Tag: North Wales Business News

Morning Motivation – Positive Coronavirus News #PositiveCoronavirusNews

Business News Coronavirus News and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See https://mikearmstrong.me/news

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Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

All the latest UK & Global Coronavirus News from the BBC

 

 
 
It was an emotional moment for those who took part – not least the NHS staff and care workers being saluted by the nation. The Royal Family and prime minister joined well-wishers who flocked to front doorsteps, balconies and windows on Thursday evening night to applaud those dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. It came after figures revealed the UK death toll rose from 475 to 578 in one day, with 11,658 confirmed cases.

There will be additional support for the NHS from firefighters, who have agreed to drive ambulances and deliver essential supplies if required. However, unions point out many are off-work in self-isolation. And, with NHS leaders saying staff feel “at risk” of contracting the virus unless they wear protective equipment while dealing with all patients, the BBC is told guidance is expected to be updated within two days. 

Normal life continues to be seriously affected. As vulnerable people continue to report problems getting groceries while in isolation, supermarkets are to use a government database of the 1.5 million people deemed most at risk to help prioritise delivery slots. Sharon Cranfield, from Surrey, tells us she’s reliant on deliveries because her daughter Jessica, 19, has cystic fibrosis, adding: “I’m terrified of going to the shops.” There are signs, too, the housing market is grinding to a halt, with transactions agreed before the lockdown falling through.

We dig into the detail of the government’s latest financial support package to find out what help is available to self-employed people. Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says the government’s response to coronavirus proves he was “absolutely right” during December’s election campaign that public spending could be increased .

 
 
 

 
 
The US now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 85,500 positive tests – overtaking both China and Italy. However, the US death toll remains much lower, at less than 1,300. Some 8,215 people have died in Italy. President Donald Trump predicts the US will get back to work “pretty quickly”, calling the figures “a tribute to the amount of testing that we’re doing”. 

Back in China, where the outbreak began, the government is temporarily banning all foreign visitors to prevent a further rise in the number of imported cases. Meanwhile, South Africa has begun a three-week lockdown. And while recent numbers from Italy’s worst-hit northern region suggest the epidemic might be slowing there, fresh fearshave arisen for poorer communities in the south.

Meanwhile, doctors, aid workers and the United Nations say camps for the displaced in north-western Syriacould be devastated by an outbreak. Follow all the latest global developments via our live page.

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
EU leaders meeting on Thursday – by socially-distant video conference – glaringly failed to agree to share the debt they are all racking up fighting Covid-19. From her flat in Berlin, where she is self-isolating after her doctor tested positive for the virus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel openly admitted to the disharmony over financial instruments.

What leaders did agree on was asking Eurogroup finance ministers to explore the subject further, reporting back in two weeks‘ time. The EU is famous for kicking difficult decisions down the road but in coronavirus terms, with spiralling infection and death rates, two weeks feels like an eternity.

 
 
 
Katya Adler

BBC Europe editor

 
 
 
 

 
 
The Coronavirus Newscast team is joined by Sean Farrington, from Radio 5 live’s Wake Up To Money, to help unpack the government’s new measures to support the self-employed. And musician Charli XCX offers some tips on keeping fit, staying creative and painting rocks in self-isolation. Meanwhile, the World Service’s Science in Actionexamines why China’s strong social distancing policies seem to have been successful in stopping the spread of the virus .

 
 
 

 
 
Some front pages use photographs of staff at the Royal Liverpool Hospital taking in the nation’s gratitude for the work of the NHS during the applause that rang around the UK. Others feature the members of the public – and young royals Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – saluting the medical staff and carers. “Checkpoint Britain” is the main headline for both the Daily Express and the Metro, as they report police measures to enforce social distancing. The Daily Star describes those driving without good reason as “Checkpoint Charlies”. The effects of the virus on the property market is the big story for the Daily Mail, under the headline: “Don’t move home.” The housing market was “plunged into chaos” after the government called on people to delay moving home, the Times reports. Meanwhile, the Sun looks at the UK’s latest virus statistics to declare: “One Brit dies every 13 minutes.”

 
 
   
   
 

 

For more UK News, Global News or Coronavirus News please follow the links.

Business News and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

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Ma Consultancy Michael Armstrong

FREE SUPPORT for Business Owners / Entrepreneurs or Home Workers…

Whilst the current climate is happening I am looking to offer FREE SUPPORT for people who are self isolating or struggling in Business!

Hi Fellow Business Owner, Entrepreneur, Home Workers or Self Isolator – I offer Business Growth, Business Optimisation and Sales & Marketing Strategy & Services to Business Owners and Entrepreneurs and I also used to be a corporate sales manager/director and am used to motivating and supporting a team.

During these tough times I want to support as many of my contacts, LinkedIn connections and wider business community colleagues with any Help, Advice, Ideas, Support, Motivation or Problem Solving needs that they might have during these tough Self Isolation / Coronavirus Times…

If you need any help or support or you simply just want a chat or some motivation during these tough times please feel free to contact me on 07960 872549.

Cheers

Mike

For more Business News, Business Advice or Coronavirus News please click the links.

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Morning Motivation – #MikeArmstrongQuotes

F*** Coronavirus and still work on your Goals!

What are you going to do today to help you to achieve your short, medium and long term goals.

If your stuck at home self isolating then here’s some tips that can always help you to get better and work towards successfully achieving your goals!

Upskill – Do Online Courses or watch some YouTube videos and learn some new skills.

Educate yourself – Read Some Books or listen to some audio from others who have already achieved the goals that you are trying to achieve and get some advice!

Exercise – What ever goals your trying to achieve, being fit can help!

Work on Your Personal Branding – Create Assets, Content, Marketing Collateral etc. To help promote yourself better and further on the Internet.

If in business Work on Your Business Branding – Create Assets, Content, Marketing Collateral etc. To help promote yourself and your business better and further on the Internet.

Make Contact – Use LinkedIn, Other Socials, Webinars and the Phone and call people, build relationships, negotiate deals, with people who can help you to reach your goals.

If you are interesting in Personal & Business Development please see our Business Advice Section of our Blog.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Latest News on EU Funds In Wales

 
 

In response to the UK Government and Public Health Wales (PHW) advice on the coronavirus (COVID 19), please see guidance for project managers delivering EU-funded projects in these challenging times.

Please keep checking the website for the latest information.

Chwarae Teg

Chwarae Teg secures £6m EU funds

The funding will extend the organisation’s career development programme to 2023, supporting women in Wales to progress their careers, and assisting businesses to implement equality strategies and modern working practices.

Red logo

Your views wanted on the future of Regional Investment in Wales

The Welsh Government has launched a 12-week consultation on future regional investment in Wales outside of the EU. The closing date is 22 May 2020.

