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Swansea Building Society unveils new chairman at AGM



SWANSEA BUILDING SOCIETY has appointed a new chairman as the financial institution celebrates record breaking figures. Ieuan Griffiths, currently a non-executive director at the Society, was announced as the new chairman at the Society’s annual general meeting (AGM) held at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, on Thursday 26 April.

Griffiths will replace Gwyn Williams, who stands down after two years as chairman of Swansea Building Society, and who has been a member of the Society’s board since May 2005.

Williams was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Society in December 2014 before becoming chairman in April 2016. He is a Chartered Accountant and owner/director of Clay Shaw Thomas. He is also a Chartered Financial Planner and owner/director of CST Wealth Management. His 34 year career to date has been in private practice, specialising in wealth management for owner managed businesses and high net worth individuals.

Now stepping into the role of Chairman, Griffiths joined the Society’s board in May 2015. He is a Chartered Accountant and member of CIPFA. He has a doctorate in change management and has worked within the consultancy arms of three of the major accountancy firms for nearly 20 years, providing advice on finance, IT and risk management. He was director of strategy and finance at the DVLA for 12 years and previously deputy director of finance and performance for the NHS in England and Wales. Griffiths will become the Society’s ninth Chairman since its incorporation in 1923.

Ieuan Griffiths, newly appointed Chairman of Swansea Building Society, said:

“I am excited and delighted with the opportunity to help guide Swansea Building Society through its next stage of development as it approaches its centenary year. The Society has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, growing steadily, carefully and safely to the benefit of its members under the leadership of Alun Williams and Gwyn Williams. The staff are very much focused on our members as customers, providing the personal service that underpins our growth so that we can serve the people of Swansea, West Wales and the Vale.”

Gwyn Williams, former Chairman of Swansea Building Society, said:

“It has been an honour to serve as Chairman of Swansea Building Society over these past two years and it has been extremely rewarding to be a part of the Society’s success. The Society is in a very strong financial position with it achieving the highest level of total assets ever recorded in 2017 and I’m proud to have contributed to this milestone. I am confident such success will continue as we establish ourselves in South East Wales with our newest Cowbridge branch and maintain a superior level of service throughout our branches.”

Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society, added:

“We are very proud to have had Gwyn serve as our Chairman and are extremely pleased to now welcome Ieuan to this role. We are privileged to have professionals of such high calibre serve Swansea Building Society, which has ensured we remain stable, profitable and continue to achieve strong financial performances. Having opened our Carmarthen branch in October 2015 and most recently our Cowbridge branch in December 2017, we are continuing to grow in such a way that allows us to be at the heart of communities in Wales. This allows us to serve our members with the personal, face-to-face approach that is central to our business model.”

Swansea Building Society’s AGM also outlined its 2017 results, which revealed it made a pre-tax profit of £2.86 million in 2017, an increase of 11.7 percent compared with the same period the year before when it posted a profit of £2.56 million.

The Society’s total assets were £275.4 million in 2017, − the highest level of total assets ever recorded by the Society − showing an increase of £6.8 million or 2.5 percent on its total assets of £268.6 million a year earlier.

Its gross mortgage lending increased to £46 million in 2017 from £44 million in 2016 and mortgage balances increased to £201.3 million, an increase of 8.8 percent from £185 million in 2016, which are both two new records for the Society.

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The Range’s Swansea Store Shortlisted for ‘Best Christmas Display’



Christmas has arrived early for The Range stores in Wales, boasting gigantic displays of all-things festive! The Range is well known for going all out during the Christmas season to create a fun and magical experience full of trees, lights, decorations and much more for their customers to enjoy and this year is no exception. The Range in Swansea surpassed expectations with a display so great, it’s left them shortlisted for ‘Best Christmas Display’ out of all The Range’s 182 stores.

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Local coronavirus restrictions imposed to control outbreaks in South Wales



Coronavirus laws are being tightened in four more Welsh authorities – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport – following a sharp rise in cases, Health Minister Vaughan Gething today announced.

The new measures will come into force at 6pm on Tuesday 22 September 2020, to protect people’s health and control the spread of the virus in the four local authority areas.

