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Remploy group celebrates 70th anniversary

Disability employment group Remploy is today celebrating 70 years since its formation.

It is also the day the group leaves the public sector in a joint venture partnership between US company Maximus and Remploy employees.

Remploy is marking its 70th anniversary on the same day it leaves government ownership. Credit: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

Remploy was set up after the Second World War to provide training and employment for injured service personnel and disabled miners.

At its peak, the company's network of factories employed 10,000 disabled people - though in recent years its focus has shifted to supporting people into mainstream employment.

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£3m for 'tatty' car park with world class views

Rhossili Bay Credit: ITV Wales

The National Trust has spent £3million on a so-called 'tatty' car park overlooking Rhossili Bay.

Bought from private landowners, the National Trust Manager Paul Boland, defended the cost saying: "We want to ensure that we provide Gower with a first-class car park for a first-class destination."

The destination is popular with tourists Credit: ITV Wales
New facilities may be opened too Credit: ITV Wales

Rhossili Bay is a popular destination for tourists. In the past it's been voted the UK's number one beach, third best in Europe and 9th best in the world, by Travel Review website, TripAdvisor.

The National Trust are now considering whether to add extra facilities to the car park, providing they're "harmonious with the outstanding beauty of this unique part of the world."

Bottled water company to double workforce

The family business started in 1991 Credit: Princes Gate

Princes Gate Spring Water has announced plans to invest £5.5 million in a major expansion project, which aims to double staff numbers and more than triple production volumes.

As part of the project, the Narberth-based business is investing in a new bottling line, which is capable of producing 37,000 bottles an hour - increasing their annual production to a potential 370 million.

The expansion is being supported by £250,000 business finance from the Welsh Government.

Over the next three years the company is expected to create 25 new jobs, bringing the total number of people working on site to over 50.

This investment will create a range of news jobs in rural Wales and help Princes Gate Spring Water - one of our iconic Welsh brands - reach new markets both in the UK and overseas and increase turnover.

– Edwina Hart, Economy Minister

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Unions condemn decision to renew rail franchise

Transport unions have questioned the decision to allow FirstGroup to continue to run the First Great Western line - which runs from London Paddington to Swansea - accusing the Government of making "behind-closed-doors deals"

Hitachi's express trains will come into use on the line in 2017. Credit: ITV News

The train company will continue to run the line until April 2019 promising, along with the Government, new trains, more seats and faster journeys.

They claim a major timetable change in December 2018 will mean journey times between Cardiff and London will drop to 1 hour 45 minutes, compared to the current typical journey time of 2 hours and 7 minutes. They also claim journey times between London and Swansea will be cut by up to 20 minutes.

First Great Western will be also responsible for bringing in new inter-city express trains built by Japanese company Hitachi.

As previously announced they will come into service from summer 2017 on trains running between London, the Cotswolds, Bristol and South Wales.

But the Campaign for Better Transport questioned whether the franchise award - a direct award without a competition being held - was an example of "rewarding failure".

"Passengers will welcome the news that new trains are on the way to help reduce overcrowding. However, the rolling stock won't be arriving anytime soon, and questions remain about whether the franchising system is rewarding failure...FGW must use this investment to respond to passenger criticisms and improve services. In the future, the Department for Transport needs to give passengers a much clearer voice in discussions over franchise extensions."

– Martin Abrams, Campaign for Better Transport

"The so called market-driven rail franchise system has been reduced to a farce...Obviously, we welcome the fact that 7 billion is being spent on modernising the lines to Wales and the West Country but it is surely worth noting that it is our money that is being spent. The taxpayers are footing the bill."

– Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union

Welsh Government 'committed to supporting young people into work'

The Welsh Government say it remains committed to supporting young people into work.

It comes after criticism from the National Assembly Enterprise and Business Committee who say not enough is being done to help young people find work.

Youth unemployment in Wales is falling faster than in other parts of the UK. We welcome this report and its recognition that we have prioritised jobs for young people, and that our schemes and programmes have led to improvements.

We remain committed to supporting young people into work and the continued success of programmes such as Jobs Growth Wales and Welsh Government funded apprenticeships are testament to this. However we acknowledge that there are still opportunities for improvement.

We will consider the report in detail and provide a full response to the committee by Thursday 30th April.

– Welsh Government spokesperson
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