The consultation covers a set of proposals for investing replacement funding from the UK Government to deliver inclusive growth across all parts of Wales, building on the evidence of what has worked well and lesson learned during 20 years of EU regional policy.

Developed with stakeholders across the public, private and third sectors, we are consulting on proposals that set out four priority investment areas (business productivity and competitiveness, reducing income inequalities for people, healthier and more sustainable communities and the zero-carbon economy) and decentralises funding and decision-making closer to the people they aim to benefit.

UK Parliament logo

UK Parliament Inquiry on Wales and the Shared Prosperity Fund

The UK Parliament’s Welsh Affairs Committee is responsible for scrutinising the expenditure, administration and policies of the Wales Office, and the policies of the UK Government as whole that have an impact in Wales. The Committee has launched an inquiry into the UK Government’s proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The deadline for submitting views and evidence is Tuesday 21 April 2020.

EU Funds logo

Europe Day 2020

Following recent queries, please note that WEFO will not be developing a centrally-led social media or communications campaign to promote EU-funded projects on Europe Day.  

However, as the UK is still participating in the current EU Structural Funds Programme it is a matter for organisations in receipt of EU funds to decide whether they wish to promote their projects in marking Europe Day this year.

Any publicity should follow WEFO’s information and publicity guidance and should aim to focus on the difference that funding and projects are making to people, businesses and communities in Wales.

Please also remember to use the hashtag #EUfundscymru when posting tweets, photos and testimonials.

In previous years, organisations have been encouraged to fly the EU flag to celebrate Europe Day. We would like to emphasise that there is no obligation to do this, and it is a matter entirely for your organisation.

If you have any queries, please contact WEFO Communications on 
wefo-communications@gov.wales.

Maesteg Town Hall

Work begins on Maesteg Town Hall

Construction work started this month on the £8.2m repair, restoration and extension of Maesteg Town Hall, which is being supported with £2m of EU funds.

Visit WEFO online

 
 
 

The latest news, guidance, publications and events from the European Structural and Investment Funds programmes in Wales, as well as including other EU funding programmes  such as the Horizon 2020, European Territorial Co-operation and the Ireland Wales programmes.

Updates from the Rural Development programme and Fisheries programmes are also covered.

 

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

All new rules and opening hours for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Aldi and Asda

Supermarkets across the UK have introduced a number of new rules and opening hours in response to the UK blockade. Supermarkets are only a handful of…

All new rules and opening hours for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Aldi and Asda

Breaking Business News / Coronavirus News

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Coronavirus UK: What happens if you can no longer work because of the lockdown?

Police patrolling a deserted Trafalgar Square as the UK enforces new measures because of the Coronovirus pandemic. (Picture: Barry Lewis/In Pictures …

Coronavirus UK: What happens if you can no longer work because of the lockdown?

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Coronavirus: Supermarkets limit shoppers as rules tighten

Shops have brought in a host of measures following the introduction of strict new government curbs.

Coronavirus: Supermarkets limit shoppers as rules tighten

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Tesco stops sale of skimmed milk and multibuy offers to meet demand for other products

Queues outside a Tesco store in Shropshire (Picture: PA Wire )Tesco will no longer sell skimmed milk and scrap multi-pack offers to allow suppliers …

Tesco stops sale of skimmed milk and multibuy offers to meet demand for other products

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

More details on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)…

Further details have emerged for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) which is designed to assist qualifying businesses during these unprecedented times.

The Scheme aims to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance.  The loan will be provided by the British Business Bank through participating providers during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Full details of the CBILS scheme can be found here – but the main criteria are:

  • Loan facilities of up to £5m
  • 80% of the lenders risk is covered
  • Repayment terms up to 6 years for term loans and asset finance, but overdraft and invoice facilities will be up to 3 years.
  • No upfront fees and interest is covered by Government for up to 12 months
  • Companies remain 100% liable for the debt repayments. Total unsecured lending of up to £250,000.
  • Application for loans from the scheme is administered by over 40 approved lenders including main banks, challenger banks and asset finance etc. Businesses need to apply directly to the lenders and present their case for the finance needed.

Further details on all available business support schemes in response to Covid-19 can be seen at this Government website page: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

To be eligible for support in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the small business must:

  • Be a UK-based SME
  • Operate within an eligible sector
  • Comply with relevant state aid rules
  • Have a sound borrowing proposal but insufficient security to meet the lender’s requirements

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Latest BBC News update…

Latest BBC News Update including Coronavirus News

 
 

First it was advice, now it’s an order. Boris Johnson has issued a stark message to the country: “At this moment of national emergency… stay at home.” Speaking after the UK death toll reached 335, the prime minister introduced unprecedented restrictions on everyday life, meaning people must only leave their house for one of four reasons – to exercise once a day, to travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”, to shop for essential items, and to fulfil any medical or care needs. 

 

Shops selling non-essential goods have been told to shut, along with libraries and children’s playgrounds, and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together will be prohibited. The restrictions will be in place for at least three weeks and police will have the power to enforce them, including through fines.  Read the prime minister’s statement in full and get a more detailed breakdown of the new rules.

 

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, says it’s still not quite the kind of total crackdown seen in other countries, at least not yet – no curfews, for example – and there will be a time on the other side of this crisis to analyse whether the government made the right decisions at the right time.

 

A reminder here of the symptoms of coronavirus and how you can minimise your risk. And here we answer 10 of your most-asked questions .

 
 
 

 
 

The World Health Organization says the pandemic is “accelerating”, with more than 360,000 cases globally and more than 16,000 deaths. But WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was still possible to “change the trajectory” with rigorous testing and contact-tracing strategies. 

 

Many other nations have now imposed lockdowns along the lines of that in the UK. France is strictly limiting physical exercise and closing outdoor markets, and South Africa’s government is preparing for the worst. India is stopping all domestic flights, but there are particular fears surrounding one textile city.

 

In Italy, the worst-hit country, the latest daily increase in deaths was the smallest since last Thursday, raising hope that stringent restrictions on public life are starting to have an effect. The BBC’s Sima Kotecha describes the haunting experience of Rome under lockdown. 

 

In the US, where 481 people have died, state governors and city mayors are pleading for more help from the federal government. However, the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher explains why the president may be having second thoughts about following suit with a large-scale lockdown. 

 

Our live page has all the latest developments, while health correspondent James Gallagher looks at when and how life might return to normal.

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It is clearly not a good time for the world and it is not a good time for relations between the US and China. President Donald Trump has repeatedly chosen to call the coronavirus the “Chinese virus”. The president and his secretary of state have both denounced China for its failings in the initial handling of the outbreak. Meanwhile, social media in China has spread stories that the pandemic has been caused by a US military germ warfare programme; rumours that gained considerable traction. But this is not just a war of words, something more fundamental is going on . 

