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No blank cheques for Tata, Llanelli AM warns

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Tata: Am expresses disappointment

Tata: Am expresses disappointment

LLANELLI AM, Lee Waters, has welcomed the progress being made by the Welsh Government’s Tata Steel Task Force to support those affected by the steel crisis, but has urged Minister to be smart in the way they engage with the steel giant.

After receiving a briefing from the new Cabinet Secretary for Economy & Infrastructure, Ken Skates, following his first meeting of the Steel Task Force, the Llanelli AM said “It is clear that Tata is no longer losing money in the UK so the short-term threat to the steel works appears to have lifted.

But that’s in part because of the fall of the pound after the EU referendum and is no guarantee of future success. Major issues still need to be addressed by the company and the UK Government”.

The taskforce meeting, which was attended by the Unite and Community unions, Tata Steel, and the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, heard that the business performance of the steelworks continues to show a turnaround. However, Ken Skates emphasised after the meeting “Action on pensions and energy by the UK Government are central to helping move the steel industry in Wales onto a sustainable long term footing”.

In his briefing to the Llanelli AM the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Economy praised the efforts of the local workforce in helping to make the works viable, especially against the backdrop of an ongoing redundancy process that has been taking place since January and is now nearing completion.

“Support has been made available to Tata workers and to employees o f businesses in the supply chain. The Money Advice Service, UK Steel Enterprise, local voluntary organisations and HMRC have all helped, and there has been an on-site presence by Job Centre Plus and Careers Wales” Ken Skates said. In addition the Welsh Government’s Business Support arm, Business Wales, have been working with 24 companies in the supply chain across Wales to help them with challenges that have arisen through the steel crisis.

“The Taskforce seems to be working well, and the Unions have strongly praised the flexible and sensitive support that has been provided to date by all agencies” Lee Waters said.

“But what we need now is certainty from Tata that they are committed to staying engaged in the UK. After announcing the plants were for sale, only to abandon the sale process in favour a merger with its rival ThyssenKrupp, there is suspicion that they are game playing and may be secretly planning to close some of the plants in a few years after getting as many concessions as possible from the Government to boost their profit in the shortterm. I’m very disappointed that the Welsh-led management buy-out did not proceed and we now to be smart in how we deal with Tata. There must be no blank cheques and any financial aid must be tied to guarantees about the future of the plants, and the warning that they’ll be made fully liable for the costs of closure and all environmental cleanups if they decide to pull out after all” the Llanelli AM added.

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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