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Mustang fights to stay afloat

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stay afloatOVER 100 jobs are at risk after Mustang Marine, the Pembroke Dock-based boat building facility, announced it could enter administration within days.

The plight of the troubled company was exclusively revealed in The Pembrokeshire Herald’s February 7 edition. It had been hoped that a cash inection involving the Welsh Government, Milford Haven Port Authority and a third party would keep Mustang afloat.

Managing Director Stewart Graves said:

“Unfortunately last week, after completing its review of the business, the external party withdrew its offer and without that party the long-term funding package could not proceed.

“The directors over the past few days have, with their professional advisers, sought other funding and are still trying to find a rescue package to secure the future of the business.

“It’s possible the company will go into administration later this week or early next week if a rescue package cannot be found.”

Mustang is currently taking professional advice from Grant Thornton, the international accountancy firm.Earlier this month Stewart Graves admitted that the business was growing extremely quickly and was therefore “tight for cash”.

He told the Herald on February 10: “There are no plans as we speak to call in the administrators to Mustang Marine Wales. “Our company is productively employing a hundred people and we have a pipeline of work to continue beyond the middle of the year.’

When asked at the time if the company was considering calling in the receivers, Mr Graves simply said: “No comment.”

In November the Herald reported on Economy Minister Edwina Hart opening a new construction hall at Mustang Marine as part of a planning expansion of the company. Mr Graves took over from Mr Kevin Lewis as managing Insolvency rumours denied director recently.

Chief Executive of the Port of Milford Haven, Alec Don told The Pembrokeshire Herald a few weeks ago:

“We are aware Mustang Marine is facing challenges as it undertakes two projects that are bigger than anything it has done before. We know these challenges have put some strain on their cash flow and appreciate this is concerning for local businesses. Mustang Marine is an important player in the local economy and we have been working hard with Mustang and with the Welsh Government to see the company through these challenges. It is important to point out that Mustang has a healthy order book and its customers are very impressed with its products. “

It now seems that the future is beak for the beleagured firm, who reportedly owe local businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Councillor Jamie Adams, said:

“This is a sad day for the employees of Mustang Marine and their families who now have to go through some days of uncertainty. I have the utmost sympathy for them.

“It was only a few months ago, in November, that the prospects for the company seemed so rosy with the Economy Minister Edwina Hart travelling to Pembroke Dock to open Mustang Marine’s new £1.5 million boat building construction hall.

“It was hailed as a new dawn for boat building in the town and I hope that a rescue package can still be put together even at this late hour.”

Councillor Adams said that the County Council’s Futureworks and Workdays teams would be contacting the company to arrange to meet staff and help them to find alternative employment should the company fail in the next few days.

Practical help which can be given includes identifying any future training needs which could assist in securing work or advice on compiling CVs.

Councillor Adams added: “We will be working in close collaboration with other agencies such as Jobcentre Plus to offer as much support as we can.”

Alec Don told The Pembrokeshire Herald yesterday:

“We are deeply concerned by news of a potential appointment of an Administrator to the business of Mustang Marine (Wales) Limited. As a 50% shareholder in the business, we have been and will continue to be working with the company and other stakeholders to see if a solution can be found that ensures this business can continue to operate. “An external third party did have a fully agreed package of support from the Welsh Government and the Port and it is disappointing that the third party decided not to proceed.

“We understand this situation is causing anxiety for the staff at Mustang. We need to remain positive that Mustang Marine will find a way through current challenges and that it will come out of this as a reinvigorated business with a sound plan.

“As a Trust Port we are committed to focussing on our core mission which is the operation and development of the port as well as to encourage and promote jobs and economic growth in the region. We will continue to work hard with Mustang Marine’s management and any Administrator to that end.”

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42 new officers for Dyfed Powys Police in the first wave of police recruitment

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DYFED Powys Police has a recruitment target of 42 new officers in the first wave of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to increase officer numbers across the UK.

The Home Office on Wednesday (Oct 9) confirmed the officer recruitment targets for every police force in England and Wales for the first year of the unprecedented drive to increase their ranks by 20,000 over the next three years.