 
 
 

Jonathan Marcus

BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent

 
 
 
 

 
 

The drastic measures announced by Boris Johnson are reflected in dramatic headlines. “End of freedom”, the Daily Telegraph declares. “Britain shuts up shop”, the Daily Mail says, while the Sun has a picture of a giant padlock with the headline “House arrest”. As the Financial Times puts it, the prime minister has been “forced to close Britain”. While there’s widespread support for the measures, there’s also a feeling that, as the i puts it, the prime minister has dragged his heels. The Guardian says he significantly “escalated his language” after days of being accused of “sending mixed messages about what the public should do”. Leo McKinstry, writing in the Daily Express, says the imposition of these “savage rules” will have been particularly difficult for the PM, who is “an optimistic liberal at heart, with a deep suspicion of the big state”, but he had no alternative.

 
 
   
   
 

 
 

 

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Free Trains in Wales for NHS Staff On TfW and other Transport News…

NHS staff in Wales are being offered free travel on Transport for Wales rail services with immediate effect, the company has announced.

NHS workers will just need to show their work ID to access services to get themselves back and forth to work until 30 April.

Public transport is to operate on a reduced scale throughout Wales because of the coronavirus pandemic.

However the reduced service has led to crowding on some trains.

New timetables are now in place for trains and buses until further notice.

Announcing the move for NHS workers, Transport for Wales (TfW) said: “At Transport for Wales our primary focus is keeping our colleagues and customers safe, and to keep key workers moving.

“From Monday 23 March, Transport for Wales will provide all NHS workers free travel to and from work until 30th April on production of their NHS ID.”

A statement on its website added: “We are doing all we can to keep vital services running, so that emergency service staff who are using our trains and key workers are to travel in safety with confidence.” 

Some passengers were reporting difficulties in maintaining social distancing on trains on Monday morning.

Hospital worker Emma Lamorte highlighted the situation on Twitter and called for more trains.

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Tube travellers in London have also experienced crowded carriages, with unions saying it left transport staff feeling “furious” as they were unable to maintain social distancing.

However, other travellers in Wales reported quieter than usual carriages.

Aurora Heathfield

Image captionAurora Heathfield, outside Cardiff Central, was on a train carriage with only three other people

Commuter Aurora Heathfield from Bridgend, said there was an “eerie feel” on the train to Cardiff on Monday morning with carriages much quieter than usual.

“It would usually be pretty busy and you’d be looking for a seat. There was three people in my carriage,” she said.

Jake Newberry from Cross Keys, Caerphilly county, said there was “hardly anyone” on his train on the Ebbw Vale line and he had expected to see more people due to the reduced timetable.

Alex Varney said the train from Barry to Cardiff was also quiet with the conductor providing advice over a speaker rather than walking through the train to check tickets.

“It was nice and quiet and nice to have some space,” he said.

“Everyone was calm and pleasant and just going through their day.”

A TfW spokesman said on Monday afternoon: “Whilst some services were busy this morning, on average most were 50-60% full. However, we will continue to prioritise peak periods services in order to ensure we do not create overly busy services.

“”We will be monitoring the situation on a daily basis and increase capacity where necessary but we do strongly urge customers to carefully consider whether they do have to travel so that priority can be given to key workers.”

Why are services being reduced?

The changes reflect the fall in demand, reduced availability of staff and the latest public health guidance, transport companies said.

Transport Minister Ken Skates said it remained “crucial” to keep some services going for key workers and supply chains.

“This action aims to balance the current significantly reduced levels of passenger demand as people follow the guidelines to socially isolate with the need to reduce the number of people required to run the network,” he said.

“This contingency measure will help to ensure there are enough staff to keep services running over the coming weeks and months.”

Ken Skates

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionKen Skates hopes the new plans will keep transport on track for the coming months

The move comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people should avoid “non-essential” travel.

Operators said the closure of schools, as well as people increasingly working from home, was expected to see a further significant decline in demand.

How have bus services changed?

First Cymru, which operates services across south and west Wales, warned customers face disruption to services because “increasing numbers of staff” were self-isolating.

It said there would be a reduced timetable for services in Ammanford, Bridgend, Carmarthen, Haverfordwest, Llanelli, Maesteg, Port Talbot and Swansea.

The company also urged passengers not use cash payments to buy tickets wherever possible, to “stop the spread” of coronavirus.

Arriva bus at Wrexham Bus Station

Image copyrightALAN SANSBURY

Image captionMany bus operators are running a Saturday timetable

Stagecoach, which operates throughout south-east Wales, said a reduced timetable would operate until further notice but had been created to ensure “critical routes are maintained wherever possible”.

Nigel Winter, managing director, said the company was working to maintain essential services, safeguard jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry in a “challenging” situation.

“We also know that our bus services play a vital role in keeping the country running and ensuring key sector personnel get to work,” he added.

“Our objective has been to focus resources on where we know they are needed most at this time.”

In north Wales, Arriva Bus is running an emergency service but will still operate key routes “to ensure customers can continue to access critical services”.

Cardiff bus

Image copyrightJAGGERY/GEOGRAPH

Image captionOnly eight Cardiff Bus routes will continue as normal

Cardiff Bus is now following a Saturday timetable for most of its services across the capital with the exception of some services which are running normally. School buses will continue for eligible children.

All Newport Bus services are also now following a Saturday timetable in “these unprecedented times”, the company said.

It added: “We will maintain bus services for our customers for as long as we are able to.”

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How are trains affected?

Train operators across Britain will gradually reduce services following talks with the UK and Welsh governments.

However operators will still run core services to ensure key workers can get to their jobs and the flow of goods continues.

Class 170 train

Image copyrightRICHARD JONES/MLA PHOTOGRAPHY/TFW

Image captionBusy commuter lines will be prioritised

TfW said Sunday service times will be applied throughout the week though some additional services will operate to support busier commuter routes. 

“This timetable has been designed to be as resilient as possible, whilst ensuring we balance a reduction in demand, availability of our people and the need to support key workers such as health, food retailers and delivery teams,” it said.

The operator said advanced tickets were now eligible for refunds.

For more on this BBC article or other News please follow the link.

For more Welsh News, Business News, Welsh Business News, UK Business News, Travel News or Coronavirus News please follow the links.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

The New Welsh Inventions inspired by the Global Pandemic…

A new ventilator, a virus-killing snood and a hands-free door pull are just some of the innovations coming out of Wales to tackle coronavirus.

Since the outbreak, doctors, scientists and designers have been working on ideas to stop the virus spreading.

