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41% of Murco workers have found new jobs

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saddazREBECCA EVANS AM, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, has welcomed the actions laid out in a letter to AMs by the Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport to help those affected by the collapse of the sale of the Murco refinery in Milford Haven – both directly and indirectly.
The letter from the Minister to all AMs outlines all that the Welsh Government’s Taskforce – put in place following the devastating news last year that the site would end its refinery work – has done and is doing to help the local economy and the employees recover. The Murco Taskforce meets regularly to help implement a delivery plan that has so far seen 41% of employees find alternative employment, with more than half of those in Pembrokeshire.
Welcoming the actions being taken Mrs Evans said: “The Welsh Government did all it could to try and help secure a sale, and has also been quick to act since the announcement that the sale had fallen through. I am pleased that the Minister quickly put into place a dedicated taskforce and delivery plan. The Minister has also recognised that the contractors, sub contractors and the further parts of the supply chain in need of attention. I also welcome the promise from the Minister that any future developments of the A40 will include contractual requirements to maximise spend in the local economy with the appointment of local businesses and individuals.”
The actions currently being taken by the task-force include:
• Delivery plan to secure alternative employment for displaced workers with help from industry employers, notably Valero
• Workshops and training sessions run by companies including Penna
• Business Wales Start Up & High Potential Starts Programme help and support to help people set up their own business
• Careers Wales action to support and help develop ReAct funded action plans
• The Wales Economic Growth Zone for Pembrokeshire with Welsh Government match funding which has attracted nearly £3.3 million of projects so far
• SME Capital Grant fund (closing at the end of the month) which has attracted 18 companies to apply
• A bespoke workforce development intervention will be launched at the end of February
The South Pembrokeshire Labour party have also released a statement regarding supporting those who have lost their jobs due to Murco’s closure:
According to new figures released by the Welsh Government, 41% of former workers at the Murco oil refinery have found work elsewhere, and more than half of these jobs are within Pembrokeshire. In an update on the Welsh Government’s efforts to mitigate the threat to the local economy posed by the closure of Murco, Economic Minister Edwina Hart said 324 of the original 532 Murco employees and contractors have now been made redundant, with a further 72 finishing this quarter. The sale of the Murco site is underway and is expected to be finalised in June.
One ex-employee who didn’t want to use his real name, but was known on site as ‘Honey Monster’  was devastated when he lost his job last November has told us things are looking up:  “I was gutted last November as I loved working there, but things change and I’ve got myself a new start with a local company, and I’m really happy.”
Mrs Hart praised the work of the Murco Taskforce to support those who had lost their jobs:  “I welcome the significant progress that has been made to secure alternative employment for displaced Murco workers. I also welcome the fact that through the commitment, focus and coordinated efforts of the Taskforce there is a clear route of actions to retain the high skilled Murcoworkforce within Wales.”
Delyth Evans, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for South Pembrokeshire, said it was very important for the Welsh Government to maintain its focus on supporting the local economy because of the massive impact of the Murco closure.  “Contractors and sub-contractors have been hit exceptionally hard as well as those directly employed by Murco. I am pleased the Minister and the Task Force are keeping up their efforts to provide assistance. The focus has to be on identifying opportunities for developing the regional economy in a way that is sustainable for the future, by supporting local
businesses, improving skills and training, and bringing in new investment.”
Stephen Crabb MP called for a new focus on tidal energy following closure of Murco when asked about supporting ex-Murco workers.
The MP emphasised the importance of a new strategy for the local economy following the closure of Murco. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment rose in Preseli Pembrokeshire last month, and the local MP has stated his commitment to addressing this important matter.
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Reminder from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to pre-book for attractions

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MEMBERS of the public are being reminded to pre-book their entry tickets before visiting two popular National Park Authority-run attractions.

To allow for social distancing on site, both Carew Castle and Tidal Mill and Castell Henllys Iron Age Village have been operating a pre-booking system since last summer.

Those wishing to visit should book their tickets online before arriving at the site. This applies to Annual Pass holders and others who qualify for free entry, such as wheelchair users and accompanying carers.

Carew Castle is open to pre-booked visitors between 10am and 4pm (Tidal Mill 11.30am – 5pm), while those wishing to visit Castell Henllys will be asked to book either a morning slot (10am-1pm) or an afternoon slot (2pm-5pm) before visiting the site.

Daisy Hughes, Visitor Services Manager at Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, said: “Over the past 12 months, we have made some changes to the site and how we operate to ensure that we keep you, our staff and our local community safe.

“All areas of the Castle and Tidal Mill are open, including the Walled Garden and play area. Nest Tearoom, which has plenty of outdoor undercover seating, will be serving light lunches and homemade cakes along with hot and cold drinks throughout the day, and the Castle and Mill Shops remain open – although face coverings must be worn and only card/contactless payments are currently being accepted.

