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AM welcomes Schaeffler taskforce announcement

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LEE WATERS AM has welcomed the First Minister for Wales announcement that of a taskforce being set up to work with Schaeffler to find a future for the Llanelli plant.

The announcement comes after the local AM met with the Welsh Economy Secretary last week to urge him to intervene with Schaeffler to find a future for the old Ena Bearings factory and its workers. Since then Welsh Government officials have been working with the company to get an agreement on setting up a taskforce.

Carwyn Jones told the Senedd this afternoon that the company have now agreed to work with the Welsh Government on a taskforce to support the workforce and to explore finding a future for manufacturing on the site.

“What the support is aimed at doing is to help those who work there at the moment, and to see what beneficial uses for employment the site could be put to in the future” Carwyn Jones said in First Minister’s Questions.

“We have held discussions with Schaeffler and an offer of a two tier package to support the company has been accepted.”

The Government will hold a further meeting with the company in early December to explore all the possibilities for the future. Meanwhile, a package of support will be available to the workforce if they choose to look for new opportunities or are affected by redundancies.

Lee Waters AM said: “The management of Schaeffler has made it clear to me that the workforce in Llanelli is excellent and they have made the decision to close a result of other factors. With such long history in Llanelli, the company owes its workers more than simply abandoning the plant. So I’m pleased the company has agreed to work with Welsh Government to provide a future for manufacturing at the site and security for the workers affected by this announcement.

“Schaeffler’s management must now engage constructively in the consultation process as we all work together to secure future employment at the site.”

Nia Griffith MP said: “We are all extremely concerned about the planned closure of the Schaeffler plant in Llanelli and the 200 plus local jobs that could go with it.

“After meeting Unite rep Gareth Jones on Friday morning, I had a conference call with Schaeffler’s UK managing director Greig Littlefair and Richard Harrington MP, a business minister in the UK Government. We again made the case to keep the plant open and asked the Managing Director if there is anything UK government can do to make them reverse their decision. We also raised concerns about jobs in the supply chain.

“Whilst it does seem that Schaeffler have made up their minds, we will be exploring every avenue to see if anything can be done to keep the factory open and help the workers at the plant.”

Councillor Deryk Cundy added: “We are looking for a way forward during the consultation period. We have to prepare for a number of different scenarios and support from the First Minister and Lee Waters AM in the National Assembly for Wales is most welcome as we move through the negotiations and look to secure the well-being of the workforce at Schaeffler”.

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Gigabit broadband voucher scheme boost for Wales

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THE UK’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is to be given a boost in Wales thanks to a new partnership between the Welsh and UK Governments. Ministers from both Governments are now urging Welsh businesses and communities to apply for the funding to get gigabit speeds.

The announcement follows an agreement between the UK and Welsh Governments, and reflects the higher costs of deploying fibre infrastructure in Wales, as a result of the country’s topography and the location of premises.

The UK Government’s Gigabit broadband vouchers – worth up to £2500 – are currently available to small businesses and surrounding local communities to contribute to the installation costs of a gigabit-capable broadband connection.

Under the new arrangements, the Welsh Government will provide an additional £3,000 for businesses up to a certain size and an additional £300 per residential property. This means that for group* projects in Wales up to £5,500 is available per business, compared with £2,500 elsewhere in the UK. Up to £800 will now be available per residential property in Wales, compared with £500 elsewhere.

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “Although the vast majority of premises in Wales can now access superfast broadband, we are working hard on assisting the remaining five per cent that cannot access it and where commercial companies have no plans to reach. There is no one size fits all solution to reach the final premises, and the Gigabit Broadband Voucher scheme is an important part of a suite of measures to achieve this.

“This voucher scheme can provide a vital funding source for group connectivity projects, and could be of great benefit to communities currently without access.
I’m pleased we’ve been able to work with the UK Government to provide an enhanced scheme for Wales, taking into account the particular challenges we face here with geography and the location of premises.”

UK Minister for Digital Margot James said: “This exclusive scheme for Welsh businesses and communities is a vital part of our modern Industrial Strategy and build a Britain that is fit for the future. Working with the Welsh Government, together we can make sure that everyone in Wales has the connectivity they need for the digital age.”

The voucher scheme forms part of a package aimed at improving connectivity in Wales. The Welsh and UK Government funded £200 million Superfast Cymru programme has already taken superfast broadband speeds to more than 733,000 Welsh homes and businesses commercial companies had no plans to cover. The Welsh Government is also investing a further £22.5 million to reach an additional 26,000 premises and the UK Government is introducing a Universal Service Obligation** that will make fast broadband a legal right for every home and business in Wales by 2020.

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Rescuers attend to injured construction workers in New Dock Street

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A MULTI AGENCY rescue operation is underway in Llanelli involving all three emergency services after an incident at a construction site.

Workers have been at the New Dock Street site, working for around three years, The Herald understands.

The Herald has been told that a piece of plant malfunctioned causing the emergency, which happened earlier this evening (Mar 19).

Four fire engines and three ambulances are at the scene, our reporter said.

A specialist line rescue team is involved in the recovery operation.

An eye-witness told the press that three workers have been affected.

The source said: “Concrete had just been mixed and had been poured into a skip which was then lifted using a machine. The concrete was being lowered into the hole, it’s probably about 20ft and then the machine toppled over.”

He added: “Two men climbed out of the hole on their own and as a precaution the third man was told to stay down there. The workers were told to leave the site as a precaution.”

At least one person has been seen being taken away in an ambulance.

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Llanelli: Met Bar incident investigated

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AN INCIDENT which resulted in a 51-year old man having to go hospital is being investigated by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The man has been discharged from Glangwili Hospital but police are looking in to how the incident happened and how the man fell down some steps.

The incident happened outside the Met Bar in Llanelli on Saturday night (Mar 16).

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Herald: “At approximately 10.55pm on Saturday March 16, officers responded to reports of an injured man outside The Met Bar, Station Road, Llanelli, after he’d fallen down some steps at the location.

“Ambulance was at scene, and the 51 year old man was conveyed to Glangwili Hospital with what was thought to have been a serious head injury. He was then later discharged from hospital, and the head injury was no longer believed to be serious.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police by calling 101 and quoting DPP/3011/16/03/2019/02/C. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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