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Badger and the big lie

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brynman and jaminHALLO readers. My word, UKIP supporters are a sensitive souls! Who would have thought a few inconvenient truths would have raised so many hackles. Badger particularly liked the correspondent who told me it was wrong to criticise UK IP’s policies because they had not yet produced their manifesto. How proud he must be to follow a party with no policies (apart from the obvious one). Badger is certain we can all rest assured that as soon as Brother Farage is able to type with more than one finger and work out how to stop spelling ‘banana’ w c will be faced with a literary tour-de-force to rival “Hurrah for Little Noddy”.

Back to matters Pembrokeshire, however, readers. Let’s put the Euro elections back in their empty ballot box. Over the last couple of weeks, while he has been slaving away over Latin epigrams, Badger has read the story of Beloved Bryn’s brush with luxury motoring with considerable bemusement. Not, however, amusement. He’s not even driving the Brynmobile. No readers: we are paying the lease and insurance on Beloved Bryn’s Porsche so Parry Jones junior can tootle to Valero every morning! That, readers that takes the biscuit! Badger has a question for you readers. One he has used before. One that he has been ticked off by his editor for using before. It is a short question. Badger is prepared to take the risk of having to stand in the naughty corner for a while to ask it. WTF?
Readers, even IPPG leader Jamie Adams must be aghast at the CEO’s complete lack of political nous. It appears as though, at least when it comes to insensitivity and arrogance, Jamie takes a distant second place to Bryn. When Jamie told the Full Council that he often popped along to the CEO’s office to engage in “challenging” discussions, when Jamie told the Full Council that he and Beloved Bryn didn’t always see eye-to-eye. did Jamie have in mind how the news that Bryn had availed himself of a Porsche Panamera Hybrid S with a list price of C85.000 would look and sound to a Pembrokeshire public told relentlessly that the Council can’t afford to maintain essential services?

Or was Jamie appeased by a trip around the car park in the Brynmobilc and playing Robin to the CEO’s Batman? Jamie is fond of harping on – like the good Toytown Tory Boy that he is – that all these spending cuts people complain about are the fault of the “Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff Bay”. Well, readers, there are two problems with Jamie saying that: Firstly: you can usually tell when Jamie is spouting (expletive deleted) codswallop. It happens when his lips move. Secondly: Cardiff Bay dots not raise its own taxes. it receives a block grant from the Coalition government in Westminster. With that block grant it has to allocate funding for services across Wales. The Welsh Government is funded nearly entirely by a block grant  The Dynamic Duo: Bryn and Jamie are “on a budget” provided by the UK Treasury.

The change in this block grant is calculated using the Barnett formula, based upon changes in the budgets of Whitehall departments that deliver services for which the Welsh Government are deemed to have responsibility in Wales. Large increases in spending on the NHS and education in England therefore fed through to substantial increases in the amount of grant paid to the Welsh Government in the first decade following devolution. But cuts to government spending as pan of the fiscal consolidation mean that the Welsh block grant has been cut substantially since 2010-11.

The total block grant allocated by the UK government to Wales in 2013-14 is set to be 9.4% lower in real terms than that in 2010-11 (after adjusting for the transfer of funding for council tax benefit to the Welsh Government). Further cuts have been announced for 2014-15 and 2015-16, which, if implemented, would take the cut to 12.2%. So, when Jamie says it is all Welsh Labour’s fault, he really is ejecting a particularly large quantity of a substance with which, as a farmer, he would be intimately familiar. Readers, if Jamie’s was the only whopping porker we had to contend with that would be enough.

But it isn’t. Badger is not talking about the way the Council claims to overpay its officers because to get the best it has to pay the best. Badger isn’t even talking about the nonsense Jamie told Tenby Town Council about the rationale underpinning his decision (made with others) to give Beloved Bryn a whacking big tax break on his pension and to make unlawful payments to the CEO, to boot. Badger wants you to consider the following: Beloved Bryn became CEO of Pembrokeshire County Council in 1996. He was appointed at the top of his then pay grade and received a salary of around f60,000 a year.

The Council’s 2012/13 Accounts show that the Chief Executive received £194.661 in respect of gross salary, fees and other emoluments plus benefits in kind of £11,665. Corresponding figures for 2011/12 were £208,170 and £10,017, plus in that year, employer’s pension contribution to the local government pension scheme of £30,000. Had the lowest paid worker’s wage risen at the same rate as Beloved Bryn’s over the same period, a manual working for the local authority would be on somewhere near £25,000 per year. Care workers would be on around £27,000 per year.

Badger can bet his boots that there are no lowest pay grade workers on that sort of screw. The big lie, readers, is that senior officers have to be paid the same sort of wage as notional equivalents in private industry. However, senior officers in local government have blue-chip, gold-plated pensions funded by tax payers. Senior officers in local government have the type of job security a manager in the private sector can only look at and envy.

The idea that there are companies battering down the council office doors to get at the senior staff and spirit them away to the private sector is a lie of such size and magnitude that it even dwarfs the lie by implication that Bryn would have run away from Pembrokeshire if he hadn’t been given unlawful payments by his employers. Readers, if a senior manager in the private sector had presided over the number of crises and cock-ups that Bryn Parry Jones has, do you think he would still be in a job? If your name is Jamie Adams or Suc Perkins and you answered “yes”. please lie down. The nurse will be with you shortly to show you to your room.

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Castell Howell Foods highlights sector concerns over Covid recovery

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THE HOSPITALITY sector may be opening up, but transport and supply issues are hampering the industry’s recovery – according to Castell Howell Foods.

