion (£972), Gwynedd (£904), Carmarthenshire (£853) and Powys (£848).

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds, who represents 5/6 of the worst hit areas through the Mid & West Wales Region in the Senedd, has stated that the figures show the “absolute energy bill nightmare” being faced by families across Wales while oil and gas firms are making record profits.

The party are calling for a windfall tax on the super profits of gas and oil producers and traders to fund support for vulnerable households struggling to pay their energy bills.

The Welsh Conservatives meanwhile are calling on the Labour-run Welsh Government to use a newly announced £175m from the UK Government to give families a council tax rebate and ease of cost of living crisis.

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Following Ofgem’s confirmation today that the energy price cap will rise by £700 from April, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a three-part plan to help with household fuel bills immediately and protect people against half of this increase – worth £350 per household, in a total package of support worth £8.6 billion across the United Kingdom.

The plan includes a £200 ‘smoothing’ rebate on energy bills for all households across Britain, to be paid back over the next five years at £40 per year – starting from April 2023.

It also includes a non-repayable £150 cash rebate for homes in Council Tax bands A-D – equivalent to 80 per cent of all households, helping both lower and middle-income families.

There’s also £144 million of discretionary funding for local authorities to support households not eligible for the council tax rebate.

Points two and three of the plan are devolved and will see the Labour administration in Cardiff Bay receive an extra £175m in consequential funding.

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Welsh Conservatives are calling for this sum to be spent immediately on delivering households a tax rebate and giving all councils in Wales money for discretionary funding to help families.

Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies MS, said: “As the British economy continues its recovery from the pandemic, we must confront the global inflationary pressures caused by the world economy coming swiftly back to life.

“Much of this inflation is being driven by the rising cost of energy due to increased demand worldwide – and that is feeding through into pressures on the cost of living at home.

“Soaring energy bills are a major worry for hardworking families across Wales and the UK and the Conservative Chancellor has once again stepped up to the plate to help people in a time of need.

“With Labour ministers in Cardiff Bay set to receive £175 million as a result of the Chancellor’s action plan, it’s vital they use this money immediately to fund tax rebates and create a discretionary fund for local authorities to use on households who do not meet the criteria.

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“This announcement by Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives will mean so much to so many people and will help them meet the cost of living this winter, and I implore Labour to use the money wisely and swiftly to ease the cost of living pressures facing families across Wales.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:  “People across Wales are facing an energy bill nightmare, with some of the worst affected areas being Conservative held seats.

“But instead of taxing the record profits of oil and gas companies to fund a package of support, Rishi Sunak is simply spreading the pain for families over the coming years. These plans are playing Russian roulette with taxpayers’ money, gambling that energy prices will fall instead of investing in keeping people’s bills down.

“Sadly, it seems many Welsh Conservative MPs are more interested in protecting the large profits of global oil and gas companies rather than providing support to families struggling to meet ends met up and down the country.

“It is also an insult to take £150 of a family’s council tax while hiking their taxes by an average of £600, giving with one hand while taking away more with the other.  

“Nethertheless, the money that will come to the Welsh Government via Barnett from today’s announcement on council tax rebates, needs to be used by the Welsh Government to help people suffering rising costs in Wales.”

Areas in Wales by size of energy price hike (updated 03/02/22)

Region nameLocal authority district nameAverage cost of energy bills March 2021Average cost of energy bills in April 2022Increase to energy bills in April 2022
Mid & West WalesCeredigion1,092£2,064£972
Mid & West Wales // North WalesGwynedd1,016£1,920£904
Mid & West WalesCarmarthenshire958£1,811£853
Mid & West WalesPowys953£1,801£848
North WalesIsle of Anglesey918£1,735£817
Mid & West WalesPembrokeshire896£1,693£797
North WalesDenbighshire895£1,692£797
North WalesConwy841£1,589£748
South Wales EastBlaenau Gwent839£1,586£747
South Wales CentralRhondda Cynon Taf831£1,571£740
North WalesFlintshire806£1,523£717
South Wales WestNeath Port Talbot805£1,521£716
South Wales EastMonmouthshire804£1,520£716
South Wales EastMerthyr Tydfil782£1,478£696
South Wales EastCaerphilly772£1,459£687
South Wales WestBridgend763£1,442£679
South Wales CentralVale of Glamorgan750£1,418£668
South Wales WestSwansea749£1,416£667
North WalesWrexham738£1,395£657
South Wales EastTorfaen727£1,374£647
South Wales EastNewport682£1,289£607
South Wales CentralCardiff677£1,280£603
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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthenshire

Women’s Tour of Britain returns to Carmarthenshire

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The countdown is on before the world’s top women riders will race through Carmarthenshire as part of the Women’s Tour of Britain.

Some 108 cyclists will race through the County to the finishing line on top of the Black Mountain between Llangadog and Brynamman as part of the stage five event on Friday, June 10.

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The route will be starting from Pembrey Country Park at 10.45am and riders competing for the title will go through Pinged, Carway, Pontyberem, Horeb, Llansawel, and Llangadog.

A rolling road closure will take place along the 65-mile route which will come into action at 10.45am until 1.50pm.

Roads will be re-opened once the cyclists have passed through. A full road closure will be in place over the Black Mountain from 5am-5pm.

The event will be broadcast on ITV4 and across Europe with a helicopter camera crew following the race.

The Women’s Tour departs on Monday, June 6, and coincides with the final day of a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The race will culminate with a prestigious finale six days later on Saturday, June 11.

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Pembrey Country Park previously hosted the Grand Départ of the men’s Tour of Britain as well as the overall finish of the Women’s Tour in 2019.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters said: “We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host this top cycling event. Previous years have brought an immediate economic boost to the tourism sector as well as providing a great deal of positive media coverage.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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