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70% of Welsh people worried about rising living costs

37% of people asked in Wales say they're cutting back on groceries to make ends meet Credit: PA

Rising living costs are leaving thousands of Welsh families struggling to cope financially, with many cutting back on food and heating to try to make ends meet. That's according to new research published today by Citizens Advice Cymru and Shelter Cymru.

The figures reveal that 70% of Welsh adults are worried about the rising cost of living, and more than half struggle to keep up with bills and credit commitments.

Food, petrol and energy costs were particular concerns, with 48% of people admitting they were cutting back on gas and electricity.

The research also found thousands of households have no safety net, with 25% of those in employment saying they would not be able to pay their rent or mortgage at all if they lost their job.

In last year's survey this figure was 18% and it's been suggested the increase could be a result of people no longer being able to put money aside for emergencies.

Shelter Cymru: "Wales is a long way from economic recovery"

New research shows thousands of Welsh families are struggling to cope financially, due to rising living costs.

Many say they're cutting back on food, energy and petrol to make ends meet.

The Director of Shelter Cymru John Puzey says Wales is a long way away from an economic recovery.

"Cutting back on food and heating in order to meet the rent or mortgage can only ever be a short-term measure. A severe winter or an increase in interest rates could be all it takes for families to hit crisis point and potentially lose their home."

"Besides the devastating impact that this has on the health and well-being of individuals concerned, especially children, dealing with the outcomes of homelessness has significant financial impacts on local services, which themselves are experiencing severe funding cuts."

– John Puzey, Shelter Cymru

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National Lottery celebrates 20-year anniversary

Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

The National Lottery celebrates its 20-year anniversary this year.

Wales’ biggest-ever winner is former lorry driver Les Scadding, from Newport, who scooped a £45.5m EuroMillions win five years ago.

Now the fortunes of some of our biggest Lottery winners will be followed in a new four-part TV series on ITV Cymru Wales.

'The Welsh Millionaires’ Club' begins next Monday at 8pm.

Royal Mint strikes WW1 centenary coin

In tribute to the bravery of the troops who signed up in their thousands during the First World War, the Royal Mint has produced a coin to commemorate the war's centenary.

Credit: Royal Mint

Only the second British £20 coin ever to be struck, the coin will be limited to 250,000 and will be available for collectors to purchase at face value.

Created by renowned scuptor John Bergdahl, the coin's design depicts the figure of Britannia watching over the first troops leaving for France at the start of the war in 1914.

Credit: The Royal Mint

“The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is an occasion of such significance, it was important to us that this coin should takes its place in The Royal Mint’s programme of commemoration, remembering the bravery and sacrifice of those who answered the call to fight for King and country.”

– Shane Bissett, The Royal Mint

The outbreak of World War One will be commemorated on 4 August.

The Royal Mint announced in April it is to open its doors to the public for the first time in its 1,000 year history.

Read more: Royal Mint visitor centre: What to expect

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Lib Dems say M4 plan makes budget talks difficult

The Welsh Lib Dems are now the only party talking to the Welsh Government about a deal to support the budget. Their leader, Kirsty Willaims, says that following Plaid Cymru's decision to quit the negotiations over the £1 billion Newport motorway announcement says she'll keep negotiating but the plan for the M4 makes it "difficult".

The Welsh Liberal Democrat priority for the next budget continues to be extra support for Wales’ poorest school children through our Pupil Premium. However, it’s very difficult to see how we can support a budget that prioritises the current M4 proposals and that is what we will explain to the Welsh Government in future negotiations.

The M4 announcement yesterday was a huge mistake. It completely flies in the face of the environmental and economic issues. Our proposed alternatives are far less expensive and less likely to damage vast swathes of the environment. A responsible Government wouldn’t spend its entire borrowing powers on one single road, leaving no money left for other transport projects.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM

Plaid quit budget talks over "reckless" new M4

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has pulled her party out of budget talks with the Welsh Government in protest at the decision to spend £1 billion on a new motorway around Newport. She claimed it was a reckless and undemocratic decision, arguing that cheaper and more effective solutions to the traffic jams on the existing M4 would have left more money to be spent in other parts of Wales.

The Welsh Government does not have a majority in the Senedd and needs the support of at least one other party to get its budget passed. In the past, it has reached a deal with Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats or both. Plaid and the Welsh Lib Dems has reached an agreement to negotiate jointly in future.

This is a stand that Plaid Cymru has been compelled to make. The Welsh Government acted with complete disregard for the democratic institution when it took this decision without proper scrutiny and with no business case.

Plaid Cymru wants the M4 congestion problem resolved now and resolved properly. There is an option to do this at a more reasonable cost giving us the same answer and that is why Plaid Cymru in government turned down this more expensive and environmentally damaging option.

In budget negotiations, we would have worked hard to ensure the best value for money for the Welsh taxpayer, and yet the Welsh Government has blown a billion pounds on this extravagant project when there are more efficient and more cost-effective alternatives.

– Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood AM

NHS Wales to become 'living wage' employer

The living wage will come into force from September

Around 2,400 of the lowest paid employees in the NHS in Wales will receive an increase in their basic salary as the organisation becomes a living wage employer.

The health minister announced today that all staff will be paid at least the living wage of £7.65 an hour – more than the minimum wage rate of £6.31 an hour.

The change which will come into force from September.

The Living Wage Commission has called for all public sector workers to be paid a living wage of at least £7.65 per hour.

Professor Drakeford said:

"This sends a clear signal that the Welsh Government is committed to tackling poverty and that NHS Wales is a fair, equitable employer.

“I have also decided the fairest option that will benefit the majority of workers is to award all Agenda for Change staff a flat cash payment of £160 and to protect the ability for those not at the top of their pay bands to move up to the next increment when it becomes due.

"This will mean that more than nine out of 10 NHS staff will receive a pay award in 2014-15."

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