One of the UK’s largest independent food wholesalers, Castell Howell, has taken the step of contacting customers to highlight the significant challenges faced by the sector as it recovers from the pandemic.

While there is relief at easing lockdown and optimism for a busy summer with bookings for UK ‘staycations’ and leisure activities, pressing issues remain.

Shortages of key staff and problems faced by some suppliers have resulted in the Welsh wholesaler being forced to make some “uncomfortable” decisions and changes to its operation, including having to pass on some supply chain price increases.

In particular, a shortage of qualified delivery drivers has meant the Cross Hands based business has had to be resourceful to maintain its delivery frequency to its customers. To help bridge the gap in the short term, other Castell Howell staff who hold an HGV licence have been temporarily redeployed to the transport department. Among them are area sales managers.

Castell Howell Sales Director, Kathryn Jones, said “Unfortunately, due to the drastic reduction in sales in 2020, our workforce decreased by over 100 colleagues. Whilst we now need most to return to the workplace, many have found alternative employment; this is a common theme across the supply chain.

“We have been actively advertising and recruiting for several months. However, as highlighted in the press, there are over 75,000 vacancies across the UK for HGV drivers alone.

“We too are currently short of drivers, especially Class 2 HGV. Driving a multi-drop vehicle for Castell Howell is a very different proposition to driving a limited drop schedule. Consequently, as you can imagine, it has been challenging to fill these vacancies.”
Stock availability is also an issue, as some suppliers struggle to manufacture under new social distancing rules. Delivery to Castell Howell from suppliers is also being affected by the UK-wide shortage of haulage drivers.

Kathryn Jones said, “To build up buffer stocks, we are increasing our volume of orders, especially for commodity lines. We aim to mitigate future stock shortages the best we can. We are constantly seeking substitute products from manufacturers who have the capacity to deliver. However, this is becoming increasingly more difficult.”

Castell Howell has made changes to its ordering process to improve its own deliveries, with earlier cut-off times.

“These changes go against the grain and were extremely difficult decisions to take. However, it is imperative to implement these in order to continue operating under these difficult circumstances whilst still maintaining a high level of service. We are very grateful to our customers for their support, patience and understanding.”

For Castell Howell, the difficulties arising from the pandemic were exacerbated by the loss of business with SA Brain & Co. This loss occurred following the Welsh company’s deal with brewery giant Marston’s to operate SA Brains pubs from January 2021.

Before that date, Castell Howell had been the sole supplier to SA Brain since 2008, including supplying 80 of the Welsh brewery’s managed public houses.

Kathryn Jones said, “However, despite the challenges in the supply chain and deliveries, we remain optimistic that the sector in the UK will work together to navigate through these unprecedented times and have a successful summer.”

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Port boss: Pembroke Dock development full permission an ‘important step’

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THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Port of Milford Haven has welcomed a decision of “non-intervention” by the Welsh Government over plans to re-vamp Pembroke Dock’s historic port facilities.

The redevelopment scheme, approved by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Planning Committee in May, will see some areas such as a dock covered with sand and “infilled”.

Plans also include the demolishing of some buildings, erection of buildings and ancillary works.
Despite planning being granted at council level, full authorisation to go ahead with the development was not to be issued until the Welsh Government made its decision regards the matter.

More about the planning application can be read here: https://www.herald.wales/west-wales/pembrokeshire/major-marine-project-causes-concern-about-visual-impact-and-heritage-loss/

Now that the Welsh Government has decided not to interfere with Pembrokeshire County Council’s grant of planning permission, the Port’s boss, Andy Jones, expressed his delight, saying: “This marks an important step forward in the development of Wales’ clean energy centre at Pembroke Dock.

“It will provide sustainable opportunities for the many people who rely on the activity along the Milford Haven Waterway for employment.

CEO: Port Authority’s Andy Jones (Pic MHPA)

“Pembroke Dock Marine will unlock new opportunities for young people to enter the maritime, renewable and engineering sectors, build resilience within Pembrokeshire’s business community, and make a positive contribution to our natural environment as we transition to a low carbon energy generation.”

Tim James, head of commercial and energy at the Port of Milford Haven called the project a “once in a generation opportunity to improve Pembrokeshire’s economy for years to come”.

Objectors had complained that the plans were too large and would damage the historic dockyard, as well as having a visual impact on the dock.

The was opposition from local heritage campaigners, with complaints over the size of two huge proposed hangars which the project’s critics said would impact adversely the landscape.

The economic benefits of the £60 million marine energy “far outweigh” any impact on the historic environment, a report earlier this year to council planners said.

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Medical evacuation from LPG tanker off St Ann’s Head

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ANGLE Lifeboat was launched on service at 12:59pm on Thursday afternoon (Jun 10) to assist in a medical evacuation from a LPG tanker 13 miles SSW off St Ann’s Head.

The coastguard helicopter from Newquay in Cornwall was also on route. With the poor visibility due to fog, Angle all-weather lifeboat was to stand by the vessel to provide an alternative route for evacuation if needed.

After a choppy route in the poor visibility the RNLI volunteers arrived on scene at 2:07pm.

At the time of their arrival, the paramedic from the coastguard helicopter was aboard the vessel preparing the casualty to be winched to the helicopter.

In less than ten minutes the casualty was winched up to the helicopter and flown to hospital, at which point the lifeboat and crews were stood down and headed back to the station.

After rehousing shortly after 3:30pm the lifeboat was washed fuelled and made ready for service shortly after.

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