The ventilator has already successfully treated a Covid-19 patient and has been backed by the Welsh Government.

Mass production of the snood-type mask is under way while a 3D design of the handle has been widely circulated.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, who was part of the impetus to get the ventilator into mass production, said the innovations put Wales “on the front foot” in the battle against the pandemic.

“It shows that Wales, as a small nation, can get things done quickly as we face the biggest challenge of our generation,” he said.

The Covid Emergency Ventilator

It took just three days to design but the senior doctor involved believes the easy-to-build device could dramatically ease the strain on NHS staff.

ventilator

Image caption“The patient can self-care, releasing specialist nurses for other duties,” said Dr Rhys Thomas

Dr Rhys Thomas, from Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen, was “desperately concerned” at the lack of intensive care unit (ICU) ventilators to deal with the expected influx of patients.

Along with engineering company CR Clark & Co of Ammanford, he created a machine that not only helps patients to breath but cleans the room of viral particles.

“It’s simple and robust and specifically designed to work against Covid virus in a contagious environment,” said Dr Thomas.

“Although it won’t replace an ICU ventilator, the majority of patients won’t need intensive care if they are treated with this ventilator first.

“The machine will [also] clean the room of viral particles and only supply purified air to the patient. The patient can self-care, releasing specialist nurses for other duties.”

Dr Rhys Thomas

Image copyrightPLAID CYMRU

Image captionDr Rhys Thomas served for 17 years with the British Army, including seven tours of Afghanistan

He said a patient in Llanelli who was treated with the machine at the weekend was now “recovering well”.

Welsh ministers have given the go-ahead for production of up to 100 ventilators a day.

The ‘virus-killing’ snood

Designers claim the mask kills more than 95% of any viruses – including Covid-19.

woman wearing snood mask

Image captionThe snood has been developed in response to the pandemic

The company hopes to make as many as a million-a-week and plans to reserve part of that stock for the NHS.

“We have been working on the anti-viral coating since 2011 but it’s only in the last five weeks that we have developed the snood in response to the current pandemic,” said Anna Roberts, of Virustatic Shield.

The hands-free door handle

Wyn Griffiths came up with the idea after his wife visited a local hospital last week and had to touch door handles after sanitising her hands. 

door pull being made

Image captionAnyone with a 3D printer can now make the door pull

That evening he had designed a prototype ‘arm’ which attaches to an existing door handle, with a crook to open the door. 

He has now distributed the 3D design online for anyone to download it for free.

Mr Griffiths said: “Hopefully people who have a 3D printer can help out their local hospital or anywhere the public visits by distributing these around the country.”

Menai Science Park

Image captionM-Sparc in Gaerwen is supported by Bangor University

The innovation centre

The handle and snood were both designed at the Menai Science Park in Gaerwen on Anglesey, a hub for small start-up companies and scientific research.

Pryderi ap Rhisiart, managing director of M-Sparc, said it was “vital” the park plays its part in coming up with innovative ideas.

Pryderi ap Rhisiart

Image captionMr Rhisiart praised small companies developing “new innovative solutions”

“In the middle of all the doom and gloom it’s good to see small companies developing new innovative solutions,” he said.

“It’s just a glimpse. We’re not saying it’s the answer but it’s something.”

For more Welsh News, Business News, Welsh Business News, UK Business News, Tech News or Coronavirus News please follow the links.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Latest update on Coronavirus from The PM as UK goes in to lockdown!

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the UK is going into lockdown in a televised address to the nation last evening.

The PM made the announcement from 10 Downing Street amid widespread calls for tougher measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 / Coronavirus.

He ordered the immediate closure of all shops selling non-essentials items on Monday evening.

He told people to only leave the house to shop for basic necessities “as infrequently as possible” and to perform one form of exercise a day.

“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”

To ensure people follow the rules, Mr Johnson ordered the immediate closure of non-essential stores including those selling electronics and clothing.

All public gatherings of more than two people – other than those you live with – will be banned, the PM said.

Other premises being shuttered are libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship.

The UK coronavirus lockdown rules you must now comply with, or face police action, are as follows:

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson orders lockdown of the UK and orders people to stay at home

And, while parks will remain open for exercise, all social events including weddings and baptisms will be stopped.

Funerals, however, can continue.

Mr Johnson said the measures will be “under constant review” and will be considered for relaxation in three weeks’ time if the evidence allows.

Earlier in the day all Britons travelling abroad were told to return to the UK “while you still can”.

The Welsh Government has also announced the closure of all caravan parks, campsites and tourist hotspots after people flocked to Welsh landmarks on the weekend.

The First Minister will also take additional powers over licensing because some pubs didn’t close over the weekend.

The measures come after it was announced four more people have died after contracting the coronavirus in Wales.

There are now 418 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales and there have so far been 16 deaths.

But Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Covid-19 outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said the “the true number of cases is likely to be higher” as the virus continues to circulate in every part of Wales.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Primark to close all 189 UK Stores including all stores in Wales – WelshBiz

Retail Giant Primark is to close all 189 of their UK stores in response to coronavirus.

The major high street retailer will close all its shops due to the Covid-19 outbreak in a move affecting some 37,000 people.

The Primark store on Cardiff’s Queens Street, as well as all 189 UK stores will close with immediate effect due to the coronavirus.

The announcement by Primark, which has branches across Wales, will affect 37,000 people.

A Primark spokesman said;

“Our main priority is the health and wellbeing of our employees,”

“Primark has committed to supporting all employees who are directly affected by store closures, with full pay for their contracted hours for 14 days, after which the situation will be reviewed.

“Primark will continue to closely monitor the situation, following WHO advice as well as local and national government guidance.”  

For more Welsh Business News , UK Business News, Global Business News it Coronavirus News, please follow the link.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

15 Top Business Optimisation Tips…


Your business culture or philosophy is the ultimate key to your productivity and success. It will either enable or disable everything else that you do.

Developing the right business culture is key to your success as everything you do hinges around this fundamental aspect of your business.

If a businesses culture or the culture of the leaders or staff is wrong, the impact of even the best business growth and business optimisation techniques would be severely limited.

Too many organisations only pay lipservice to these factors and as a result they constantly struggle to make real progress.

Please find these 15 Top Business Optimisation Tips for you to implement in your business.

Business Optimisation Tip 1.

Business Optimisation Tips – 1:

Understand your higher business purpose!

Contrary to popular belief, people don’t buy products or services.

They do buy the outcomes that those products or services can provide, solutions, benefits, answers, value, advantages, improvements, time saving, efficiency, avoidance of pain, protection, pleasure, fun, excitement, fulfilment, enjoyment, prestige etc.

