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First Minister recalls Assembly to discuss Tata crisis

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The No. 5 blast furnace at Corus' Port Talbot Works, South Wales. The furnace was rebuilt in eight months in 2002 at a cost of £75m. It produces around 1.5 million tonnes of liquid iron a year and is designed to operate continuously for a minimum of 15 years. Credit:NewsCast www.newscast.co.uk +44 (0) 20 7608 1000

The No. 5 blast furnace at Corus’ Port Talbot Works, South Wales. The furnace was rebuilt in eight months in 2002 at a cost of £75m. It produces around 1.5 million tonnes of liquid iron a year and is designed to
operate continuously for a minimum of 15 years.
Credit:NewsCast
www.newscast.co.uk
+44 (0) 20 7608 1000

THE FIRST MINISTER, Carywn Jones, has formally requested a recall of the National Assembly to consider the implication of the decision made by Tata Steel to sell of their UK operations.

The formal request made to Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, follows calls from the leaders of other political parties in Wales for action to be taken by the Welsh Government.
Mr Jones plans to make an oral statement to the Assembly on Monday (April 4).
Nationally, David Cameron has not as yet any plans to recall Parliament in London.

Speaking on Sky News yesterday (Mar 30) Jeremy Corbyn MP: “There has to be intervention by Government. The function of being Prime Minister is to intervene to protect jobs and communities. I am advocating state intervention which will protect the industry at the present time.”
“There is some debate about the level of loss. Clearly any plan has to involve investment the production of new products where appropriate. It has to be along term viable plan. The alternative of letting the whole thing go to the wall, that is equally unacceptable.
“The Prime Minister is not prepared to recall parliament. It is a bit strange what the Government is doing. I Suggest that they listen very carefully. Are we to end up with no steel industry in Britain?
“The crisis has been left too long, and it is real and it is today Something has to be done very quickly. At the very least the PM needs to agree with me that Parliament needs to be recalled. We need to find a way forward on this. Does this Government really want it around its memory that it allowed the steel industry to be destroyed in Britain.
“Workers here are very keen on working. They are keen on the product they produce and everything they have done for steel making in this country. They believe, and I believe that there is a future.
“Either a state guarantee or a state purchase or management of it. There is something that can be done. There needs to be a declaration by the Government that they will act. Intervention has happened before and it can happened again. In 1971 a Tory Government intervened in Rolls Royce to save a vital engine production industry. So it has been done before and it can be done again.”
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Lifeline for cockle-gathers could be on the way after Llangennech rail crash

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Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones has raised the impact on cockle-gathers of the Llangennech derailment last year.

She received an assurance from the First Minister that the Welsh Government was looking at way to help the cockle industry.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister, Helen Mary Jones MS said:

“In the Senedd I congratulated the public services for the way they co-operated around the clean-up after the Llangennech derailment, which, so far, has been very successful. I demanded a life-line scheme to help the cockle gathers.

“I raised with the First Minister issues for two groups of businesses particularly badly affected in the short-term by the derailment. 

“One of those was the very important cockle-gathering industry, the other, of course, were farmers who graze animals on those low-lying banks by the river. 

“There has been a request for the Welsh Government to consider whether some interim financial support might be made available to the cockle gatherers and the grazers while responsibility for the derailment and long-term compensation becomes a possibility. Many of these are small businesses; they operate on quite low margins and currently in difficult circumstances.

“The First Minister emphasised he was aware of the impact on cockle gatherers and particularly that they were unable to carry out their normal activities while the level of environmental contaminants in the estuary were being surveyed.

“Plaid Cymru believes it must be the polluter in the end that must pay for the damage that has been caused, but the rail accident investigation branch work is not coming to a conclusion quickly.

“The Welsh Government is expecting to receive advice in the next few days whether or not it is possible to devise a scheme through the Welsh Government in which some interim assistance to those industries could be supplied.

“The Welsh Government is keen to obtain that advice from officials in case it is possible, before the rail accident investigation is completed, so they can offer some assistance to those who have been most directly affected.”

The environmental impact of the Llangennech derailment last year was amongst the most significant in Wales since the Sea Empress disaster of 25 years ago. 

Monitoring of the site and surrounding area, which includes four sites of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation will continue for many years to come.

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UK Budget must take crucial steps to help recovery

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LLANELLI Labour representatives are urging the UK Government to take the necessary steps to begin recovery and secure prosperity across all parts of the UK.

Llanelli’s MP Nia Griffith and MS Lee Waters set out Wales’ priorities ahead of the UK Budget on Wednesday March 3 2021.

They are urging the UK Government to make a series of commitments to Wales, including:

• sustaining UK-wide business support
• delivering welfare and taxation measures to support the most vulnerable
• redressing the historical under investment in Wales on research and development and rail infrastructure
• providing an injection of funding to support the transition to Net Zero carbon emissions
• providing guarantees for Wales’ specific funding pressures

Speaking ahead of the UK Budget announcement, Nia Griffith MP reiterated her calls for continued business support for those on the lowest of incomes. She said:  

“It is vital that the Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme are retained – not threatened with being removed at the eleventh hour and putting livelihoods at risk. A delay to repayments should also be introduced for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with recognition given to the self-employed who are facing deferred bills.”

“It is also vital that the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit is maintained and put on a permanent basis, making it available to people in receipt of legacy means-tested benefits. More than 300,000 families in Wales have benefitted from an extra £1,000 a year as a result of the uplift and removing this now would have a detrimental and long-lasting effect on thousands of households across Wales.”

Lee Waters MS said:

“The UK Government should continue to take advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in Wales’ infrastructure and public services. Particularly on rail, where we have been underfunded to the tune of billions since the start of devolution, this is the moment where Rishi Sunak can demonstrate his commitment to ‘levelling up’ all four nations of the UK.”

“This budget is a chance to hardwire a greener, fairer way of doing things into our recovery from Coronavirus. We are ambitious about our target of being Net Zero carbon by 2050, and averting the climate crisis which is increasingly affecting Wales through flooding. But to make that transition, we need a step change from the UK Government’s budget that allows us to invest in renewable energy and green jobs.”

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Search for Susan Smith continues

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THE search for missing Susan Smith is now in it’s third day. She was last seen on Saturday (Feb 27), walking in the Kidwelly area.

Speaking to The Herald, a police spokesperson said: “We are continuing to search for Susan Smith who has been reported missing.”

“The search is continuing today with specialist police officers making house to house enquiries in the Kidwelly, St Ishamels, Ferryside and surrounding areas.

Sergeant Fiona Phillips said: “It is important that we build a picture of Susan’s movements after she was last seen on Saturday and I would appeal to anyone who believes they may have seen her to contact police.”

Susan was last seen 1.30pm Saturday, February 27 2021, walking in the Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village, Kidwelly area. She is known to walk along the beach to St Ishmaels and Ferryside.

She is described as approximately 5ft2 inches tall, petite with shoulder length blonde hair and believed to be wearing black jeans, a black fleece type jacket and navy and grey walking boots.

Any who has seen Susan or anyone who may have information that could help the search is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police, quoting reference 285 of Saturday 27th February.

Police can be contacted either online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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