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Secretary of State visits college’s work programme

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college programSECRETARY of State, Iain Duncan Smith MP, visited Pembrokeshire College to find out more about their delivery of the Government’s Work Programme, which has been an effective tool for helping the long-term unemployed back into work.

Pembrokeshire College is the lead deliverer of the Work Programme across Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. Their successful back to work figures since the programme started in 2011 has ranked them as one of the leading deliverers of the scheme in the UK.

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP and Minister for Wales, Stephen Crabb, visited the College in December 2012 to gain an update on their delivery of the new Government initiative.

Stephen was keen to help secure a visit by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to showcase the work that the College’s team has been doing to help support people back into work locally.

On Thursday, December 12, Iain Duncan Smith MP, accompanied by Stephen Crabb MP, visited the College’s Work Programme offices to meet both staff and customers and to find out more about the resources on offer to those seeking work.

The Secretary of State’s visit comes at the end of a year when unemployment levels have fallen steadily in Preseli Pembrokeshire.

Following his visit Mr Duncan Smith commented:“I was delighted to visit Pembrokeshire College with Stephen and see how the Work Programme is making a real differenceto the hardest to help jobseekers.

“It was a pleasure to meet the team and congratulate them for their hard work and dedication.

“The fall in unemployment figures in Preseli Pembrokeshire is extremely positive news, as it is in the rest of the country, and shows just why the Work Programme is so important to the long-term unemployed.”

Commenting from the College, Stephen Crabb MP said: “I am pleased to have arranged for the Secretary of State to come to Pembrokeshire and see the excellent progress being made in tackling unemployment this year. I have been very impressed with the way that the team at Pembrokeshire College, as local providers of the Work Programme, have been delivering intensive support to the long-term jobless.

“Helping people overcome the difficult barriers that stop them working remains one of the biggest challenges facing Wales. The performance of the Work Programme and our local Job Centre Plus has been very encouraging and it is good that Ian Duncan-Smith has been able to see it firsthand.

“I am very pleased that the Secretary of State, who is leading the Government’s welfare reform and back-to-work initiatives, has been able to see the passion and commitment that the team at Pembrokeshire College have in making one of his programs a success in our county.”

Director of Business, Development and Community Services at the College, Dr Geoff Elliott, added: “The Work Programme forms an integral part of the College’s Welfare to Work provision which is currently engaging with over 1,000 people across Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

“The success of the Work Programme at the College is testament to the hard work and commitment of the staff who work within this challenging sector. Our results show that the key to tackling long-term unemployment is ensuring that people receive the individual support they need to help them back into sustainable employment.

“We have found that there are many synergies between what the Work Programme offers and what we do at the College on a daily basis – training people to make them ready for employment.”

Stephen Crabb MP and the Secretary of State also visited The Lion’s Den on Snowdrop Lane in Haverfordwest to meet with the owner, Hayley Thomas and her staff. Hayley was helped to set up the indoor children’s play area, cafe and nursery through the New Enterprise Allowance which is available from the Department for Work and Pensions to help people set up their own business ventures.

Hayley is now employing 15 staff members and has worked hard to develop the business since it was founded in 2011. Hayley was recently selected to attend a reception at Number 10 to recognise the success stories of the Government’s new scheme and support for businesses.

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Boris Johnston being treated in intensive care after ‘condition worsens’

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BORIS JOHNSON is being treated in intensive care after his condition worsened yesterday, with Downing Street warning that the Prime Minister may need to be put on a ventilator as he fights off coronavirus infection.

He was transferred to an intensive care unit at around 7pm yesterday on the advice of doctors after being taken to St Thomas’ Hospital for treatment just under 24 hours earlier.

Mr Johnson was conscious on admission to intensive care, Downing Street said, and asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to stand in for him.
“Since Sunday evening, the Prime Minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus,” a spokesman said in a statement issued at 8.10pm.
“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.
“The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary.
“The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.”

The news sparked a flood of well-wishes on social media, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeting: “My thoughts are with the PM and his family – sending him every good wish.”

The news followed mounting questions over whether Mr Johnson was well enough to continue leading the government, with Number 10 insisting he remained in overall charge of efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

The Prime Minister posted on twitter at 1.20pm that he was in “good spirits and keeping in touch with my team”. But in a sign of the seriousness of his condition, Mr Raab – who chaired the daily coronavirus ‘war cabinet’ yesterday morning – admitted he had not spoken to Mr Johnson since Saturday.

It comes as the latest official figures showed 5,373 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, as of 5pm on Sunday – an increase of 439 on the previous day.

Foreign Office Minister James Duddrige appeared to call on the Prime Minister to stand back from his duties to recover, posting on twitter: “Take care boss. Get well.
Come back fighting. But for now rest, look after yourself and let the others do the heavy lifting.”

And Mental Health Minister Nadine Dorries, who herself recovered from coronavirus, said many of its sufferers would be “felled” by symptoms of fatigue and fever.

At yesterday’s daily press briefing on coronavirus, Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty declined to say, under repeated questioning from journalists, whether it was appropriate for the Prime Minister to lead the government from a hospital bed.

Prof Whitty insisted he was “absolutely not going to discuss any individual patient,” and said he was not Mr Johnson’s physician.
But he later added that some patients of his were able to “handle massively complicated things from their hospital beds”.

