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146 jobs at risk in Llanelli town centre

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Office closing: 146 jobs are at risk (pic. Alan Evans / The Herald)

IT HAS been announced today (Jan 26) that the Department for Working Pensions office in Llanelli could close next year.

The closure would affect  146 employees at the office, however staff are being offered positions in Pembroke, Cardiff or Merthyr.

The office is classed as a ‘back of house’ service, with today’s announcement including plans to merge 78 small Jobcentre Plus offices in urban areas and closing 27 of the ‘back office’ buildings. It is hoped that more efficient and larger sites can be developed to replace them.

Nia Griffith MP said: “The proposed closure of the DWP offices is a real blow to the staff and their families and to the wider community in Llanelli.

“This Tory government’s plans for changes in the benefit system is already in complete disarray, and now is no time to be losing experienced staff.

“It’s no good pretending that staff can be redeployed – if they are being offered Cardiff or Pembroke – that is just not going to be a realistic proposition to many people who have family commitments.

“Town centre jobs are vital for Llanelli, and this will mean another hit to town centre businesses and the wider local economy.

“We need to fight this all the way and I will be pursuing UK government ministers as a matter of urgency.”

Lee Waters AM also commented on the news, saying: “This is awful news for the town and for all the people directly affected.

“The UK government has been talking this week about a new strategy to spread wealth across the UK and this type of action achieves the opposite.

“This will hit the local economy and impact on the way important public services are delivered.

“Nia Griffith and I will be seeking meetings to find out more and to see what help can be offered to all those who will lose out.”

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas has tabled an emergency question in the National Assembly about the closure.

Mr Thomas said: “I’ve asked the Welsh Minister to make a statement about the 146 job losses in Llanelli. These cruel Conservative cuts will have a negative impact on Llanelli. We should be trying to encourage more activity and footfall in the town centre as the Plaid led Carmarthenshire Council is doing, not take more people out of Llanelli town centre.”

Speaking to the Llanelli Herald following the announcement of the job losses, Steve Donoghue, PCS full time officer and Llanelli Rural Mayor said: “PCS is opposed to office closures unless they pose no issues for our members and no issues for our customers. Unfortunately many of these proposals will cause serious difficulties for many members and will impact seriously on customer service.

“In these cases we will oppose the closures and campaign to keep the sites open. PCS will provide full support to all branches and members in dealing with these announcements.

“We will, where necessary, work to maximise redeployment options for members and will oppose any moves to make staff redundant. The PCS will be considering all options in response to these announcements.

“These cuts are a further nail in the coffin of Llanelli. As well as the decline of industry, over the last decade we have seen hundreds of well paid jobs in the Civil Service being taken away from one of the poorest parts of Wales.

“The loss of the MoD Llangennech and the Tax office are just a two of these. We will mount a campaign to retain these DWP jobs, not only for our members but also for the vital services that the provide to the public.”

