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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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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital

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WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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M4 closed westbound following lorry fire near Swansea

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A SECTION of the M4 near Swansea was shut on Monday (Aug 8) due to a vehicle fire.

The westbound section of the motorway, between junction 47 at Penllergaer and junction 48 at Hendy closed.

Emergency services were called to the scene, and there was queuing traffic in the area.

Traffic monitoring service Inrix reported: “M4 Westbound closed, queueing traffic due to vehicle fire between J47 A48 (Penllergaer / Swansea West Services) and J48 A4138 Pontardulais Road”

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Police appeal after Llanelli assault: victim required hospital treatment

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DYFED POWYS POLICE is investigating an assault which occurred on Regalia Terrace, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire at about 12.05am, Sunday 3rd July.

The victim required hospital treatment.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the person in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the person is, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DP-20220703-011

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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