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Mustang Marine goes into administration

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mustang marine• 65 jobs lost • Local firms owed hundreds of thousands • Politicians want reassurances over remaining jobs

THE WELSH GOVERNMENT MINISTER for the Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart, has confirmed to The Herald that Pembroke Dock based Mustang Marine is now in the hands of administrators Grant Thornton, but is continuing to trade. Around 65 employees have been laid off and 50 staff will remain, according to the firm.

Interim managing director Stewart Graves said he was still hopeful a buyer could be found.

Mustang has had millions of pounds in funding from the Milford Haven Port Authority and a cash injection from the Welsh government. Last week, the interim managing director said the company had a significant cash shortage in December which left it facing closure.

He said with assistance from a new management team and external advisers a long-term funding package was secured in February from the Welsh government and Milford Haven Port Authority and an external third party.

However, 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”.

Alec Don, Chief Executive of the Port of Milford Haven said in a statement: “Mustang Marine is 50% owned by the Port of Milford Haven and therefore is an associate company.”

“We are obviously concerned about the great anxiety amongst staff and other stakeholders that this administration announcement will be causing. We have always been supportive of Mustang’s efforts to grow their business and establish themselves as a manufacturer based in West Wales in competition with other ship builders in the UK and beyond.”

“As a Trust Port we remain committed, more than normal commercial considerations would allow, to working with the administrator and other stakeholders to see a viable business re-established. We will do all we can to attract investors who can make a success of the outstanding facilities and location we have here, and employ as many of the highly skilled staff as possible.”

Politicians express concern

Delyth Evans, Parliamentary Candidate for South Pembrokeshire said: “I am extremely disappointed to learn of the news that administrators have been appointed to Mustang Marine. This is very bad news for the employees and their families and other local businesses that are also affected. I know the Welsh Government has been working hard to help the company find a way out of its difficulties. It is vital that every opportunity is explored to secure a future for the business and to support the workforce.”

Cllr Paul Miller, said: “I share Delyth’s concern for those people who are affected by this difficult outcome. Mustang Marine has been a major employer over the years and has directly and indirectly contributed to the Pembrokeshire economy.”

“I’ll be raising this with officers of Pembrokeshire County Council and with the Milford Haven Enterprise Zone Board. It’s critical that both organisations re-double their efforts to support job creation around the waterway.”

Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, has asked the First Minister what advice and support the Welsh Government will make available to members of the Mustang Marine workforce facing redundancy.

AM seeks assurances over jobs

Speaking at the weekly questions to the First Minister, Mrs Evans said: “The news that Mustang Marine in Pembroke Dock has gone into administration with the loss of 66 jobs is a bitter blow for the area.

“What support and assistance will the Welsh Government offer to those 66 workers facing redundancy, and how can you help to work towards safeguarding the remaining 48 jobs?”

In response, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones confirmed that “We are exploring a number of options at the moment, but I can say that those threatened with redundancy will be offered ReAct support and advice.”

ReAct is the Welsh Government’s Redundancy Action Scheme which has been put in place to help people affected by redundancy gain new skills and encourage recruiting employers to employ a redundant worker.

ReAct can offer help to individuals facing redundancy, or those who are newly out of work, by offering recruitment and training support, as well as discretionary awards toward vocational training. Help can include 100 per cent of training costs to acquire new skills (up to a maximum of £1,500), help with the cost of special equipment to remove barriers to training, help towards the cost of travelling to training courses, overnight accommodation costs – where appropriate, and a contribution towards childcare costs whilst training.

Mrs Evans said: “ReAct also offers packages for employers taking on someone who has been made redundant.

“The Welsh Government’s employer recruitment support initiative funds employers who recruit individuals who have been made redundant in the past six months. The award offers up to £3,000 paid in four instalments as a contribution towards wage costs.

“There is also an employer training support fund, which is a separate discretionary fund of up to £1,000 that an employer can put towards the cost of the new recruit’s job-related training.

“I urge local employers to consider whether this funding would be right for them.”

Uncertainty for suppliers

Last month The Herald reported that there were hundreds of thousands owed to local businesses by Mustang Marine. The administrators have now confirmed that the figure is around £350,000 and that there are over sixty firms owed cash. A local business man who spoke to the Herald on condition of anonymity said: “Our company is only a small firm, and we have been waiting for payment since before Christmas. If we do not get paid, which is now looking unlikely, we will be forced to lay off staff at our company too. The knock on effect of Mustang going into administration may very well be greater than the job losses at the firm itself.”

Alec Don said: “The interests of creditors and employees will be best served by all parties working together to ensure a strong business emerges from the administration process.”

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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