Stephen Crabb, Preseli Pembrokeshire MP has said that this is ‘a strong start’ to helping Dyfed Powys tackle new forms of crime and keep West Wales as one of the safest parts of the country.

Following the Home Office announcement, Stephen Crabb said: “Forty-two additional police officers for Dyfed Powys Police is a strong start to strengthening frontline policing and making people feel safer.

I praised the good work local officers do in tackling County Lines drug gang in Parliament earlier this year and asked that additional resources be provided to help them stamp out this and other terrible crimes. I’m pleased the Prime Minister listened and is delivered on his pledge to increase officers numbers.”

Strengthening police numbers is a priority for the government, which is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers onto our streets by the end of 2020-21, the first stage in this new uplift. This is thanks to the additional funding announced by the Chancellor in the Spending Review.

Every single police force in England and Wales will be able to recruit additional officers this year to help keep all of our communities safer.

All officers recruited as part of the 20,000 uplifts will be added to those hired to fill existing vacancies. They are also on top of the extra officers already being recruited because of the £1 billion increase in police funding for 2019-20, which includes money from council tax and for serious violence.

Government funding for recruitment in 2020-21 will cover all associated costs, including training and kit.

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Anti-Slavery campaigner receives medal

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A Pembrokeshire woman who has committed herself to combating modern slavery has been presented with the British Empire Medal.

Dr Anne Kelly of Saundersfoot was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.

A Swansea University lecturer, she sits on the Dyfed Powys anti-slavery forum that meets in Carmarthen. Much of her work is done
through the Soroptimist International organisation.

Through her personal commitment, she is contributing to more victims of slavery being identified, recovered and supported as well as
bringing their perpetrators to justice.

It is partly through her determination and constant lobbying of MPs that the Modern Slavery Act became law in March 2015.

Dr Kelly was presented with the British Empire Medal by the Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards, in a ceremony at County
Hall on Friday (Oct 11).

Dr Kelly was accompanied by family members.

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A letter and petition in support

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PUPILS from Milford Haven school were outside County Hall on Thursday (Oct 10) handing out letters to Councillors as they entered the main building to attend a meeting which had Milford Haven School on the agenda.

A PLEA TO DECISION MAKERS

Stevie Joseph, 14, who wrote the three-page letter said that it contained the reasons why she felt that the sixth form should stay open.
“The college is just not the same for some of us”, she said, “we need the pastoral care and support that a sixth form gives us”.

“The decline in pupil numbers is something we have noticed but Milford now has one of the biggest primary schools in Wales so its stupid to close the sixth form…. The numbers are going to go up. We should not close it now and then wait to see that improvement.”

Stevie’s classmate Rebecca said: “I would like to be in an environment where I know people. I have known these teachers for many years, and it will be weird [if I go to college and] they will not be there.”

PETITION AGAINST CLOSURE

A petition to Pembrokeshire County Council has been started on Change.org.

At the time of going to press around 500 people had signed.

Organiser Jenny did not give her last name but wrote on the page: “Milford Haven School may have to close the doors to their current sixth form department.

“The residents of Milford Haven hold the sixth form very close to their hearts as a lot of them attended themselves.

“As a community, we are all deeply saddened to hear this could be coming to an end. In previous years, this sixth form was thriving.

“As a collective, hundreds of thousands have been raised for Children in Need as well as other good causes and charities.

“Sixth form has provided pupils with vast amounts of opportunities and helped them to mature into respectable young adults. It has given students the chance to further their education in subjects they are extremely passionate about. In some instances, Milford Haven Sixth form has provided options that wouldn’t be offered anywhere else in the county.

“As it stands, if our sixth form was to close down, all pupils in year 11 and younger would have to attend either Pembrokeshire college or one of the last remaining sixth forms in the county which is Haverfordwest High which would be the closest in distance to attend.
“But in college you lose the family and community connection you have when you become part of the sixth form family.”

To sign the petition online click the link on the Pembrokeshire Herald Facebook page.

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