The new restrictions will apply to everyone living in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport:

People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households;
All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm;
Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales.
From 6pm on Tuesday 22 September, the requirement for all licensed premises to close at 11pm will also be extended to Caerphilly borough.

Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

“Following the decision to place additional coronavirus restrictions in place in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf, we have seen a worrying and rapid rise in cases in four other south Wales council areas – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport.

“In many cases, this is linked to people socialising indoors without social distancing. We are seeing evidence of coronavirus spreading. We need to take action to control and, ultimately, reduce its spread and protect people’s health.

“It’s always a difficult decision to introduce restrictions but coronavirus has not gone away – it is still circulating in communities across Wales and, as we are seeing in parts of South Wales, small clusters can quickly cause real issues in local communities.

“We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”

The restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from summer holidays overseas.

The Welsh Government will call an urgent meeting of all local authority, health board and police forces from Bridgend to the English border tomorrow to discuss the wider situation in South Wales and whether further measures are needed across the region to protect people’s health.

The new local restrictions measures will be kept under regular review. They will be enforced by local authorities and by the police.

Keep Wales safe by:

Always keeping your distance
Washing your hands regularly
Working from home wherever you can
Following any local restrictions
Following the rules about meeting people
Staying at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.

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Welsh legislation will restrict those travelling from hotspot areas



MARK Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, has today announced legislation which will restrict those coming from coronavirus hotspot’s from travelling to Wales.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has refused to impose rules which prohibit those from areas where the infection rate is high from entering low virus rate areas’s.

Mr Drakeford has made two requests to the Prime Minister requesting to impose rules which will mean those from high virus areas in England be prohibited from travelling to Wales, a request which has been denied by Mr Johnson.

The powers set by Mr Drakeford will come into force by the end of the week, unless Boris Johnson takes action sooner.

Speaking at the Plenary today, Mr Drakeford made the announcement, stating if Mr Johnson does not reply to his request by Friday then The Welsh Government will bring in legislation to restrict travel from those in English lockdown areas travelling to Wales.

Mr Drakeford said this was not a case of all those from England being restricted travel to Wales, just hotspot areas.

He said: “Evidence from public health professionals suggests coronavirus is moving from east to west across the UK and across Wales. As a general rule, it is concentrating in urban areas and then spreading to more sparsely populated areas as a result of people travelling.

“Much of Wales in now subject to local restriction measures because levels of the virus have risen and people living in those areas are not able to travel beyond their county boundary without a reasonable excuse. This is designed to prevent the spread of infection within Wales and to other areas of the UK.

“We are preparing to take this action to prevent people who live in areas where there are higher Covid infection rates across the UK from travelling to Wales and bringing the virus with them.

“I am determined to keep Wales safe.”

The legislation, which is understood to come into force Friday, October 16 at 6pm, will mean those travelling to Wales from areas of England which are classed as virus hotspot’s will be restricted.

The new legislation also restricts those travelling into Wales from high virus prevalence areas from Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament – Paul Davies MS – has rounded on the First Minister over a ban on people entering Wales from England, and the Labour Party’s inability or unwillingness to publish comprehensive data proving that transmission rates are accelerating due to travel.

Mr Davies took the First Minister to task during Plenary today (October 14), and referred to a statement made by the leader of the Labour Party on September 23 when he said that the Welsh Government was not seeing any spikes at all in infection due to travel and tourism.

Mr Davies said that the people of Wales deserve to have sight of the data that underpins the Welsh Labour-led Government’s position on this matter, so that they can be confident that the Government’s actions are proportionate to the threat of the virus in their area.

Mr Davies also referred to a paper that accompanied the First Minister’s letter to the Prime Minister yesterday, a paper – that was not peer-reviewed – that confirms the data “…does not constitute definitive proof” in favour of a travel ban.

Mr Davies said: “The First Minister and his Government have acted rashly and without examining a range of other factors before a conclusion on whether to impose a travel ban or not is reached, while at the same time seemingly ignoring the fact that transmission rates in relation to travel had already peaked in August and September.

“It is incumbent on the First Minister to explain just why he has chosen to act in this way, and what supporting evidence he and his Ministers have seen to justify a ban and then publish it so it can be properly scrutinised.

“If he cannot or will not, then he must review and rescind this ban immediately.”

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