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  1. Avatar

    Wendy Dunne

    January 26, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    At the same time as feeling sorry for people who will find it harder to find jobs now due to the job loses,i cant say im sorry to see the place close,i tell you why, back in 2010 i was called to an employment interview at the jobcentre by the Cyrenians of Swansea,i was called into the glass room upstairs and there was a volunteer fron the Cyrenians there,he had no paper work of any kind and thats all was on the desk was a giant paper clip he told me that he was not allowed to use the computer,he sat down and i sat down,i told him about myself and that i wanted to try being a Kitchen assistant,he asked me would i be interested in working for a soup Kitchen and i replied yes i would try that to get experience temporarily.There was a wire running from the computer that ran down the back of the table and onto the floor leading to my chair,The man who was a childrens entertainer from Cockett Swansea got up off his chair and pressed a key on the keyboard of the computer and i felt an electrical charge go through my body and through my head which rendered me motionless,when i was in that state he said to me “Kill her”i didn’t know what he was talking about and was frightened and confused,he then got up again and pressed another key on the computer keyboard and the electrical charge stopped and i felt the electric leaving my head and body,i know it seems unbelievable but it’s true,he was there to emply me as an assassin,why i do not know,at the time i had had a lot of trouble with my sister in law Mary Nurse who was the most arrested woman in Wales at one time,she passed away in 2010 from alcoholism,i was so frightened,I went home not able to tell anyone not even my husband,a few weeks went by and i just had to find out what was going on so i wrote to the Cyrenians of Swansea and who did i get a relpy off but Theresa May Home secretary-i didnt know who that was at the time,the penny dropped later,not long after that i recorded what happenned to me in a short story called Mafia Town available on Amazon and Kindle,i changed the names for fear of being bumped off,i was in over my head.Since then iv’e been trying to find out the truth and just a few weeks ago i plucked up the courage to let our MP for Llanelli Nia Griffith know what had happenned to me,it is very serious what happenned to me not long after the meeting and just a few short weeks after being employed as a kitchen assistant by The Wallich homeless charity where Paul Sheridan of Sant Pauls Close was the owner-i helped start up a sandwich business from scratch under my manager Louise Byrd,i was taken from my home in the middle of the night and used as an assassin,i was brutely gang raped and forced to eliminate the men who had raped me,it was so horrific and traumatic i was in disbelief what was happenning to me,im a mother and grandmother and ive enevr done anything to deserve being treated like that,i was heavily drugged and woke up in my bed feeling like id been tampered with and my head was spinning around and i was dizzy and lightheaded,it was all done in a short period of time,iv’e been trying to be heard ever since, but even C.I.D officers who know what happenned to me wont come and approach me in the cold light of day and tell me what happenned.So no i wont be sorry to see the place close,maybe they will open up a new Employment office somewhere else,if C.I.D are reading this i ask you please can you come and tell me why this happenned to me. sincerely W.L.Dunne.

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Llanelli High Street shortlisted for prize

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LLANELLI HIGH STREET has been shortlisted in the Government’s Great British High Street Awards, in proud partnership with Visa, putting them in the running for up to £15,000.

After a rigorous selection process led by a panel of independent judges, the high street has been shortlisted for the Rising Star category, which celebrates high streets which are taking the lead to adapt and diversify.

The bid by Ymlaen Llanelli follows research commissioned by Visa in April 2019 demonstrating the positive impact that the local high street has on communities. The research found that nearly three quarters of consumers (71%) in Wales say that shopping locally makes them feel happy, with nearly half (45%) citing supporting local shops and knowing where their money is going as the main reason. Spending time with friends and family (25%) and offering a sense of community (18%) were other reasons cited for why high streets make people feel happier. The research also reveals that half of consumers (50%) feel that their high street gives them a sense of pride in their local community.

High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “Congratulations to Llanelli for being shortlisted for the Rising Star Award for this year’s Great British High Street Awards.

“Llanelli high street is a hive of activity, with food festivals, childrens’ days and community get-togethers all part of the local calendar. A great example of how high streets can bring a renewed energy to communities.

“People are happier when they can see their hard-earned cash support local businesses. That is why we are celebrating those that go above and beyond to keep their high streets thriving for generations to come.”

Sundeep Kaur, Head of UK & Ireland Merchant Services at Visa, added: “We’ve seen some fantastic entries for this year’s Great British High Street Awards across both the Champion High Street and Rising Star categories. In particular, the desire to innovate stands out amongst this year’s entries, with high streets adapting to the challenges presented by a rapidly changing retail environment to find ways to thrive at a local level.

“As our research shows, high streets play a vital role at the heart of communities, so this is a great opportunity for those communities with shortlisted high streets to show their support by placing their votes on the Great British High Street website.”

Llanelli High Street is one of the 28 high streets that have been shortlisted for the Rising Star category, identifying high streets which are taking the lead to adapt and diversify. 12 high streets have been shortlisted in the Champion High Street category, which recognises the UK’s best high streets. All 40 high streets are now in the running to win a prize of up to £15,000 to be dedicated to a local high street initiative.

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Head Teacher at Primary school in Llanelli suspended

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THE HEAD TEACHER of a Welsh primary school has been suspended, it has been confirmed.

Catherine Lloyd-Jenkins, who is head at Ysgol Gymraeg Ffwrnes in Llanelli, has been suspended from her duties at the school with immediate effect.

Governors at the school have been unavailable for comment, but Carmarthenshire Council confirmed the news this morning.

It is understood that the chair of the governing body is currently out of the country, and the council would not comment further on the circumstances surrounding the suspension.