Your higher purpose for being in business should be to turn those positive outcomes into reality by promoting, selling and delivering the specific outcomes your customer is actually buying. When you start to look at what you do in terms of the positive outcomes you can deliver to your clients, you can feel justifiably proud of the contribution that you are making to your clients, whatever business you are in.

When you do that consistently you and your business will profit handsomely.

Business Optimisation Tips – 2:

Operate your business with Integrity!

Taking an ethical approach to your business, performing as promised, and operating in a sound manner is always a great business strategy.

Your values, philosophies and policies toward your employees and your customers must be based on fairness and a sincere belief that your customers deserve to be well served at all times.

It’s good to have the attitude that if it’s good for the customer then it’s good for the company, and vice versa.

Putting the customer’s interests ahead of your own and being completely customer focussed is key to a successful business.

Business Optimisation Tips – 3:

Constantly work on the optimisation & efficiency of your Business!

Don’t be content to accept lesser results than you’re entitled to for your efforts.

Instead demand and accept nothing less than the highest and best outcome for every action that you ever take and every activity that you ever engage in.

You do this by;

Integrating and leveraging all of your successful sales & marketing approaches to achieve the optimum outcome and getting the greatest return for the least expenditure of time, effort, manpower and money.

Optimising all of your staff and leadership team so that you have the right number and the right people involved in the right positions for your business to run at its optimum level.

Optimising all of your systems and process so that they can effectively and efficiently deal with all of the requirements placed on them by the business.

Optimising all of your business costs so that you can help to make the best profit possible in your business.

Etc.

Business Optimisation Tips – 4:

Genuinely appreciate your team and do all that you can to keep them happy, productive, developing / progressing and efficient!

Many of the most successful & profitable companies in the world owe a large part of that success to having a very happy and contented workforce.

A happy and contented workforce are a group of people who know what they are supposed to be doing and that their efforts and their results are sincerely appreciated.

This will save you money in many ways.

Your staff turnover will go down. You’ll save a fortune on training and recruitment. You’ll suffer less abseteeism. It’s less likely that things will “go missing” etc.

Having an experienced workforce that isn’t always leaving and having to be retrained, one that really cares about your company and about looking after your customers, will result in fewer customer complaints, more customer satisfaction and customers who spend more money with you, more often and for much longer periods of time.

Business Optimisation Tips – 5

Build a balanced Team / Recruit the right people!

Recruitment is often seen almost exclusively as a search for individuals with the right qualifications, experience, and achievement.

Yet they are rarely found because of the requirement for more conflicting characteristics than can normally exist in any one person.

In a perfectly balanced team there is always someone who can deal naturally and effectively with any set of responsibilities. Each person just slots naturally into playing their part in growing and developing the business.

Most of us choose our life partner and raise our children with care, nurturing and compassion.

Yet we tend to select the people who will join our company on the basis of an interview or two, and once they’ve joined, they often discover they must fend for themselves.

This contrast illustrates the disparity between the family and work environments.

As around 75% of our adult waking time is devoted to work related activities, it makes sense to take as much care in recruiting the right people as it does in finding the right partners. You need to find people who care and who want to be the best.

Caring must be inherent in people’s natures. They have to feel it in their hearts. And if they do, their colleagues and clients will feel it too, and you’ll achieve much more success with less hassle and hard work.

If you look for genuinely pleasant people who have the right attitude and human values, the rest will usually fall into place. You can’t teach people to be nice.

Business Optimisation Tips – 6:

Empower your staff!

When companies consistently refuse to deviate from policy, they say to customers, in effect, “Our policy is more important than doing business with you.” Empowerment is the process of moving the decision-making process to the customer interface.

This will give your team at the customer interface the power to do whatever it reasonably takes to delight the customer.

Truly empowered employees invariably recognise and appreciate the authority they have been given and are more likely to use their initiative and good judgment to come up with better and less expensive solutions to a problem than that dictated by rigid policy manuals.

Business Optimisation Tips – 7:

Genuinely appreciate your customers and do all that you can to keep them happy – Be customer centric!

View your clients as long term friends and partners.

Redefine your business from the customer’s perspective as the basis of your philosophy, so that you protect and benefit them whenever and at the highest level possible.

But if no individual can combine all these qualities, a team of individuals can contain all the conflicting requirements that cannot be found in a single individual.

Business Optimisation Tips – 8:

Use Technology to improve the efficiency of the business!

Technology has been created to make our lives easier yet many businesses fail to use it effectively in their business. The majority of the top companies in the World are tech companies with a using technology for creating efficiency culture. Are you utilising your Technology; Websites, Web Platforms, Marketing Channels, Telecommunications, IT, CRM, Software etc. to the most of its ability to get the most efficiency out of them for your staff, your clients and your business?

Business Optimisation Tips – 9:

Adopt proven success practices!

The moment you start adapting and applying success practices that have already been tried & tested and refined by other industries, you can save yourself a massive learning curve.

If you can take advantage of £ millions or £ tens of millions or £ hundreds of millions worth of success-proven, profit-certain business practices that other industries have already validated, you’ve given yourself and your business an incredible edge over all your competitors and your level of success can’t help but increase.

Business Optimisation Tips – 10:

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself and all have fun in the workplace!

Some of the world’s most successful companies attribute a large part of their success to the use of laughter, fun and play in the workplace to build morale, participation, and involvement.

Recognition and appreciation can play a vital role in boosting morale and productivity among hard-worked employees. You can easily implement a step-by-step plan for building an enthusiastic, high-performance team using hundreds of tried and tested techniques for enhancing employee satisfaction and personal pride, improving employee morale, heightening productivity, creating a more people-centered corporate culture, and ultimately increasing your profitability from the process.

Business Optimisation Tips – 11:

Continue to grow through a culture of personal development, self improvement and life long learning!

The growth of your business is the aggregate of the growth of your individual team members.

By constantly training everyone in your business to perform at higher levels than your competitors, you’re investing in the future, while improving your business today.

The better your training, the better everything works in your business. It radically improves your team’s understanding of your objectives; helps set standards of performance; produces predictable results; leads to consistent answers to each question or problem; results in customers being treated in a similar manner no matter who they deal with and makes a big difference to how everything functions in your business.

Business Optimisation Tips – 12:

Be passionate about your business, staff, product / service & customers!

Passion and enthusiasm are contagious … and all too rare.

People are more inspired to do business with you if you display conviction and enthusiasm for what you do and the way that you do it than any other factor.

If you genuinely burn with an overwhelming desire to enrich the lives of everyone you do business with, people will be attracted to you like metal filings to a magnet.

Business Optimisation Tips – 13:

Run a suggestion scheme

A good suggestion scheme is like having an oil well in your back garden.