The Prime Minister first experienced symptoms and was confirmed as having coronavirus last Thursday, with his cough and high temperature continuing for 11 days.
Having previously been described as “mild”, Downing Street said yesterday that his cough and fever were “persistent”.

Mr Raab said the Prime Minister had “a comfortable night” at St Thomas’, across the River Thames from parliament, where he was taken at around 8pm on Sunday.

The decision was made on the advice of Mr Johnson’s private doctors and was a precautionary measure to undergo tests, and not an emergency admission.

But his official spokesman did not deny reports that the Prime Minister had been given oxygen, and would not comment on whether he was being treated for pneumonia.

Coronavirus patients not being allowed visitors in hospital, but Downing Street said a ministerial red box with official papers had been delivered to the Prime Minister’s hospital bed – despite Downing Street saying Mr Johnson would “follow the advice the same as anybody else”.

A report in Russian media that the Prime Minister had already been put on a ventilator was dismissed as “fake news”.

Downing Street insisted it had been “transparent throughout” about Mr Johnson’s health, and would communicate any change in the Prime Minister’s condition to the public.

In his twitter post yesterday afternoon, Mr Johnson wrote: “I’d like to say thank you to all the brilliant NHS staff taking care of me and others in this difficult time. You are the best of Britain.
“Stay safe everyone, and please remember to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”

At the daily coronavirus press conference in Downing Street, Mr Raab said ministers and officials were continuing to work “full throttle” to ensure the Prime Minister’s instructions were implemented.
“He’s in charge, but he’ll continue to take doctors’ advice on what to do next,” he said.

Mr Johnson had been expected to leave isolation on Friday, with the pound trading lower on currency markets over fears about the impact that his extended absence from Number 10 could have on the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

His fiancée Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, revealed on Saturday that she was recovering after also contracting the virus.

Earlier, former Prime Minister Tony Blair said it would be “hellish” for Mr Johnson to be in hospital at the peak of the crisis.
Asked by the BBC’s Today programme whether the Prime Minister should give up control of the government to focus on his recovery, Mr Blair said: “I’m not going to second guess them on that.

He knows the state of his own condition and he will be judging it carefully himself, I’m sure.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Cabinet “hope and expect [the Prime Minister can get back to Number 10 very soon”.

Mr Jenrick told Today: “He has worked phenomenally hard, as have many people across the country. This has been a uniquely intense period and I know for him personally it will be very frustrating that he has had to go to hospital to have these tests.

“He will want to be back in No 10 leading from the front, which is his way. But he remains in charge of the government; he will be updated regularly in hospital, as he has been as he’s self-isolating.”

Meanwhile, the Labour MP for Rochdale Tony Lloyd, who served as shadow Scottish Secretary during the final months of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, has been admitted to
Manchester Royal Infirmary for treatment of coronavirus.In a statement issued by the Labour Party, Mr Lloyd’s family said he was “stable and responding to the treatment and dedicated care that he is receiving from the brilliant doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff.”

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Cemeteries re-open to public

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Following the issuing of revised guidance by Welsh Government
yesterday evening (Friday, 3 rd April), all 11 of Pembrokeshire County
Council-owned cemeteries will be re-opened to members of the public
from 8 am tomorrow, Sunday, 5 th April.

The grounds of Parc Gwyn Crematorium in Narberth will now also be
accessible at their normal hours (10 am to 5 pm) although the Chapel
of Remembrance will remain closed until further notice.  

Welsh Government is in the process of making amendments to the
Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions Wales) Regulations 2020
which clarify the arrangements for funerals and crematoriums.
This includes the revision that cemeteries can remain open but social
distancing must be taken into account.

The list of persons who may attend a funeral – namely members of
the deceased’s household, close family, and a friend (only if no
household or family members were attending) plus carers of persons
attending – is also being changed.

The revised legislation states: ‘This will now include the person
arranging the funeral and anyone invited by that person (or any carer
of any of those persons) who may attend a funeral (and will be
considered to have a reasonable excuse for leaving their homes).’
The numbers of mourners attending funerals at Parc Gwyn
Crematorium or burials in any Pembrokeshire County Council-owned
cemeteries remains unchanged at 12.

The Council’s 11 cemeteries are:
 Rosemarket
 Llangwm
 Freystrop
 St Ishmaels
 City Road, Haverfordwest
 Nolton Haven
 Llanfair Nanty Gof (Trecwn)
 Llanwnda
 Llanion, Pembroke Dock
 Monkton
 St Michael’s, Pembroke.

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Childcare for children aged 0-4 of critical workers

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Following the announcement today (Monday 6th April) made by the
Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, funding is being
provided to each Local Authority in Wales to support the cost of
Childcare for children 0-4 years of Critical Workers and also
vulnerable children who also need to access registered childcare. 

From today, Critical Workers with children aged 0-4 years will be able
to access childcare at a registered setting at no cost.

To make this funding possible, The Welsh Government has had to
suspend the Childcare Offer for Wales with immediate effect.

Applications are now closed and all children who were due start on
the Childcare Offer this April will be cancelled until further notice.

However, The Welsh Government will continue to pay booked hours
for children who are currently participating in the Childcare Offer until
mid-June 2020, with a review to be undertaken at the end of that
period.   

Pembrokeshire County Council will manage all bookings for the
Critical Workers childcare Offer.

To access this, you must register your child with Pembrokeshire
County Council.

For more information and to register please visit: 
https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-guidance/childcare-provision-for-children-of-critical-workers-and-vulnerable-children

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