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£6m to help older people live independently

Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The Welsh Government has announced a £6 million investment to help older people in Wales live independently in their own home.

It says the funding supports the work of the Care and Repair service. It provides adaptations like ramps, handrails, and safety alarms, to enable older people to live safely in their own homes.

£2 million of the funding is for the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme, which provides minor adaptations to help prevent many people from having to be admitted to hospital.

The Welsh Government says estimates show every pound invested in the programme creates a £7.50 saving for health and social services.

Care and Repair and the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme help transform the lives of more than 40,000 older people across Wales every year.

By providing relatively small home adaptations, these services enable people to continue to live safely in the homes they love with the dignity they deserve.

As people across Wales live longer, healthier lives, such preventative measures play an increasingly important role in supporting our health and social services.

– Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty


Potential scam victims 'being threatened'

Credit: Chris Young/PA Archive/PA Images

Dyfed Powys Police say potential victims of letter, phone and internet scams have, in some instances, been threatened.

Officers say there has been an increase in the number of reports of scams with some claiming to be from well-known companies including Microsoft, Talk Talk and the Postcode Lottery, seeking access to personal information and money.

In some cases they have become threatening to the receiver of the call when they do not comply with their demands.

We are urging residents throughout Dyfed Powys to stay alert to cold callers.

The majority of these scams work to deceive people into allowing remote access to their computer or giving personal details over the phone or online. Allowing anyone access to your computer puts you at risk of data loss or losing access to your computer or files.

With traditional cold callers at people’s properties, we’ve always advised ‘if in doubt, keep them out’ and exactly the same principle applies here.

– Detective Sergeant Rob Gravelle

Help to Buy gives 1,400 a boost to get on property ladder

The Help to Buy scheme enables buyers to purchase homes with the help of equity loans from the Welsh Government. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Almost 1,400 homes have been bought through the Welsh Help to Buy scheme since it was launched last year, according to figures released this morning.

The £170 million scheme allows first-time buyers and home-movers to buy new-build homes with assistance from the Welsh Government in the form of a shared equity loan.

Between January 2014 and March 2015, the Welsh Government provided £48.7million in equity loans, helping buyers purchase 1,378 homes worth a total of £245.7million. The majority of those using the scheme were first time buyers.

As well as helping people progress on the property ladder, the scheme has also proved to be great news for the housing industry, with 174 builders of all sizes across the country now offering Help to Buy - Wales shared equity loans on their properties.

With almost 1,400 completed sales and around 600 more in the pipeline, we’re on track to meet our ambition of supporting the completion of 5,000 new homes across Wales.

– Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

The scheme is now being extended beyond March 31st 2016.


House prices in Cardiff rising faster than London

House prices in many of the UK's largest regional cities, including Cardiff, are rising at a faster rate than those in central London for the first time in a decade.

Average house price in Cardiff is now £178,200 up by 6.7%. Credit: PA

The growth in property values was due to ultra-low mortgage rates and growing consumer confidence in regional cities says Hometrack's report.

But political uncertainty, the possibility of a mansion tax and affordability pressures were taking their toll on London's most expensive boroughs.

In March, year-on-year house price growth was 7.6% in Glasgow, 6.8% in Manchester, 6.6% in Leeds, 9.7% in Bristol and 6.7% in Cardiff.

Hometrack said it was the first time since 2005 that it had recorded major cities outside central London out-performing boroughs in the heart of the capital.

Here are the average prices of a house in the UK's major cities in March, followed by the year-on-year rate of price growth, according to Hometrack:

  • Oxford, £373,100, 13.4%
  • Glasgow, £111,700, 7.6%
  • Leeds, £145,400, 6.6%
  • London (including the surrounding commuter areas), £417,500, 11.8%
  • Manchester, £138,700, 6.8%
  • Sheffield, £126,100, 6.3%
  • Newcastle, £121,800, 5.0%
  • Liverpool, £109,900, 3.5%
  • Birmingham, £135,000, 5.2%
  • Bristol, £219,500, 9.7%
  • Leicester, £142,600, 5.2%
  • Nottingham, £126,600, 5.8%
  • Bournemouth, £239,700, 5.6%
  • Portsmouth, £193,200, 6.7%
  • Cardiff, £178,200, 6.7%
  • Edinburgh, £193,400, 5.3%
  • Southampton, £192,300, 6.8%
  • Belfast, £113,100, 5.2%
  • Cambridge, £347,400, 7.4%
  • Aberdeen, £187,500, 7.8%

Welsh Conservatives pledge to increase tax allowance

Following the launch of their manifesto in Builth Wells on Friday, the Welsh Conservatives have outlined their plans to increase the personal tax allowance to £12,500 in the next Parliament.

The Conservatives say their plan will deliver for workers and their families Credit: PA

The party said increasing the allowance to £12,500, and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 would allow people to keep more of their 'hard-earned money'.

The Conservatives are also pledging to make people who work 30 hours a week on minimum wage exempt from income tax altogether.

The next Conservative Government will make people on the lowest incomes in Wales exempt from paying income tax. Raising the personal threshold is a really practical way of boosting take-home pay and rewarding hardworking people.

– Stephen Crabb, Secretary of State for Wales
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