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Christmas travellers urged to prepare for busy roads

The AA is urging drivers to prepare before they set out on their travels over the festive season.

Wales is set to have among the busiest roads in the UK this Christmas Credit: PA

This week is expected to be one of the busiest on the roads, with people visiting family and friends around the country.

Figures released by the AA found nearly half of all its members are to drive a significant distance over the next few days.

The organisation is warning drivers to think ahead before they set out and to ensure they check the weather forecast.

The weather forecast is mixed with heavy rain forecast in parts of Wales. Local rain or sleet can create poor driving conditions so it's important to stay tuned into to the weather and traffic reports and, if it's bad, allow more time for your journey.

– Mark Spowage, AA patrol

The AA has issued a list of measures to consider before setting out. They include:

  • When travelling with children take things to keep them entertained
  • Break up long journeys with rest stops
  • Check your car including the windscreen wash, the lights and the tyres
  • Pack waterproof clothing, food, water, a torch and a fully charged mobile phone

Plaid Cymru: Wales' low-wage economy can be overturned

Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Lorwerth AM has outlined how Wales' low-wage economy can be overturned.

Highlighting figures on average wages in Wales, Rhun ap Iorwerth said that Welsh wages were on average £2,000 lower per year than the rest of the UK.

The average weekly wage in Wales is £383.30 per week Credit: PA

He said employment levels in Wales matched UK average levels but jobs are generally of lower quality in Wales, resulting in lower wages.

The average weekly wage in Wales is £383.30 per week, compared to the UK average of £417.90.

We need to make sure that the Welsh workforce has the skills that business needs, so that we can begin to drive up Welsh wages.

That needs to start with education. We need to teach ourselves the skills that business wants, and to do that Plaid Cymru is working in partnership with industry to ensure that Welsh apprenticeships and skills training offer the skills they need.

The wage gap has grown because of a lack of investment in Wales by successive governments formed by London-based parties and it is high time that Wales took control the powers we need to create a thriving business environment, and quality well-paid work.

– Rhun ap Lorwerth AM, Plaid Cymru

The Welsh Government says it is continuing to work to close the historic wage gap by attracting investment, creating jobs and promoting economic growth.

"We are working closely with the business community to ensure that education in Wales provides young people with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. Separately Professor Graham Donaldson is currently undertaking a wide-ranging independent review of curriculum and assessment arrangements to ensure learners gain the skills they need to succeed in a modern and quickly evolving world."

– Welsh Government

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Average Christmas spend in Wales is almost £600

Today is the last full shopping day before Christmas, and it's also the busiest.

Figures show people in Wales plan to spend almost £600 on Christmas this year.

But around a third of us are worried about how we will afford it.

And three in ten of us will turn to credit cards to fund the festive season.

Our Business Correspondent Carole Green has been taking a look at this year's Christmas spend.

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Busiest shopping day of the year expected for Welsh high streets

Today is likely to be the busiest shopping day for retailers, with consumers predicted to spend £1.3 billion on UK high streets.

That's according to Visa Europe who say shoppers are expected to spend nearly £1 million per minute.

Shoppers are expected to spend nearly £1 million a minute across the UK Credit: PA

Thousands of people are expected to descend upon Welsh city centres in a dash to grab last minute Christmas presents.

Money advice experts also say people are spending more this Christmas than ever before with the average person spending £584.

But there are concerns that many people risk falling into debt because of splashing too much cash during the festive months.

Figures from The Money Advice service show:

  • 34% are worried about how they will afford Christmas
  • 30% will turn to credit cards to fund their shopping
  • 3% will take out a pay day loan to cover the costs of Christmas

Whilst some people are spending more this Christmas, others are still struggling to make ends meet and are becoming more dependent on foodbanks.

That's the warning from foodbanks who say this time of year can be difficult with many families relying on centres for help with their groceries.

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