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‘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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Dyfed Powys Police

Drivers in Dyfed-Powys police area least likely to have car stolen

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New research has shown that drivers in Dyfed-Powys police’s area are the least likely to have their car stolen in all of England and Wales.

There were 623 vehicle thefts in 2021. This means just 1.2 cars were stolen per thousand households.

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The study, conducted by  A-Plan Insurance, was carried out by assessing Home Office data of vehicle thefts in each Police Force Area and determining the rate according to the number of thefts per household. 

With 100,185 cars stolen in London in 2021, England’s capital had 11.1. vehicle thefts per thousand households. This puts it first for the area where drivers are most likely to be the victims of vehicle theft. 

The West Midlands comes second for its vehicle crime rate, with 10.4 vehicle thefts per thousand households (30,608 cars stolen in 2021), while Greater Manchester had nine cars stolen per thousand households (25,495 vehicle thefts), making it the third most dangerous place to own a car. 

Cumbria and North Yorkshire are also some of the least likely areas for vehicle theft, with 727 and 1,433 cars stolen respectively in 2021. That’s 1.5 vehicle thefts per thousand households in Cumbria and 1.7 in North Yorkshire. 

The research also analysed data from 2020, to determine whether vehicle thefts have increased or decreased in each Police Force Area since last year, finding that although London is still the worst place for vehicle theft, the crime rate is improving. Compared to 2020, car thefts in the capital are down by nine per cent, however, it’s a different story in the West Midlands, with 12 per cent more vehicles stolen in 2021.  

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Greater Manchester also saw an increase of five per cent on last year, but Hampshire is the area where vehicle theft has increased the most, with 22 per cent more cars stolen in 2021 than in 2020. 

Gloucestershire has seen the biggest improvement when it comes to the number of cars stolen in the area, with nearly a third fewer thefts in 2021, compared to 2020. 

The full results of the research

Police Force Area Household figures (mid-2020) rounded to 100 Vehicle thefts per 1,000 households (year ending Dec 2021) Total vehicle thefts (year ending Dec 2021) Percentage change in vehicle thefts (from 2020 to 2021) 
London (Metropolitan Police and City of London) 3,543,000 11.1 100,185 -9 
West Midlands 1,148,800 10.4 30,608 12 
Greater Manchester 1,190,500 25,495 
South Yorkshire 599,500 7.5 10,572 -4 
Bedfordshire 267,900 6.9 4,704 -17 
West Yorkshire 964,400 6.1 14,358 -4 
Hertfordshire 485,400 7,180 
Essex 768,400 5.9 10,896 -6 
Warwickshire 247,600 5.4 3,167 -18 
Cleveland 245,100 5.2 2,989 
Thames Valley 964,200 4.9 12,000 -18 
Hampshire 839,500 4.9 9,760 22 
Nottinghamshire 489,000 4.9 5,714 -12 
Avon and Somerset 737,300 4.9 8,407 -4 
Leicestershire 438,800 4.8 5,330 -20 
Dorset 344,100 4.8 3,718 -4 
Merseyside 632,500 4.7 6,726 -1 
Cambridgeshire 345,600 4.7 4,028 -8 
Northamptonshire 316,900 4.6 3,512 -25 
Surrey 474,900 4.6 5,545 -7 
Kent 778,300 4.6 8,508 -14 
Lancashire 643,600 4.4 6,735 -1 
South Wales 582,100 4.2 5,610 -14 
Northumbria 648,200 4.1 6,082 -15 
Derbyshire  461,800 4,229 
Sussex 750,100 3.8 6,522 -3 
Gwent 256,700 3.7 2,242 -9 
Staffordshire 488,600 3.6 4,079 -8 
Durham 283,900 3.4 2,150 -16 
Humberside 407,600 3.3 3,052 -20 
West Mercia 556,600 3.1 3,977 
Gloucestershire 275,200 2.9 1,838 -31 
Suffolk 330,800 2.9 2,178 -18 
Lincolnshire 332,400 2.8 2,144 -10 
Wiltshire 309,700 2.7 1,947 -14 
Cheshire 467,300 2.4 2,604 -1 
Devon and Cornwall 778,700 1.8 3,210 -7 
Norfolk 398,800 1.8 1,613 -15 
North Wales 308,300 1.7 1,225 -4 
North Yorkshire 360,900 1.7 1,433 -22 
Cumbria 227,000 1.5 727 -13 
Dyfed-Powys 231,200 1.2 623 -12 

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson for  A-Plan Insurance said: “Theft is one of the main concerns for drivers, especially if you live in an area like London or the West Midlands, where there’s a higher risk of your vehicle being stolen than there is in somewhere like Dyfed-Powys and Cumbria.

