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WASPI campaigners and council join forces to overturn unjust pension rules

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PEMBROKESHIRE WOMEN AGAINST STATE PENSION INJUSTICE (WASPI) has taken the first step to help challenge a recent High Court decision.

It comes as Pembrokeshire County Council’s Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered a Notice of Motion which had been submitted by Cllr Thomas Tudor last month for the Authority to call on the government to make changes to a policy which has left many women born in the 1950’s ‘living in hardship’.

Thomas Tudor told The Herald: “This issue affects many women in Pembrokeshire including women from my Ward the Castle Ward of Haverfordwest hence the reason for tabling this Notice of motion to Pembrokeshire County Council.”
On October 3, the Royal Courts of Justice announced that the two justices who heard the case in June had found that the 3.8m women in the UK had not been discriminated against when their state pension age was put back by several years with little or no notice.
“We were rather shell shocked when we heard the decision to dismiss it and put it back in the hands of the Government to resolve” said Pembrokeshire WASPI Organiser, Jackie Gilderdale.

“We are convinced that the 7,000 women in Pembrokeshire, born in the 1950s who have been cheated out of several years of the pensions they paid into, have been treated unfairly.

“We heard on October 24th that enough money had been raised, so the request for permission to appeal the decision has been lodged with the High Court.
“The speed with which the funding target was met shows the strength of feeling among 1950s women and their supporters.”
A date for the hearing has not yet been set but is expected to be in November. WASPI continue to support the Backto60s campaign, whilst maintaining their own ask for transitional payments and compensation for ALL 1950s women.

Cllr Tom Tudor: Leads call for action

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on considered the following motion: “Pembrokeshire County Council calls upon the Government to make fair transitional state pension arrangements for all women born on or after 6th April 1951, who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age (SPA) with lack of appropriate notification. Hundreds of thousands of women had significant pension changes imposed on them by the Pensions Acts of 1995 and 2011 with little/no/personal notification of the changes. Some women had only two years notice of a six-year increase to their state pension age. Many women born in the 1950’s are living in hardship. Retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences. Many of these women are already out of the labour market, caring for elderly relatives, providing childcare for grandchildren, or suffer discrimination in the workplace so struggle to find employment.

“Women born in this decade from Pembrokeshire are suffering financially. These women have worked hard, raised families and paid their tax and national insurance with the expectation that they would be financially secure when reaching 60. It is not the pension age itself that is in dispute – it is widely accepted that women and men
should retire at the same time. The issue is that the rise in the women’s state pension age has been too rapid and has happened without enough notice being given to the women affected, leaving women with no time to make alternative arrangements.

“Pembrokeshire County Council calls upon the Government to reconsider transitional arrangements for women born on or after 6th April 1951, so that women do not live in hardship due to pension changes they were not told about until it was too late to make alternative arrangements.”

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Haverfordwest: Primary school teacher accused of 34 sexual assaults

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher was in court on Monday (Aug 3) accused of 34 sexual assaults.

James Oulton, 34, of Richmond Crescent, denies all the charges.

Oulton, who was granted a continuation to his bail, was represented in court by his barrister Chris Clee QC.

The case is listed for administrative hearings in November and the trial date is provisionally set for April 12, 2021.

Oulton is currently suspended from work at Mary Immaculate School.

It is understood that the case does not involve children who are pupils at the Roman Catholic primary school.

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Phased re-opening for Leisure Centre facilities

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FACILITIES at Pembrokeshire County Council’s Leisure Centres will begin to re-open in a phased and safe manner from Monday, August 17.

Following further easing of Welsh Government restrictions, Pembrokeshire Leisure will be opening its doors for the use of fitness suites only in the first phase.

The fitness suites at Fishguard Leisure Centre, Haverfordwest Leisure Centre, Milford Haven Leisure Centre, Pembroke Leisure Centre and Tenby Leisure Centres will open from Monday, August.

You must book and pay for your gym slot in advance.

Without a pre-booked slot you will not be able to gain access to the facilities.

There will be no bookings or payments taken at the centres. In order to make a reservation you will need to be a registered user of Pembrokeshire Leisure.

You can register via the website https://pembrokeshireleisure.co.uk/ or by calling 01437 775504, Monday to Thursday, 9am – 3pm.

See below for further membership information.

