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Owen Smith MP: We must try and maintain high quality jobs

Owen Smith MP: We must try and maintain high quality jobs

AFTER the shock news of the collapse of the Murco takeover deal, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales joined local councillor Paul Miller to meet with Herald Deputy Editor Jon Coles and discuss the buyout’s traumatic failure. With rumour and counter-rumour swirling about the cause for the Klesch Group’s abortive acquisition of the refinery, we asked Owen Smith about what had gone wrong. He told us: “My understanding is that this is a problem that has occurred on behalf of the buyer in this group, Klesch Group. The buyer couldn’t come through with a deal now.

That’s what the unions at the plant told us; that’s what the management at the plant we met today told us at the plant. I will take their word that is the case.” Rejecting ideas that either the UK or Welsh Governments were at fault, Owen Smith pointed out the generous funding arrangements that both governments had made and told us: “Governments at both ends of the M4 have been doing all they could to make sure that the funding that they were going to provide was in place We will want to get to the bottom of what went wrong and I am going to be writing to David Cameron and to Stephen Crabb as to why Klesch didn’t come through.”

Acknowledging the shattering effect on the economy, Owen Smith said: “The deal’s failure is a devastating blow for this community. These are high quality jobs, well-paying jobs and they will not be replaced easily. There are wider implications for the entire Pembrokeshire economy and the West Wales economy.” Owen Smith was hopeful that all parties would strive to put steps in place to soften the impact of the blow: “The Welsh Government – Carwyn Jones, Edwina Hart and others – will absolutely put their shoulder into the wheel.

They will be under no illusions as to how important this closure would be. They know precisely the nature of the economy in Pembrokeshire and I they can be relied on to do or within their power to make sure whatever happens. “We must try and maintain high quality jobs in this area. Westminster has to play its part. The Westminster parliament is a government for Pembrokeshire as well in London, and we need to make sure that they understand their role. A very large amount of money was supposed to come from the government in Westminster to support the takeover bid. We now to make sure that the UK Government plays a full part not only in supporting those workers who may lose their jobs, but also trying to replace those jobs.

Warming to his theme, he continued: “We need to make sure that we pull out all the stops on this because, I say again: these jobs are so important for this community; established jobs; high skilled jobs; high paid jobs. Whether the government is Labour or Tory, we’ve got to do all we can to try and make sure that the bits of Britain at the fringes, a long way from London and the south-east, don’t have to see our children, our sons and daughters leave to find good work when it could be right here, on our doorsteps.” On the broader elements of how to sustain jobs in primary industries, Owen Smith was clear as to where he saw Labour’s priorities lying: “There are key things that governments need to do in order to support industry especially in more peripheral parts of Britain.

“The next Labour government, in my view, will have to have a really solid infrastructure plan, but more importantly a very strong industrial strategy. I think you could argue that successive governments have not had a powerful enough industrial strategy, especially for key industries like refining, steel and chemicals. We need to get back to that. We need to get back to supporting manufacturing jobs – jobs in high skilled, perhaps old, but still vital industries. Those are the jobs that we have got in communities like Milford Haven.

They’re some of the jobs we’ve got in steel producing areas of Britain and they are still going to be hugely important part of our industrial mix for the next twenty years, more hopefully. “We need to be looking into the jobs for the future but we also need to remember what we have got now and what governments can do right now to make sure that we maintain and sustain those industries and those jobs.” Paul Miller put a personal perspective on the collapse of the refinery deal: “My family’s been supported by that particular site for the last few decades. My brother still works there; so I know just how important that site is and just how difficult a period it is for the families working there.

“I want to make absolutely sure that everyone on the Labour front bench being in Cardiff or Westminster are under no illusions of how important this site is, how important those jobs are and how difficult a period this is going to be for the Pembrokeshire economy. No stone must be left unturned in finding the solution for this particular problem. “I’m delighted that Owen accepted the invitation to come to see what was happening on the ground. We needed to hear from management and from staff about what’s going on and if there’s anything at all we can do to help them.”

