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.”
Police appeal following assault in Llys Glan Y Mor
POLICE in Llanelli are investigating an assault which occurred in the vicinity of St Davids Close and Llys Glan Y Mor, Llanelli sometime between 9.00pm on Saturday 10th April and 1.30am on Sunday 11th April 2021.
A 45-year-old male was taken to hospital with facial injuries.
Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.
They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.
Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference DPP/0006/11/04/2021/01/C.
Police trace burglar who left trail of oil leading to his home
A MAN was charged with burglary after leaving a trail of oil from a stolen generator leading police from a victim’s home to his own.
Dyfed-Powys Police officers were able to quickly trace Dominic William Oliver after he went on an overnight burglary spree in Burry Port in March.
The force received reports of two garage burglaries and a theft from a car overnight on Monday, March 8, with a generator, fishing rods, and two bags containing passports among the stolen items.
The combined value of the items taken was estimated to be around £800.
Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “An officer attended the victims’ homes, and was made aware of a trail of oil, which was believed to have come from the stolen generator.
“She followed it along several streets – one of which was where Oliver had stolen two bags from a car – and discovered that it ended outside a property on Dandorlan Road.
“Oliver agreed to a voluntary search being carried out, and as officers entered the property they immediately noticed a rucksack with a distinctive pattern that had been described by one of the victims.”
The search was completed, with further items suspected to have been stolen recovered from the address, and the 31-year-old was arrested on suspicion of burglary within six hours of the incidents being reported.
While being conveyed to police custody, Oliver made a significant comment linking him to the theft of the generator.
He was charged with two counts of burglary and one theft, and appeared at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, April 30.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months, must complete a rehabilitation requirement, and must remain at his home address between 8pm and 6am for three months.
Sgt Davies said: “This was an excellent response, which resulted in the swift arrest and charge of Oliver, and the recovery and return of stolen property to the victims the same day the offences were reported to us.
“This has no doubt had a positive impact on the residents of Burry Port, who have commented positively on how the matter was investigated.
“Community engagement, patrols and a crime prevention leaflet drop was carried out following the investigation to offer reassurance and advice.”
Further coronavirus restriction relaxations brought forward
FURTHER changes to the coronavirus restrictions have been announced by the First Minister Mark Drakeford today.
The Welsh Government has confirmed further relaxations will be brought forward from 17 May to 3 May – including the resumption of indoor supervised activities for children, indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults, such as exercise classes, and the re-opening of community centres.
This means Wales will have completed the move to Alert Level 3 by Monday 3 May.
From Saturday 24 April, the rule of 6 will allow for up to six people from six households to meet outdoors, not including children under 11 years of age or carers from those households.
The Welsh Government has also confirmed the relaxations that will take place on Monday 26 April. Outdoor attractions, including outdoor swimming pools, funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen, while outdoor hospitality can also resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to take place and weddings receptions can begin again outdoors for up to 30 people.
Wales has the lowest coronavirus rates of the UK nations. The successful vaccine programme continues with a higher proportion of people vaccinated in Wales than other nations of the UK for both first and second doses.
Changes from Monday 3 May:
- Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities being able to reopen;
- People will also again be able to form extended households with one other household.
Relaxations planned for 17 May will be brought forward to the 3 May, including:
- The resumption of indoor supervised activities for children;
- Indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults (such as exercise classes and swimming lessons);
- And the re-opening of community centres.
The First Minister said:
“The sacrifices we have made continue to show results. By us all working together and sticking to the rules, combined with our vaccination programme, mean we continue to make progress. Rates of the virus continue to fall and the public health situation is improving.
“Due to these efforts we are able confirm more easing of the restrictions from 26 April and for early May we are again able to bring forward some of our plans. However, this progress is dependent on all of us continuing to work together to keep Wales safe.
“At the last three-week review, I set out a forward-look of how the restrictions could continue to be lifted in the weeks ahead, if the public health situation remains stable.
“It will be for the incoming Welsh Government to confirm these arrangements at the next three-week review, which will be held on May 13 – a week after the election. It is my assessment that the hospitality sector – bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes – will be able to open indoors from May 17, together with all other tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions.”
Further possible easements are subject to the public health situation remaining favourable.