“With the exception of Nest Tearoom, pre-booking is essential, though, and we’re asking all visitors to make sure they book their entry tickets in advance, in order to avoid any delays or disappointment when they arrive on site.”

Entry tickets for both Carew Castle and Castell Henllys can be purchased by visiting www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/events

A dynamic programme of events suitable for all the family will be running at both sites throughout the summer months. Visit the above website for more information and to book tickets.

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Salvage Hunters: New series is filming in Pembrokeshire, and they need help

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SALVAGE HUNTERS, the well-loved and most watched Quest TV and Discovery Network show, is on the hunt for locations to film at in the Pembrokeshire and the wider South West Wales area to feature in the upcoming series.

We follow decorative antiques expert Drew Pritchard as he travels around various locations in the UK and abroad on his quest to find and buy unusual objects with an interesting history.

Drew really visits everywhere – beautiful estates, old family businesses, barns and attic’s stuffed full of unwanted things, museums, factories, collectors and iconic religious sites buying all sorts along the way – from gorgeous country house furniture and railwayana to 6ft 1980s disco balls and anything in-between.

Now in its sixteenth series and airing to over half a million people in the UK and millions more worldwide, this is a great opportunity for you to promote your business or home to a broad audience, sell a few items that perhaps you no longer need, make some money and celebrate the history and heritage of the UK.

If you think you fit the bill or know somebody that might then please do not hesitate to reach out and speak with a member of our team.

Call us on 0203 179 0092 or alternatively send us an email to – salvagehunters@curvemedia.com

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Haverfordwest and Cardigan high streets listed as among the ten worst in Britain

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TWO west Wales high streets have been listed in a UK wide report detailing Britain’s worst high streets.

In the highly respected report Cardigan High Street has been listed as the 4th worst in Britain, whilst Haverfordwest has come 8th.

The Harper Dennis Hobbs rankings, which come out every two years, in sadly listed six Welsh High Streets in the worst 10 category.

Some retail centres have performed well since 2019 but most Welsh towns have fallen down the list.

Overall the performance in Wales was poor with a major drop in the average position of Welsh high streets on the UK list.

More shops in Haverfordwest’s town centre have closed since the coronavirus hit (Pic: File image)

The average rank was 797 – the worst of any nation and region in the UK, showing the huge challenge Welsh Government has to revive town centres. Six of the bottom ten UK high streets were in Wales.

Normally Harper Dennis Hobbs releases the full ranking but when the firm published its 2021 report in February, it only made the top 50 best-performing locations publicly available. Now, a copy of the full list shared with i lays bare the shopping centres and high streets that have fared worst over the past year.

Top of the worst list is Girvan in South Ayrshire.

Girvan is home to around 6,500 people and has suffered the same difficulties as many cities and towns across the UK when it comes to its high street’s declining appeal – but it is the area’s “very weak retail offer” and the large number of empty shops that helped seal its place at the bottom of the league table.

Haverfordwest in 2014. can you spot any differences to now?

“Girvan along with Haverfordwest and Cardigan all scored poorly due to a very weak retail offer [and] the towns have a relatively high vacancy rate,” said Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs.

Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at HDH, explained: “Our analysis is unique as we use variables that both consumers and retailers consider when assessing shopping locations to rank the top 1,000 retail centres in Great Britain. This Vitality Ranking looks very different from previous years as the ‘retail health’ of high streets across the country has seen contrasting fortunes since the start of the pandemic.

“The most vital retail centres currently provide services that are essential to people’s lives, such as grocers and pharmacies. These essential retailers have been able to trade throughout the strictest lockdowns, and consumers have not been willing or able to travel far to visit these stores. Shopping patterns have therefore changed significantly since the start of the pandemic, and consumers’ local high streets are benefitting at the expense of major destinations.”

Turning empty retail spaces in the town into homes or offices could help rejuvenate the area and bring “demand to the doors” of shops that survive, Mr Metherell said.

Cardigan High Street before Covid-19 (Pic Stay In Wales)

Top 10 best high streets 2021

  1. Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
  2. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
  3. Tenterden, Kent
  4. Wimbledon Village, south-west London
  5. Marlborough, Wiltshire
  6. Sevenoaks, Kent
  7. Kingston upon Thames, Greater London
  8. Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
  9. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
  10. Ilkley, Bradford

Top 10 worst high streets 2021

  1. Girvan, South Ayrshire
  2. Bristol – Baldwin Street
  3. Chepstow, Monmouthshire
  4. Cardigan, Ceredigion
  5. Southsea, Portsmouth
  6. Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  7. Ammanford, Carmarthenshire
  8. Haverfordwest, Permbrokeshire
  9. Canning Town, east London
  10. Newtown, Powys

(Source: Harper Dennis Hobbs)

Cardigan High Street pictured in the early 2000’s before Currys left town (Pic Geograph)
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