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More help for Welsh business

In his speech to the Welsh Labour conference, First Minister Carwyn Jones announced that the Welsh Government is creating a new Entrepreneurship Support scheme to encourage new businesses and jobs. It will be partly financed with European Union aid.

Wales isn’t just a great place to come and do business, it is a great place to grow your own business. And it is about to get better. Today I am pleased to announce the creation of a new £40 million Entrepreneurship Support scheme for Wales - this will support 10,000 new enterprises, and create over 17,000 new jobs over the next five years.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Wales sees biggest fall in shopper numbers

Credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

The British Retail Consortium says Wales has seen the highest decline in shopper numbers across the UK.

In January they fell by 4.6% compared to a year ago. The biggest decline was at shopping centres followed by the High Street and out-of-town sites.

Meanwhile the number of empty shops was also up on the previous three months.

Our report ‘Welsh Retail: An Economic and Social Contribution’, which was launched this week, highlights the importance of the retail industry to communities across Wales and today’s figures will no doubt be of concern to many.

With almost 130,000 employees and 8,000 businesses Welsh retail is key to the wellbeing of our economy and we need be doing all we can to encourage investment by retailers and consumers alike.

We welcome the Minister’s recent comments around business rates and the potential for radical reform in the medium to long term. Retailers want to be at the heart of these discussions.

– Sara Jones, Head of Policy & External Affairs, WRC

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Llandudno to get new Travelodge hotel

Budget hotel chain Travelodge is to create 400 jobs by opening 15 new sites this year. - one of them in Llandudno in north Wales.

Credit: PA

The company is investing £100 million in the new hotels, which include four in London and buildings in Glasgow, Southampton, Llandudno, Poole and Bristol.

The expansion will boost the number of Travelodges across the UK to over 500, with almost 38,000 rooms. The company said it had identified sites for another 150 hotels which could create 3,000 jobs.

Chemical factory in north Wales to close

A chemical factory in north Wales employing around 60 workers could close.

The AMRI plant in Holywell. Credit: amriglobal.com

Albany Molecular Research (AMRI) in Holywell says it is consulting with its workers over a plan to close its UK facility.

In a statement the company said:

"The original strategy for the Holywell site was to act as a conduit between Europe and the United States. However, the site has not been able to do this in a way that maximizes value for our customers and shareholders and is not aligned to the new strategic direction of the company."

Swansea horse charity pleads for donations

A group of volunteers are calling for help to safeguard the future of a scheme which looks after neglected or abandoned horses in Swansea.

The Community Horse and Pony scheme which currently has seven horses in its care but is facing a bleak future after the charity that funds it has gone into administration.

The group says that despite their best efforts food and supplies are starting to run out.

Our Swansea Correspondent Dean Thomas reports.

Wales 'hits 1million fibre broadband milestone'

Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

It's been announced more than a million households and businesses across Wales can now connect to high-speed fibre broadband.

The milestone has been achieved through BT's commercial fibre roll-out and Superfast Cymru, the partnership between the Welsh Government, UK Government the European Union and BT.

The 1m total includes more than 130,000 premises in Cardiff, 90,000 in Swansea and 50,000 in both Newport and Wrexham.

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Swansea business owners excited by £500m city regeneration plans

Representatives from Swansea Council are in London today to showcase plans for a £500m re-development of the city centre.

Iconic buildings and sites such as the Civic Centre have been placed on the market in the hope developers will invest in what is described as a 'the best chance in a generation' to regenerate the city centre.

Today the public will get the first view of fly-through designs that architects say will 're-link' Swansea city centre to the sea, as part of ambitious plans to turn the city into the financial capital of Wales.

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