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"Every route explored" to save refinery, AMs told

Economy minister Edwina Hart has told AMs that every route was explored to save the Merco refinery in Milford Haven, where a sale expected to save the 400 hundred jobs there has now fallen through.

Right up to the line we were trying to explore if there was any more we could do. I haven't given up hope about potential buyers, I have asked my officials to pursue that vigourously. I won't give any false hopes but I know that I have the support of the UK government as well.

This is a sad day for Pembrokeshire and for the Welsh economy.

– Economy Minister Edwina Hart AM

The minister added that she was really worried about the effect on businesses in the refinery's supply chain. She promised additional support with a physical presence in Milford Haven by Welsh Government officials offering help.

Collapse of oil refinery deal “devastating news”

A deal aimed at securing the future of an oil refinery has collapsed, threatening hundreds of job losses. Welsh and UK Government ministers expressed their disappointment that an agreement to safeguard the future of the Murco refinery at Milford Haven in West Wales could not be achieved.

Around 400 jobs are now at risk in Milford Haven. Credit: ITV News

Pembrokeshire County Council says it is liaising with other agencies, such as Job Centre Plus and Pembrokeshire College in order to offer as much assistance as possible to the refinery employees and the supply chain companies.

Council Leader, Council Jamie Adams, said the announcement by Murphy Oil was “devastating news” for the workforce and their families, especially as the sale of the refinery seemed to have been agreed earlier this summer.

“We will be doing everything we can to soften the blow for the individuals affected,” he said.

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Snack company set to create jobs in Deeside

More than 100 jobs are being created in Deeside as a Japanese company makes its first investment in Europe.

Calbee Inc - Japan's largest savoury snack manufacturer - is set to open a new facility on Deeside Enterprise Zone with the backing of Welsh Government. The site will make savoury snacks for UK and European markets. The deal comes following a trade mission to Japan last year.

We have a very successful food manufacturing sector in wales and this investment will support our strategy to grow and expand the industry, creating more jobs and prosperity and I wish Calbee every success in the future.

– Edwina Hart AM, Economy Minister

The site will incorporate manufacturing, distribution and some research and development activities. It's set to create around 100 jobs over the next five years. Production is expected to start early next year.

Plans show how Cardiff city centre will look in future

There will be a new direct pedestrian route from the Square to the Millennium Stadium which will be known as Millennium Walkway

Plans have been unveiled which show how Cardiff city centre could look in the future, after a multi-million pound renovation.

The development includes over a million square feet of office, retail and residential buildings around a new civic square. It will also feature a new walkway from Cardiff Central Station to the Millennium Stadium.

The development incorporates over a million square feet of office, retail and residential buildings

At the centre of the development is the proposed new BBC Wales HQ, which, subject to planning, is scheduled for completion in 2017.

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New M4 road "threatens future" of Newport Docks

The owners of Newport docks, which supports 3,000 local jobs, say they are concerned about its future because of plans to build a new M4 relief road south of the city.

Credit: Associated British Ports

Associated British Ports says the route could impact on its existing operations and "future development of the Port of Newport."

Newport is Wales’ leading general cargo port, handling in excess of 1.5m tonnes of cargo per year. Its operator, ABP, is repeating its concerns over the Port’s future on the day that Assembly Members prepare for a debate in the Senedd on the wider importance of ports to the Welsh economy.

ABP says the route would mean building a bridge which would bisect the North and South Docks, creating a height restrictions and a report found that 58% of vessels entering the North Dock during 2004-2008 would not have been able to access it if the proposed bridge had been in place.

This height restriction would be introduced against a backdrop of a global trend of increasing cargo and vessel size...The M4 bridge in its current proposed ‘black route’ position will also limit how mobile cranes and other large plant are deployed across different areas of the port.

– Matthew Kennerley, Director of ABP

ABP says the plans are "a real threat" to the future of Newport docks.

ABP has proposed an alternative crossing point several hundred metres further north of the current proposal, but says this has not been accepted by the Welsh Government.

Hundreds of jobs created following Canadian IT firm expansion plans

First Minister Carwyn Jones with Michael Roach, President of CGI Group in Montreal earlier this year. Credit: Welsh Government

£3.2 million in business finance from the Welsh Government has secured 620 new jobs at information technology firm CGI in Bridgend. Elsewhere US car exhaust firm Tenneco-Walker is opening its new factory in Merthyr Tydfil today - creating over 220 posts.

CGI is an important employer in south Wales and I am delighted it has committed to continuing to develop its workforce in the region. Today’s announcement is excellent news for the region with 620 new skilled jobs that will yield knock-on benefits for local businesses and the wider community. The Welsh Government has recently awarded CGI anchor company status in recognition of its economic contribution and commitment to on going expansion in Wales. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the company to support its contribution to the Welsh economy.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones met CGI's president during a visit to Canada in July, when he awarded CGI the status of an anchor company in the Welsh economy. It's been given Skills Growth Wales' largest ever training grant and the statements after the meeting in Canada hinted at further expansion in Wales.

CGI describes its Welsh business as delivering "a range of outsourcing, application services and infrastructure services to clients across the UK" and claims to be the fifth largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world.

The announcement is being made on the same day the Economy Minister Edwina Hart officially opens Tenneco-Walker's new manufacturing facility in Merthyr Tydfil.

The car parts manufacturing company's investment in this new plant has been supported by the Welsh Government.

It will create 224 jobs and help maintain a further 36 and will complement the company's existing plant in Tredegar.

"Tenneco-Walker's decision to open another factory in the vicinity reflects the productivity, loyalty and calibre of the staff they employ...It is a major vote of confidence in Wales and I am delighted that support from the Welsh Government helped encourage the investment here as other locations were under consideration."

– Edwina Hart, Economy Minister

Thousands of public sector workers to strike over changes to pay and pensions

Picket lines have been set up outside the National Assembly offices in Cardiff Bay.

Thousands of public sector workers will be striking today over changes to their pay and pensions.

PCS Union staff at job centres, tax offices and workers at the Senedd are set to walk out.

Although some facilities will be closed, the UK Government says it is taking 'tough decisions' to address the budget deficit.

As part of our long-term economic plan, this Government is taking tough decisions to address the budget deficit we inherited after the 2010 General Election.

One was to introduce pay restraint in the public sector, while protecting the lowest paid. Pay restraint protects public sector jobs, supports high-quality public services and helps keep the UK's finances back on track.

– Cabinet Office spokesperson
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