There is no more important tool for management. Suggestion schemes can be made to work extraordinarily well in any business and can be the cornerstone of constant and never ending improvement.

If you and your team ask yourselves relentlessly each day, “How can we do this better?” or “What more can we do to …”, you are bound to find ways to improve. Whether large or small, these improvements can lead to regular discoveries that can transform your business.

Business Optimisation Tips – 14:

Measure staff motivation

How do you know if your staff are well motivated?

This is where most businesses are amazingly primitive. Their skills in measuring motivation are under-developed or non-existent.

Methods of measuring motivation include:

  1. Staff turnover,
  2. Absenteeism,
  3. Theft,
  4. Customer Service,
  5. Attitude surveys.
  • Motivation does not have to be left to chance. Every business can introduce systems for motivating its employees better. The benefits are enormous and once you start measuring the payback on your investment in the workforce, you will see real results.
  • Business Optimisation Tips – 15:

    Use tried and tested ways of increasing staff motivation.

    Give bonuses or implement profit share schemes so that everyone his motivated by the success of the business.

    If you need any help with any of the business optimisation strategies or tactics please feel free to contact Mike on: 07960 872549.

    mikearmstrong.me

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

UK Government Advice for Employees

Updated 20 March 2020

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

UK Government Coronavirus Advice For UK Businesses…

Updated 20 March 2020

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

UK Government Advice for Employees

Updated 20 March 2020

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

People, Population & Community Stats from the Office for National Statistics / ONS

Living longer: implications of housing tenure in later life

Last month, we looked at how housing tenure had changed over time, with future generations of older people more likely to live in rented accommodation than they do now. Today’s article explores some of the implications this has, including

  • Amongst private renting households containing someone aged 60 or over, fewer than half have savings or investments. This compares with over three quarters of those who own their homes outright.
  • Not all those who own outright are well-off. While a quarter of older households that own outright had at least £50,000 in savings and investments, almost a quarter had no savings at all.

Go to the ONS release or read on:

1.Introduction

Future generations of older people are more likely to live in rented accommodation than today. In 2017, almost three-quarters of people aged 65 years and over in England owned their home outright, with just 6% renting from a private landlord. But people aged in their 30s and 40s are now less likely to be homeowners than in the past, and much more likely to be renting. If these trends continue, we would expect to see far more older people renting from private landlords in the future.

The implications of remaining in the private rental sector or still paying a mortgage later in life go beyond the financial implications of paying market rent or a mortgage into retirement. Housing quality differs across tenures and quality of housing can impact health. Accessibility and adaptability of the property to the changing needs of occupants in later life also varies across tenures. 

This article uses 2015 to 2017 data from the English Housing Survey to explore the implications of housing tenure in later life1 across four areas: 

  • finances
  • housing quality
  • health
  • the accessibility and adaptability of the property

Notes for: Introduction

  1. Unless otherwise stated, all results are for households containing someone aged 60 years or over. This is not necessarily the household reference person.

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2.Main points

  • Among households in England containing someone aged 60 years or over, fewer than half in the private rental sector have savings or investments, compared with over three-quarters of those who own their homes outright.
  • However, not all those who own outright are well-off; while a quarter of older households that own outright have at least £50,000 in savings and investments, almost a quarter have no savings at all.
  • After paying housing costs, older people in rented accommodation have lower incomes than homeowners and privately renting households are more likely to be in fuel poverty than homeowners.
  • Almost a third of privately rented properties and one in five properties owned outright and lived in by older people are classified as non-decent overall, as measured against the Decent Homes Standard.
  • People aged 60 to 69 years living in the private rented sector are more likely to report bad general health than homeowners; differences in health above age 70 years are less pronounced as health is more likely to worsen for all at later ages.
  • Older people living in rented accommodation are far less likely to have moved home recently than younger people, suggesting that security of tenure becomes more important with age.

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3.Financial implications

Income drops in retirement, as people stop working and start drawing pensions. Savings and investments may provide a buffer against financial hardship and unanticipated expenditures in retirement. 

Among households containing someone aged 60 years or over, fewer than half (44%) of households in the private rental sector have savings or investments, compared with over three-quarters (77%) of those who own their homes outright (Figure 1). Those who own their homes outright are also far more likely to have a large amount saved, with a quarter (25%) having at least £50,000 in savings or investments compared with fewer than 1 in 10 (8%) private renters. 

Figure 1: Private renters are less likely to have savings than homeowners

Amount of savings by tenure, households containing someone aged 60 years and over, England, 2015 to 2017

Data download

However, while older homeowners generally have lower housing costs, not all are wealthy. Of those paying a mortgage, almost half (45%) of households containing someone aged 60 years or over have no savings buffer. And while a quarter of those who own outright have a large amount of savings, at the other end of the spectrum almost a quarter (23%) have no savings at all. These may include some of those who purchased through the Right to Buy scheme, and are now asset-rich (own their homes outright) but cash-poor (have no savings and low pension income). 

Almost one in five (18%) households containing an older person that owns outright fall below the poverty line1. This could affect the ability to carry out property repairs and maintenance. 

Housing costs (mortgage and rent) are highest for the private rental sector and lowest for those who own outright. Market rent for households containing an older person is more expensive on average than a mortgage, despite privately rented homes being smaller (two bedrooms on average) than homes being bought with a mortgage (three bedrooms on average). Among households containing someone aged 60 years or over, over half (58%) of those renting privately pay over £6,000 a year (or £500 a month), compared with around a third (36%) of those buying with a mortgage and a fifth (20%) of those in the social rental sector (Figure 2).

After paying housing costs, those renting (privately or socially) have lower incomes than homeowners. Households containing an older person in the social rented sector have low incomes on average, so despite having small properties (one bedroom on average) and low housing costs, income after paying rent is still low. Around a quarter of households containing an older person that rent privately or rent socially have £250 or less left each week after housing costs, compared with 16% of those buying with a mortgage and 9% of those who own outright.

Despite having smaller properties and spending less on gas and electricity, privately renting households are more likely to be in fuel poverty2 than homeowners (Figure 3). This may be exacerbated by a combination of expensive fuel payment methods and inefficient heating systems. One in six privately renting households containing someone aged 60 years or over have a pre-payment meter for gas and/or electricity (compared with 1 in 33 homeowners), and prepayment is more expensive than other ways of paying (for example, direct debit). 

Additionally, a quarter of privately rented homes containing an older person do not have central heating (compared with 7% of homeowners), instead having storage or fixed room heating. Storage and fixed room heaters are cheap to install, but more expensive to use than gas central heating.

