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41% of Murco workers have found new jobs



saddazREBECCA EVANS AM, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, has welcomed the actions laid out in a letter to AMs by the Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport to help those affected by the collapse of the sale of the Murco refinery in Milford Haven – both directly and indirectly.
The letter from the Minister to all AMs outlines all that the Welsh Government’s Taskforce – put in place following the devastating news last year that the site would end its refinery work – has done and is doing to help the local economy and the employees recover. The Murco Taskforce meets regularly to help implement a delivery plan that has so far seen 41% of employees find alternative employment, with more than half of those in Pembrokeshire.
Welcoming the actions being taken Mrs Evans said: “The Welsh Government did all it could to try and help secure a sale, and has also been quick to act since the announcement that the sale had fallen through. I am pleased that the Minister quickly put into place a dedicated taskforce and delivery plan. The Minister has also recognised that the contractors, sub contractors and the further parts of the supply chain in need of attention. I also welcome the promise from the Minister that any future developments of the A40 will include contractual requirements to maximise spend in the local economy with the appointment of local businesses and individuals.”
The actions currently being taken by the task-force include:
• Delivery plan to secure alternative employment for displaced workers with help from industry employers, notably Valero
• Workshops and training sessions run by companies including Penna
• Business Wales Start Up & High Potential Starts Programme help and support to help people set up their own business
• Careers Wales action to support and help develop ReAct funded action plans
• The Wales Economic Growth Zone for Pembrokeshire with Welsh Government match funding which has attracted nearly £3.3 million of projects so far
• SME Capital Grant fund (closing at the end of the month) which has attracted 18 companies to apply
• A bespoke workforce development intervention will be launched at the end of February
The South Pembrokeshire Labour party have also released a statement regarding supporting those who have lost their jobs due to Murco’s closure:
According to new figures released by the Welsh Government, 41% of former workers at the Murco oil refinery have found work elsewhere, and more than half of these jobs are within Pembrokeshire. In an update on the Welsh Government’s efforts to mitigate the threat to the local economy posed by the closure of Murco, Economic Minister Edwina Hart said 324 of the original 532 Murco employees and contractors have now been made redundant, with a further 72 finishing this quarter. The sale of the Murco site is underway and is expected to be finalised in June.
One ex-employee who didn’t want to use his real name, but was known on site as ‘Honey Monster’  was devastated when he lost his job last November has told us things are looking up:  “I was gutted last November as I loved working there, but things change and I’ve got myself a new start with a local company, and I’m really happy.”
Mrs Hart praised the work of the Murco Taskforce to support those who had lost their jobs:  “I welcome the significant progress that has been made to secure alternative employment for displaced Murco workers. I also welcome the fact that through the commitment, focus and coordinated efforts of the Taskforce there is a clear route of actions to retain the high skilled Murcoworkforce within Wales.”
Delyth Evans, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for South Pembrokeshire, said it was very important for the Welsh Government to maintain its focus on supporting the local economy because of the massive impact of the Murco closure.  “Contractors and sub-contractors have been hit exceptionally hard as well as those directly employed by Murco. I am pleased the Minister and the Task Force are keeping up their efforts to provide assistance. The focus has to be on identifying opportunities for developing the regional economy in a way that is sustainable for the future, by supporting local
businesses, improving skills and training, and bringing in new investment.”
Stephen Crabb MP called for a new focus on tidal energy following closure of Murco when asked about supporting ex-Murco workers.
The MP emphasised the importance of a new strategy for the local economy following the closure of Murco. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment rose in Preseli Pembrokeshire last month, and the local MP has stated his commitment to addressing this important matter.
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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50



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



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



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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