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£3m to prop up Pembrokeshire

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murcoA MULTI-MILLION pound fund to create and protect jobs in Pembrokeshire has been announced following the loss of 340 jobs at the Murco oil refi nery . Economy and Science Minister for Wales Edwina Hart said the government would: “Focus on doing all we can,” to maximise opportunities for those workers from the site. As well as a £3m fi ghting fund, Mrs Hart also said she would explore ‘additional ways’ to improve the A40, ‘including the potential for dualling’. The Minister told The Herald: “I will be introducing a special round of the Welsh Economic Growth Fund that will be open to support businesses in creating and safeguarding employment in Pembrokeshire.

That £3m will sit alongside a £500,000 new round of the SME Growth Fund that I am committing to, aimed at supporting smaller and micro-sized companies to maximise the employment and growth opportunities in the region. We will of course be exploring the use of European monies to meet our goals and be working with the UK Government to consider the use of the EU’s Globalisation Adjustment Fund.  The energy sector is integral to the economic fabric of the local area and is a specific priority of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone.” Paul Davies, Assembly Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said: “I have campaigned for the dualling of the A40 from St Clears to Fishguard for years and welcome moves to explore its potential.

You can travel along continuous dual carriageway from eastern Europe to Ireland apart from this stretch through Pembrokeshire, which is a barrier to investment and makes it more difficult for West Wales firms to compete. Consideration of dualling and other potential upgrades to the A40 must be concluded as swiftly as possible so work can begin to protect jobs and attract new ones. At this difficult time for Murco workers and their families, we welcome support available for them and hope regeneration funding will be made available to support the jobs dependent on the oil refinery’s supply chain.”

William Graham AM, Shadow Minister for Business, said: “I welcome the Welsh and UK Governments working together to support Murco workers and their families at this worrying time. We welcome consideration of ways to support employment in the West Wales communities affected by the loss of Murco. Workers at Murco and in the supply chain are highly experienced and will need every possible help in identifying new sources of employment to enable them to use their skills to contribute to Welsh industry.” Marc Tierney, South Pembrokeshire Labour Assembly Candidate said: “The Welsh Government Economy Minister has shown her strong support for Murco workers and the local economy this week in the Senedd.

The new appointment of Mr Stan McIlvenny OBE (current Chief Executive and Company Secretary of Port of Waterford Company) as the Chair of Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone reemphasises the focus on securing economic prosperity for Haven communities and the wider west Wales area. The undertaking to look at improving the A40 is an important step forward and it is right that the Welsh Government looks more closely at this now. As part of that process engagement must take place with local communities and organisations representing business, tourism and other local interests.”

William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat Regional Assembly Member for Mid & West Wales has told The Herald that he welcomes the £3m fund. The announcement by Economy Minister, Edwina Hart, follows the loss of 340 jobs at the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven. William Powell has also welcomed the appointment of Stan McIllvenny OBE as Chair of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone, who has high level international experience in the ports sector. William Powell stated: “We need to do everything possible to develop the local economy to provide high quality jobs to replace those being lost at Murco. That is why I am pleased to hear the Economy Minister’s emphasis on improving transport links including the long overdue dualling of the A40 into the county.

I’ve also urged the Minister to explore innovative sources of funding for infrastructure investment, including the European Investment Bank. This could include both port development and the potential electrifi cation of rail services into West Wales.” He added: “It is also excellent news that the current Murco apprenticeships will be built into the training programme at Valero. This helps to lessen the danger of a skills drain out of the local economy, which we can ill afford, especially in the energy sector.

I commend Valero for their vision and commitment to both Pembrokeshire and the wider Welsh economy.” Joyce Watson AM said: “We should not lose sight of the fact that Pembrokeshire retains a strong energy sector. We have the LNG terminal, the Valero refi nery and Pembroke B – the largest gas-fi red power station in Europe. I would imagine the immediate priority for staff will be to discuss whether there are job opportunities at these alternative sites – because we don’t want to lose these skills in West Wales.” The collapse of the Murco deal will lead to the loss of hundreds of wellpaid local jobs. Mrs Watson stressed the importance of ‘open lines of communication’ with employees: “The last thing they need is to feel they’re being kept in the dark. I have also asked my offi cials to conduct further, urgent work, to explore additional ways to improve the A40, including the potential for duelling. This work will be complete within 6 months,” she said.

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike

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EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child

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ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/moleycole

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Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby

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TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been scrambled from MOD St Athen.

It is understood that a search for a missing person or persons is underway.

Paged this morning: Angle Lifeboat is currently involved in the search south of Tenby

The alarm was raised before 10am this morning (June 18).

Tenby’s Y-boat is also involved in the operation, The Herald understands.

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Rescue underway: Coastguard chopper position at 1030HRS on Friday, Jun 18 (Pic MarineTraffic)
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