“It’s interesting to see that some of the places with the highest vehicle crime rates are improving, though, and drivers can rest easier by making sure they have adequate insurance cover for their vehicles to protect them from theft and other risks.” 

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Llanelli

West Wales car dealership to double in size

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Dafen-based Llanelli Motor Company have broken ground on a new development that will see their forecourt double in size over the coming months.

Led by Managing Director Ian Jonathan, the two-phase project will see the independent car dealership increase the number of used vehicles it has on sale to over 400 by January 2023.

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“It’s certainly an exciting period for the business,” said Ian, “and with the significant changes to the used car market, we felt now was the right time to start the project, which has been in the pipeline for over five years.”

Although the business was potentially looking at 2020 as a start date for the developments, the Coronavirus Pandemic put the brakes on the project.

However, since the easing of lockdown restrictions and the delay in obtaining new vehicles, the used car market has seen an unprecedented spike in demand.

Dafen based Llanelli Motor Company is planning to double in size
The company have broken ground on an expansion that will see over 400 cars on sale by the end of January 2023

“The last 12 months have been exceptionally busy,” continued Ian.

“No sooner are we finalising our 140-point safety check on vehicles before placing them on the forecourt, than they are being purchased within a matter of days”.

With the ability to stock 150 nearly new vehicles of all makes and models at the moment, the 1-acre expansion will increase this to 250 by September before more than doubling it to 400 by the spring of 2023.

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In order to facilitate this growth, the company will also be entering a recruitment phase and looking to employ at least 10 new members of staff across its sales, workshop and admin teams as well as taking on new apprenticeships.

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Transport for Wales

New trains for Wales and Borders services go on show

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Brand new trains that aim to transform services across Wales and the English borders have been on show today at Chester railway station.

Assembled by CAF at their factory in Newport, the first Class 197 train with its ‘Made in Wales’ tag was revealed to the public today (Friday 1 July), offering a taste of what’s to come for customers in the next few months.

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TfW are spending £800 million on new trains throughout their network and the Class 197 will be the first of the brand-new stock to enter service in North Wales before the end of this year.

Providing an increase in capacity, reduced emissions and enhanced comfort onboard, these trains will allow TfW to run faster and more frequent services to key routes including services in South West Wales – Manchester to Milford Haven, Cardiff to Fishguard and Swansea to Pembroke Dock.

Offering leather seats, modern air conditioning systems, wider doors and customer information screens, the new trains will transform the customer experience. They’ve also been fitted with electronic charging points and disability features for those with limited mobility.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said: “I am pleased to welcome the new Class 197 trains to the rail network. These new vehicles represent a real transformational improvement on the trains that they will be replacing, providing comfortable and frequent services, encouraging people to leave their cars behind and move onto a more sustainable form of transport.”

Alexia Course, TfW’s Director of Transport Operations, said: “At Transport for Wales we’re continually moving forward with our transformational plans to improve public transport for the people of Wales and the borders.

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“The Class 197s on show at Chester railway station today will be an important part of the transformation of the Wales and Borders network, and when they enter service, they will enable us to run more services and carry more customers in comfort.

“The construction of our new trains has been four years in the making, and customers and colleagues are incredibly excited to welcome passengers onto them from later this year.

“It’s also important to recognise that these trains have been made in Wales at the CAF factory in Newport and the building of them has provided jobs and supported the local economy”.

Richard Garner, UK Director CAF said: “CAF is thrilled that the first of our Class 197 trains for the Wales and Borders network has been officially launched.

“We are immensely proud of our key role in delivering Transport for Wales’ vision to transform rail travel for passengers.

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“The manufacture of our trains is taking place at our state-of-the-art facility in Newport, South Wales. We see ourselves as a local manufacturer, supporting highly skilled jobs and bringing employment opportunities to the local area whilst focusing on sustainability issues and addressing the needs of the Welsh economy.

Our trains are being built in Wales to serve the Welsh communities”

(Lead image: Transport for Wales)

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