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Proposed locations for new hospital site to be reviewed



HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD (UHB) will this week undertake a review of potential sites as part of the ongoing process to identify a suitable location for a new hospital.

Eleven sites will be assessed on Friday 22 October, including those identified by members of the public during the six-week engagement exercise, which took place earlier this year.

This stage of the process is intended to lead to the creation of a shortlist of sites. This will be subject to further detailed appraisal with significant public and wider stakeholder involvement. The final decision about the chosen site will be made by the health board, in agreement with Welsh Government.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “The building of a new hospital is a major long-term project, which is why we place great emphasis on being open and transparent about the process involved.

“The process we are following includes developing a programme business case to support our strategy for community and hospital-based health and care. As part of the process to apply for funding from the Welsh Government, we will submit the programme business case, and then individual outline business cases, then the final business cases for the new infrastructure we will need. The health board will therefore engage with the public on a regular basis between now and the submission of the final business cases to ensure your views are fully considered.

“I understand and recognise there are passionate feelings about a new hospital, but we strongly believe a new facility is essential for urgent and planned care in the south of the Hywel Dda area. It will provide trauma care and be the main emergency department for the south of our area.

“I can also reassure the public that we have no plans or intention to close either Glangwili or Withybush hospitals. We will engage further on how these hospitals could work alongside the proposed new hospital.”

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Unprecedented demand on health and social care services in local area



Joint statement by Hywel Dda University Health Board, the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Pembrokeshire County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council and Ceredigion County Council

The urgent statement we have asked to publish is as follows:

THERE is currently an unprecedented demand on health and social care services across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, which is leading to significant delays in care provision. Put simply, the difficulty in discharging medically-fit patients from hospital – many of whom have complex personal circumstances and needs – is leading to significant bed shortages, and consequently, lengthy ambulance waits at the ‘front door’ of A&E departments, which mean that paramedics are unable to respond to other 999 calls in the community.Social care and Health teams are doing everything possible to support people who are well enough to leave hospital but need ongoing care. Priority is being given to the most vulnerable, and alternative health and care packages are being offered as a short-term measure. More carers and health staff are also being recruited to support people in need.

If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is well enough to go home, but is waiting to be discharged with homecare and community health support, you may be able to help them to get home more quickly if you and your family are in a position to support them at home. If your relative is waiting for a formal package of care, you may be able to offer support and care on a short term, temporary arrangement or you might want to consider whether your loved one could be supported in a temporary residential or nursing care setting. If you feel that this is an option that you could consider, please speak to the ward manager or your social worker to explore further.

Spending as little time in hospital is better for patients and means that NHS beds can be freed up for others with urgent care needs. Supporting older patients to get home from hospital efficiently is an important part of their recovery and it also protects them from negative consequences of hospital admission, such as hospital acquired infection, falls and a loss of independence.  You can find out more about the hospital discharge process and guidance here: Inpatient information – Hywel Dda University Health Board (

Your support not only helps your loved one, but it is a huge support to the NHS and social care services as well.

Thank you.

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Child taken to hospital following collision with car outside school



AN EARLY morning collision outside Ysgol Harri Tudor school, Pembroke, has seen a child taken to hospital.

The collision happened between a child and a car on Pembroke Road, Pembroke, at approximately 9am this morning.

A secondary school pupil has been taken to hospital via ambulance for what is said to be minor injuries.

Police and ambulance service were on the scene and were helped by school staff to manage the incident.

A police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a road traffic collision involving a car and a secondary school pupil this morning, 21st October 2021. The collision occurred on Pembroke Road, Pembroke at approximately 9:00am.

“The Ambulance Service also attended and escorted the teenage boy to hospital with what are believed to be minor injuries.”

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there has been an incident outside Ysgol Harri Tudur in Pembroke this morning where a pupil came into contact with a car. 

“The police and ambulance have been on the scene and were assisted by school staff. We are not able to release any further details at present.”

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