Notes for: Financial implications

  1. The poverty line is defined as below 60% of median income, equivalised for household size and composition.

  2. Fuel poverty is assessed based on the Low Income High Costs indicator as defined by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

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4.Housing quality implications

One in four (28%) privately rented homes lived in by someone aged 60 years or over were built more than a century ago. A substantial proportion (17%) of homeowners also live in older properties (Figure 4).

Older properties have higher maintenance costs on average and are generally of poorer quality. While financing repairs may be problematic for some homeowners who are asset-rich and cash-poor, homeowners have the autonomy to carry out maintenance and repairs on their properties. For private renters this responsibility falls on the landlord. This includes resolving vermin issues when they arise: 9% of older people living in privately rented homes have had problems with rats and mice, double that of homeowners (4%).

The Decent Homes Standard is a measure of housing quality that uses four criteria to determine whether a property is “decent”. If any of these criteria are failed, the property is classed as “non-decent”:

  • presence of a serious hazard that poses an immediate risk to a person’s health and safety
  • thermal comfort
  • repair
  • modern facilities and services

Older properties containing someone aged 60 years or over were more likely to fail the Decent Homes Standard (42% homes built before 1919 were non-decent compared with 11% of homes built after 1964) and among homes that failed, older properties would cost more to make decent (average cost of £9,038 for pre-1919 homes compared with £1,375 for homes built after 1964).

When measured against the Decent Homes Standard, privately rented homes were most likely to be non-decent overall (30%) and were also most likely to fail on every criteria1. This was followed by homes that are owned outright (21% were non-decent) (Figure 5). 

This suggests that housing quality for older people is worst for private renters (who are required to ask their landlord for alterations) followed by owner occupiers, many of whom are asset-rich and cash-poor, and possibly unable to finance improvements. While privately rented homes are most likely to be non-decent, there are currently larger numbers of older homeowners than private renters living in non-decent homes, because more older people own than rent.

Figure 5: Privately rented homes are most likely to be of poor quality

Failure of Decent Homes Standard and component criteria by tenure, households containing someone aged 60 years or over, England, 2015 to 2017

Data download

The Decent Homes Standard was developed as a benchmark for increasing the quality of social housing stock, which may explain why socially rented properties performed better than most other tenures.

The presence of a serious hazard and poor thermal comfort were the two most common reasons for failing the Decent Homes Standard across all tenure types. Poor thermal comfort (as measured by insulation and heating efficiency) may be particularly impactful in privately rented households, which are most likely to be in fuel poverty, have low incomes after housing costs, and one in six of which have an expensive pre-payment method of paying for fuel. Poor thermal comfort may be a factor in explaining why privately rented households are the most likely to have a problem with damp.

Notes for:

  1. Statistically significant for thermal comfort, but borderline for hazards, repair and modern facilities.

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5.Health implications

Poor-quality homes that are damp, contain vermin and are difficult to keep warm can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and homes that are hazardous can lead to injuries, particularly falls. The cost of poor-quality housing to the NHS has been estimated to be around £1.4 billion per year.

The likelihood of developing age-related health conditions such as arthritis, sight and hearing loss, urinary incontinence and heart disease increases as people age. People aged 60 to 69 years old living in the private rented sector were more likely to report bad general health than homeowners (Figure 6). Above age 70 years, differences in health across tenures are less clear-cut as health is more likely to worsen for all at later ages.

There was a similar although less pronounced pattern for people reporting having a limiting longstanding illness, with private renters more likely than homeowners to report a limiting longstanding illness in early later life, and social renters being most likely to report a limiting longstanding illness at all ages. 

Social renters are more likely to report bad general health, having a limiting longstanding illness or be disabled than people living in other tenures. This is likely to be because social housing providers allocate homes based on need. 

By later life, people have been exposed to many decades of socioeconomic influences, which will impact both their health and the type of housing they live in. 

Older homeowners are more likely to be working in or have worked in higher managerial and professional occupations, have higher incomes and live in more affluent areas (14% of homeowners live in the 10% least deprived areas, compared with 6% of private renters). 

Compared with homeowners, those living in the private rented sector in later life are more likely to be working in or have worked in semi-routine and routine occupations, have lower incomes, live in more deprived areas (9% of private renters live in the 10% most deprived areas, compared with 4% of homeowners) and are more likely to live in poorer quality housing. Although there are many other factors that contribute health status in later life, a lifetime of exposure to poor housing quality will have a cumulative effect on health. 

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6.Accessibility and adaptation implications

As people age, if their health deteriorates their housing needs are likely to change and alterations to their homes may be required. The suitability of older people’s accommodation is an important factor in how long people are able to live independently. This in turn will impact levels of demand for health and social care services. 

An accessible property suitable for the needs of older and disabled people would include features such as level access, a flush threshold, wider doorways and a downstairs toilet. Since 1999, all new homes built are required to have a minimum standard of accessibility, but by 2018 only 7% of all properties in England met this standard. This is because most of the homes we live in were built before this policy came into effect and have not been retro-fitted to comply with the regulations that apply to new properties. 

Of the homes we will be living in by 2050, around 80% are already built, therefore many homes will need to be adapted to meet the needs and accessibility requirements of an ageing population. The ability to make these changes varies considerably for people living in different tenures.

Adapting a property to make it more accessible can involve installing additional aids such as ramps, grab rails and stair lifts or physically changing the structure of the home, for example, widening doorways and installing an accessible bathroom on the ground level. It is relatively straightforward for owner occupiers to make adaptations to their property as they do not have to obtain permission. This is limited, however, by homeowners’ ability to finance adaptations, which could be a barrier to those who are asset-rich and cash-poor. There are, however, Disabled Facilities Grants available to help with the costs of adaptations, with people aged over 60 years receiving the majority (71%) of the grants. Some older homeowners may, however, face other, non-financial barriers to fitting adaptations, such as being able to organise having the work done and finding someone they trust to do the work.

Private tenants in comparison need to request permission for any adaptations that may be needed to make the property suitable for their changing needs. Under the Equality Act 2010, landlords have a duty to make “reasonable adjustments” to the property, however, they are not required to make structural changes such as widening doorways. If adaptations are made without the landlord’s permission or they are unwilling to make adaptations, this could result in the tenancy being terminated. 

However, security of tenure appears to become more important with age, with older people far less likely to have moved home recently than younger people. Among people who have been resident in the private rental sector for at least three years, 92% of those aged 75 years and over were still living in the same property as three years ago, compared with 12% of those aged 16 to 24 years (Figure 7).

Given the seemingly increasing importance of security of tenure with age, older people living in the private rental sector may not feel empowered to request repairs and adaptations. According to the National Landlords Association, “tenants with accessibility needs report feeling intimidated to start the conversation about changes for fear of eviction”.

