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UPDATED: New deadline in Murco negotiations



Uncertainty over deal: Murco, Milford Haven (IMAGE: MIKE HILLEN/HERALD)

Uncertainty over deal: Murco, Milford Haven (IMAGE: MIKE HILLEN/HERALD)


THE DEAL to save Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven from closure was not finalised by an agreed deadline of midnight on Friday (Oct 31), and a new time limit has been set for the sale of the plant to the Klesch Group.

The Pembrokeshire Herald understands, from sources close to the negotiations, that buyer Gary Klesch is still interested in proceeding, but the challenges of getting all the funding in place by the original deadline proved insurmountable.

A presentation which was due to take place on Monday (Nov 3) at the refinery, where workers would have met Mr Klesch as proud new owner of the plant has been put on hold, sparking worry amongst workers and their families.

However, the best information that this newspaper has this evening (Nov 3) is that the deal – which involves a £100m loan guarantee from the Treasury and a £10m grant from the Welsh Government – has been delayed rather than cancelled. The new deadline for the plant to be sold is now Thursday (Nov 6).

Negotiations were going on at the highest levels of government over the weekend, and into Monday, the Herald has been told

Stephen Crabb MP who is central in the negotiations was in contact with The Herald on Saturday, and although was unable to comment did say that he felt that the lack of a break-though in the negotiations was “deeply frustrating”.

“This must be an awful time for the workers and their families”, said Mr Crabb.

He added: “Everyone is trying to keep the deal alive and talks continue.”

The refinery, which can process 135,000 barrels of oil per day opened in 1973 and its owner, Murphy Oil Corporation, had struggled to find a buyer since it was put on the market nearly four years ago.


Sources: Negotiations at the 'highest levels of government' this weekend (IMAGE: MIKE HILLEN/HERALD)

Sources: Negotiations at the ‘highest levels of government’ this weekend (IMAGE: MIKE HILLEN/HERALD)

Tycoon Klesch, whose £4bn Klesch Group spans chemicals, metals, oils and trading, has also agreed last week to buy half Tata’s European steel business. The loss-making Long Products Division makes about 3m tons a year for buildings and railways

The deal sparked fears of heavy job cuts among its 6,500 workers, with almost 4,000 based at the 150-year-old Scunthorpe steelworks. Tata picked up the site when it bought Anglo-Dutch steel-maker Corus in 2007 for $13bn but has racked up heavy losses as sales slumped and cheaper Asian products flooded Europe.

Klesch insisted the sale does not include a dowry from Tata to cover redundancies, pensions, investment or future losses, but refused to give details of the terms.

Sources said the sale hinges on a deal with Tata — owner of Jaguar Land Rover — not to close Scunthorpe for up to four years. Klesch Group said: “The assertion that Tata Steel is transferring any monies in relation to this transaction is complete rubbish.”

The billionaire, who reportedly has yet to visit Scunthorpe, said he has given no guarantees on keeping sites open and has not spoken to the government.

Speaking to a reporter from The Times he said: “It’s not on the table. I’ve not been asked about it, but it’s not been something we’ve discussed. Until we go on site and determine what the right size of this workforce is, there’s not much we can do.”

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Inquest opened into tragic death of Ianto Jenkins, 3, at family’s farm



THE CORONER has opened and adjourned the inquest into the tragic death of a three-year-old boy who died after being hit a vehicle at the family farm.

The inquest, in Llanelli, was adjourned with a date to be fixed in four months.

Ianto Cerwyn Sior Jenkins was sadly pronounced dead at Rhosfach Farm near Efailwen, which is north of Clunderwen, at about 19:40 HRS on August 3.

He had been playing with his sister and cousin at the time.

It was explained Ianto was struck by a pick-up truck and trailer while playing on his bicycle.

Coroner’s officer Hayley Rogers said the emergency services were called to the farm at 19:00, after reports that a child had been in a crash with a piece of farm machinery but he died at the scene.

Coroner Paul Bennett extended his “belated personal condolences” to the family and told them the coroner’s service would conduct its enquiries with the “appropriate diligence and propriety”.

Ianto’s mother, Chloe Picton, previously paid tribute to her “blue-eyed boy… who was always smiling and laughing. He loved being out on the farm and going on the tractor with his daddy. Ianto and I had a very strong bond, he was ‘mummy’s little boy’ and was always by my side everywhere we went, now that’s been taken from me.”

Inquiries by the Health and Safety Executive and police are still ongoing.

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A40 accident leads to three people being airlifted to hospital



POLICE are appealing for witnesses following a serious accident on the A40 on Friday (Sept 25) near the turning for Trecwn. The accident happened just before midnight .

Three people were airlifted to hospital with suspected life-threatening injuries, and a further four people were injured.

Dyfed-Powys police told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We are appealing for witnesses following a serious collision on the A40.

“Three people were airlifted to hospital with suspected life-threatening injuries, and a further four people were injured.

“Ambulance and fire service also attended, with Coastguard helicopter assisting.

“The road was closed overnight as investigations took place.

“If you saw what happened, or noticed a white Skoda or red Chrysler travelling along that stretch of road in the time before the collision, please contact police by calling 101, or share what you know anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A spokesperson for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue told The Herald: “We can confirm that two fire engines were on the scene with the first call received at 11:55pm.

“We had two engines there with crews from Fishguard and Haverfordwest at the scene. There were numerous casualties with two vehicles involved. Casualties with numerous injuries were transported to hospital by ambulance crews on the scene.

“One person was trapped and there were two walking wounded.”

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Pembrokeshire pensioners set to be hit by removal of triple lock pension



THE WELSH LIBERAL DEMOCRATS have published figures showing that Pembrokeshire is set to be hit hard by the Government’s decision to break its manifesto promise and suspend the triple lock on pensions after Conservative MPs voted to approve the change.

Figures released by the Party show Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire is set to be the 9th hardest-hit area in Wales with 18,753 people or 23.9 percent of the constituency consisting of state pensioners. 

Meanwhile Preseli Pembrokeshire will see 18,244 people or 22.9 percent of the constituency hit, ranking 12th hardest hit in Wales. Both of Pembrokeshire’s Conservative MPs, Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb voted in favour of ending the triple lock.

The figures are based on analysis by the House of Commons Library commissioned by the Liberal Democrats. The Liberal Democrats had tabled an amendment to the Social Security Bill that called for additional support to address the impact of the pandemic on the two million pensioners currently living in poverty and making the uplift to Universal Credit permanent. However, the Conservatives, including Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb, voted against the amendment.

Commenting, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales MS, Jane Dodds stated: “The Conservatives have broken yet another manifesto promise that will hit people in the pocket.

“With so many pensioners living in poverty, the triple lock was a guarantee that vulnerable elderly people were relying on. Yet this winter the Government will instead turn its back on the poorest pensioners, some of whom risk no longer being able to heat their homes as energy costs spiral.

“The Conservatives claim that suspending the triple lock is just a temporary move, but how can pensioners have any faith that this is the one promise ministers will keep?

“I and the Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to demand that the Government doesn’t leave pensioners living in poverty high and dry and that we don’t return to the days of the derisory 75p rise to the state pension.”

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