Bookings can also be made via the website and telephone numbers above and through the Pembrokeshire Leisure app which is available to download on both Apple IOS and Android.

You will be able to book your session from Tuesday, August 11, onwards.

For everyone’s safety please do not attend any Pembrokeshire Leisure facilities if you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms.

Users are asked to bring only a full water bottle (drinking fountains will not be in use), a towel and their Pembrokeshire Leisure Card for their exercise session.

Please note there will be no changing facilities available so please arrive dressed ready for your session.

Buildings may operate one-way systems and equipment may be set out differently than normal with some equipment set up in other areas of the centre to allow more space to exercise.

Those visiting with pre-booked appointments are respectfully asked to adhere to social distancing rules in operation.

There will be an enhanced cleaning operation in place with hand sanitising stations and customers will need to use the provided cleaning products to clean equipment before and after use.

The second phase, from Tuesday, September 1, will see Crymych Leisure Centre re-open and swimming pools, indoor fitness classes and facility hire available at all centres.

Again, all activities will be via pre-booked appointments only.

Further details will be released in due course, including opening arrangements for all of the remaining leisure facilities.

Currently all Pembrokeshire Leisure memberships are frozen with no payments being taken.

To allow members to return when they feel safe and happy to do so Pembrokeshire Leisure will be offering the following:

If you are ready to return to us:

  • Everyone with a frozen current membership will be able to access the fitness suites for free from August 17 to 31.
  • We will be offering a ‘BeActive’ membership while our facilities have a reduced offering at £19/month.
  • You will need to sign up to the membership using our app or website.
  • This membership will be paid on a monthly basis with no minimum term.
  • It will be available until our centres are able to offer a more complete selection of activities, when existing membership subscriptions will be restarted.

If you don’t feel ready to return to us yet:

  • All memberships will remain frozen and you will not need to contact us until you are ready to return.
  • All subscriptions will receive an extension as Appropriate.
  • When we are able to offer a more complete provision of activities then memberships will be restarted. Members will be given notice before the payments are taken.

More information regarding the BeActive membership will be sent to all members.

All relevant information will also be published on

https://pembrokeshireleisure.co.uk/ and the Pembrokeshire Leisure App.

If you are unclear on the process of re-joining please contact 01437 775504.

Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism. Leisure and Culture, Cllr Paul Miller, said: “With restrictions easing further in the coming weeks the team have been working hard to ensure we can offer a safe, phased, return to leisure facilities across the county.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming back members and the general public from the 17th.”

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Milford Haven coastguards launch six lifeboats and task helicopter to hoax call

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MILFORD HAVEN Coastguard Operations Centre swung into action last night following an emergency call, tasking SIX lifeboats and a rescue helicopter to search for a sinking yacht with three crew on board.

But the call – which led to rescuers to search a large part of the Bristol Channel – turned out to be a hoax.

The RNLI said that the call out cost valuable funds, which could have been used to save lives in a real emergency.

Barry Lifeboat station volunteers posted on Facebook saying: “Whilst out on its first exercise since the start of the Covid 19 restrictions, the Barry Dock All-weather lifeboat was tasked by Milford Haven coastguard to reports of a sinking yacht with three people on board.
“Volunteer crews from RNLI Penarth Lifeboat Station, RNLI Weston Lifeboat Station and RNLI Lifeboats at Burnham-on-Sea launched their lifeboats to the mayday call.
“The six lifeboats and coastguard rescue helicopter carried out a coordinated search pattern around the Flat Holm and Steep Holm Islands
“A dredging vessel the Arco Dart also assisted in the search.
“After an investigation by the coastguard team at Milford Haven it was deemed to be a hoax call.
“The volunteers from the four separate RNLI stations returned home and prepared each lifeboat for its next service.
“A hoax call is a massive drain on the resources of the RNLI and it’s volunteers during this challenging time.”

Speaking to The Pembrokeshire Herald on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the RNLI said: “Volunteer crew members will respond to any request to help those in trouble at sea.
“However, when a false 999 or 112 call is made, it uses volunteers’ time, which they selflessly give to help those in trouble.
“It costs the charity valuable funds, which could be better used elsewhere, and a false call can take lifesaving resources away from a real emergency.”

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have been approached for a comment.

Barry lifeboat after being tasked to hoax call on Monday night (Pic: RNLI)

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