Those in the private rental sector may also be eligible to receive the Disabled Facilities Grant, to help cover the costs of alterations, but the tenant must be intending to remain within the property for five years. This is a potential barrier within Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Landlords may also be reluctant to allow physical adaptations, even if they are not asked to pay for them, because of the cost of removing adaptations for the next tenant. 

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7.Alternative futures

Older people currently renting privately live in homes that are more likely to be of poor quality, with higher housing costs than owner occupiers and are less likely to be able to adapt their homes to their changing needs. Owner occupiers who are asset-rich and cash-poor share some of these characteristics. In the future, if recent trends continue, more older people are likely to be living in the private rental sector. But the characteristics of the private rental sector in the future may be different from today.

Of the homes we will be living in by 2050, around 80% are already built, and 4.3 million of these existing homes in England are of a non-decent standard, however, existing homes can be improved. While around a third of properties in the private rented sector are classified as non-decent, and many owner occupiers also struggle to adequately maintain their properties, there have been examples of policy changes contributing to marked improvements in the social rented sector over time. Since the introduction of the Decent Homes Standard in 2001, the percentage of socially rented properties classified as non-decent has declined. In 2006, 29% were non-decent; by 2018 this had fallen to 12%.

A similar improvement in quality may happen in the private rental sector. Recent policy initiatives have introduced legislation that aims to tackle poor-quality homes and give renters a greater ability to challenge their landlords on unsafe housing. For example:

  • The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (2018), which set a minimum energy performance certificate rating that has to be met for a house to be rented out, improving the thermal comfort of the private housing stock; from April 2020 this will also apply to existing tenancies, not just new tenancies
  • the Fitness for Human Habitation Act (2018) was introduced in March 2019; this enables private and social tenants to take their landlord to court if their homes are unsafe or contain risks that could cause serious harm
  • the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations (2020) require rental properties to have a valid electrical safety certificate, which may reduce the presence of serious hazards; this applies to new tenancies from July 2020 and will also apply to existing tenancies from April 2021
  • In our analyses, 7% of households containing someone aged 60 or over were living in the private rental sector. On 15 April 2019, the government announced that it will introduce new legislation to abolish Section 21, which gives landlords the right to evict tenants on a no-fault basis; this may give older tenants reassurance that they will not be evicted if they request repairs or adaptations.

While these policy changes will improve conditions for private renters of all ages, many currently only apply at the start of a new tenancy. Most older private renters have not moved home or changed tenancies in several years (Figure 7). So while these policies will benefit tomorrow’s generation of older private renters, the 7% of today’s older people who are renting in the private sector may not have seen their effects. Our analyses are based on this 7%, and additionally relate to 2015 to 2017, before most of these policies came into effect. The experience of tomorrow’s older private renters may be different, as they will benefit more widely from these (and any future) policies regulating conditions in the private rental sector. 

The other group focused on in this article are asset-rich and cash-poor homeowners. There may be a different lending environment in the future, enabling this group to free up money locked in their homes to make improvements and adaptations:

  • mainstream lenders have recently started offering mortgage and loan products at older ages than in the past, which enable people to remortgage or take out small loans secured against their property, enabling older homeowners to make adaptations and improvements to their homes
  • equity release is becoming more common, enabling homeowners to free up money to make adaptations and repairs

We have shown that people living in poor-quality housing are more likely to be living in deprived areas and be in the private rented sector. Improving housing quality in the private rental sector, with associated reductions in poor health, would help to reduce health inequalities between affluent and deprived areas, an important government priority.

However, all results that we have presented are based on averages, and within the private rental sector (as other tenures) there is a lot of variation. There are also some benefits to living in the private rental sector at older ages compared with other tenures, including the burden of repairs and maintenance falling on the landlord not the tenant, and the freedom to move to a more suitable home without needing to finance this by selling a property first.

More widely, housing is related to many other areas of policy interest. Poor housing quality is costly not only in terms of health of the individual but also the for the National Health Service. Making more homes accessible and adapting them to the needs of disabled and older people would enable people to live independent lives for longer and so potentially reduce social care demand. Improving thermal efficiency of homes by improving insulation and modernising heating systems would reduce carbon emissions, helping to tackle climate change, as less fuel would be needed to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the home.

While our analysis has focused on households containing an older person, it is important to realise that poor housing quality has an accumulative effect over time, affecting people across their life course from young to older ages. The quality and affordability of the housing we live in is an important issue for all ages, not just the older population. 

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Welsh Business News / TfW News – Rail Journeys in Wales Dropped in 2019 for first time in 24 years…

The number of rail journeys taken in Wales dropped in 2019 for the first time in 24 years.

It is the first full year that the Welsh Government-owned Transport for Wales(TfW) has been operating rail services.

There were around 33.5 million trips on TfW compared with 33.6 million in 2018, the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) said.

Rail bosses put the fall down to line closures due to flooding and fewer international rugby games in Cardiff.

Journeys across the Wales and borders franchise dropped by 7.7% for the last quarter of 2019 – October to December – compared with the same period the year before. 

It is the largest drop seen by any train operator in the ORR’s regional sector, which grew by 5% overall.

Transport for Wales passenger journeys

Source: Office of Rail and Road

The recorded number of journeys in 2019 was 33,466,435, down 119,454 from 33,585,899 in 2018. 

The ORR pointed out in its report that there was only one autumn international played in Cardiff in 2019 and four matches in 2018.

It also highlighted the line between Abergavenny and Hereford was closed for over a week due to flood damage.

Bethan Jelfs, customer delivery director for TfW rail services, said: “These events have directly affected our passenger numbers and explain [our passenger number drop]. 

“As we move forward we expect numbers to continue to grow as they have in previous years as we deliver our £5bn investment plan to transform transport throughout the Wales and borders network.” 

Plaid Cymru shadow minister for transport, Helen Mary Jones AM, disputed the drop in journeys being linked to three fewer rugby internationals. 

“We know that many commuters have turned away from using rail services as they feel no longer able to rely on the service. This is due to delays, cancellations, rolling stock that is not fit for purpose, and overcrowding which means many passengers are simply unable to board overloaded trains.

“It’s time for the minister to step in and start delivering on the promises that he made to the Welsh public back in autumn 2018.”

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UK Government News – Ventilators Needed Urgently

We are looking for businesses to support in the production and supply of ventilators and ventilator components.

Patient on a ventilator.

The government is looking for businesses who can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the UK as part of our response to COVID-19.

As well as manufacturers, we are looking for businesses with the following skills:

  • design/specification
  • rapid prototyping
  • contract/product assembly
  • certification/regulation/testing
  • logistics
  • medical training

If you think your business can help, please register your details before midday on 18 March 2020.

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