The council’s director of education, Gareth Morgans, said: “School staffing is a matter for the Governing Body, however, we can confirm the headteacher of Ysgol Ffwrnes has been suspended.

“It is not appropriate to comment further.”

Mrs Lloyd-Jenkins has worked at Ysgol Gymraeg Ffwrnes for 23 years, taking up a post at the school in 1996.

She has been the headteacher there for almost 20 years, taking over the role in 2000. She has also worked as a peer inspector at Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales confirmed.

According to one local councillor, ‘serious concerns’ have been raised about the school in recent months.

“Local residents and parents have approached us raising serious concerns about the school in question,” said Carmarthenshire councillor Rob James.

“We are in dialogue with senior council officers to assert whether the allegations are credible and what action the council and governors have taken in response to these allegations.”

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Dyfed-Powys Police numbers at record low, say Labour

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POLICE officers based across the Dyfed-Powys area are now at their lowest levels in the last decade, with over 300 officers being lost across the region, claim Carmarthenshire Labour.

According to a freedom of information request by Carmarthenshire Labour, police officers based across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion are down 42% and are at record lows in both Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The figures published by Dyfed-Powys Police show that Carmarthenshire has lost 160 officers in the last ten years, Pembrokeshire is down 107 officers and Ceredigion has lost 56 bobbies on the beat.

These figures come off the back of a poor report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary that shows the force has gone backwards in the last year, with crime also on the increase.

HMIC’s recent PEEL (Police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) report noted concerns about Dyfed-Powys Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime and specifically warned of failures to assess all incidents of domestic abuse.

Carmarthenshire Labour Leader Cllr Rob James claims that the figures show that the current Police and Crime Commissioner is now performing worse than their predecessor.

Rob James stated: “These figures that show a dramatic decrease in police numbers are extremely worrying and reinforce what communities are saying across Dyfed Powys – there are simply not enough police officers in our areas.

“The fact that we now have lower police numbers in the three counties compared to the end of the last Police and Crime Commissioner’s term with crime now on the rise illustrates that the Plaid Cymru Commissioner is failing in his duty to protect our communities.

“We need urgent action to make our communities safe once more, as there is a clear link between the loss of youth provision and cuts to officer numbers, and the rise of crime in our communities.

“There is little evidence that our Commissioner has grasped the nettle over the last three years in tackling this important issue.”

These claims however, have been slapped down by Police and Crime Comissioner, Dafydd Llewellyn. He said that said that Cllr James had misunderstood or misrepresented the information provided to him.
The Carmarthen data have a significant rider attached to them.

The explanatory note reads: ‘It should be noted that the figures for Carmarthenshire police division between 2008 and 2018 are not comparable as the structure of Carmarthenshire division in 2018 has altered to that of 2008 which has impacted upon the figures provided’.

That explanation is expanded upon concerning the Ceredigion data. Regarding them, an explanatory note warns that: ‘[T]he structures between 2008 and 2019 are not comparable as some sections that were recorded divisionally now come under the HQ remit, e.g. the Road Policing Unit, CID, etc.’.

Dafydd Llewelyn pointed out that note in his response to The Herald: “As outlined in the response to the Freedom of Information request, structures between 2008 and 2019 are not comparable as some sections that were recorded as divisionally based are now recorded under the HQ remit, for example, Roads Policing Unit, CID.”

Dafydd Llewelyn continued: “Since taking up my role as the elected person to represent the many communities across the four counties served by the force, I have increased the overall resource available by 4%. I have ploughed funding into dedicated teams to support front line officers and have invested in resources to support the most vulnerable in our communities.

“I have commissioned services specific to their needs – be that as victims of domestic abuse or young people choosing to leave their homes for reasons unknown to authorities. I will continue to do this. I will not be held to account by numbers on paper alone, but by the difference I can make to individuals’ quality of life.

“I will also use the opportunity I have to campaign for services appropriate to the very specific needs an area the size of Dyfed-Powys Police has and will work with the force to adapt according to those needs.”

He concluded by pointing out: “Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys remain the safest counties nationally and I’m proud to be driving a service that is willing and able to flex and respond, despite the financial challenges faced day-in-day-out.”

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