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Recruitment drive held for Murco refinery workers

American company Klesch Refinery Ltd had agreed a deal to buy the Murco site back in July. Credit: ITV News

A recruitment drive is being held in Milford Haven today after an announcement earlier this month that the Murco refinery was to close.

More than three hundred jobs are to be shed at the site after a deal to take it over collapsed.

The company behind the recruitment drive, petrochemical company Ineos, is hoping to fill vacancies at its site in Scotland.

The site in Milford Haven is due to be closed and used as a storage and distribution facility.

Read more: Get euro aid for Murco workers says Plaid MEP.

Cutting tourism VAT would create 'thousands' of jobs

A group has claimed cutting VAT on accommodation and attractions from 20% to 5% would create almost 6,000 jobs in Wales. The Cut Tourism VAT campaign also says the move would boost the Welsh economy by over £165m.

The campaign claims a cut in tourism VAT would have an 'immediate and positive' impact on the Welsh economy. Credit: PA

The campaign, which has cross-party support from nearly 100 MPs, is calling on the Chancellor to announce a VAT cut in the Autumn Statement and give regions outside of London more support.

Earlier this year Westminster's Welsh Affairs committee called on the UK Government to "review its policy on the VAT rate for the tourism industry, with the ultimate aim of reducing the current 20% rate".

Research from the campaign claims that promising to reduce VAT for the sector would have an immediate positive impact on the economy, as companies factor a reduction into their spending plans and begin the process of hiring and reinvesting.

"George Osborne has a fantastic opportunity in the Autumn Statement to unveil a tax cut that would create thousands of jobs, inject millions of pounds into regional economies outside of London, and even result in a fiscal surplus for the Treasury. What's more, many of the benefits would be felt as soon as a cut is announced. The Chancellor should listen to MPs, including the dozens in his own party, who are calling for change."

– Graham Wason, Chairman, Cut Tourism VAT campaign

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Cost of merging councils 'up to £268m'

Credit: J.M. Guyon/Candybox Images/PA Images

The upfront cost of merging Welsh councils could range between £160m and £268m.

That's according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)

But it also says this is offset against potential savings of £65m a year across all councils after a three year period.

In the study CIPFA Wales evaluated a number of areas where the costs of transition and recurrent savings are likely to be significant.

These included people change costs, including redundancy, of up to £158m; property, systems and other change management costs of around £54m and income forgone because of council tax harmonisation of at least £57m.

With over half of the UK Government’s consolidation plan still to be realised, all political leaders need to be honest with the public about what the future holds and what action is needed. Indeed in our recent Manifesto for the 2015 election, one of our calls was for all decisions on spending and services to be taken in the context of medium to long-term financial sustainability.

– Rob Whiteman, CIPFA Chief Executive

Euro aid spending approved

A detailed agreement between the Welsh Government and the European Commission has been reached on how £2 billion of European aid will be spent over the next seven years.

It's split between a regional development fund, worth about £1.1 billion and a smaller social fund, which supports skills development and helping people into work. Most of the development money will be spent on the European Commission's objectives, including research and innovation, the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises, renewables and energy efficiency,

But £252 million will be spent on transport, which the Welsh Government argued was also a priority for economic growth. The metro scheme to improve public transport in Cardiff and the Valleys will be a major beneficiary but the Commission has also agreed to some of the money being spent on road improvements to the A40 in west Wales and the A55 in the north.

Wales is the first to adopt programmes in the UK and indeed, it is a model for the rest of Europe's regions in terms of 'partnership in action'. Thanks to the tireless work and dedication - from ministerial level to the grassroots, we are able to launch these vital programmes for investments that will set Wales on the path to smart and green growth - connecting people, skills and jobs

– European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu

The EU is a unique partnership of nations working together for the benefit of their citizens, and as a pro-European Government we value the role of Wales in Europe and to the UK’s membership of the EU.

– Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM

Cardiff 'to receive £316m boost' from Rugby World Cup

The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff will host eight games during Rugby World Cup 2015. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

Cardiff is expected to receive a £316m boost when the Millennium Stadium plays host to next year's Rugby World Cup - according to an economic impact study announced by England Rugby 2015 today.

The stadium will host eight games, including two of Wales’ pool matches and two quarter-finals.

Jobless figures due

The latest figures will be published this morning. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

The latest jobless figures are out today and are expected to show another fall across Wales.

Last month's figures showed it was down by 3 thousand to 94 thousand.

Across the UK unemployment was at its lowest for 8 years.

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Get Euro aid for Murco workers says Plaid MEP

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has called on the UK Government to apply for European funding to help the 400 workers facing redundancy with the closure of the Murco refinery in Milford Haven. Production there is expected to end after a sale to a Swiss company fell through.

Jill Evans wants Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb, who's also the local MP, to get the UK Government to apply for funding from the European Union's Globalisation Adjustment Fund. It supports workers who lose their jobs and small businesses which close down as a result of changes in world trade and the global economic crisis.

Any payment from the fund would reduce the size of Britain's EU rebate.

The Secretary of State for Wales has called this 'a hammer blow for the local economy'. That merits the strongest response and I call on him to ensure the UK government does not block an application to the globalisation adjustment fund.

– Jill Evans MEP

"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.

PM: Oil refinery deal collapse "very disappointing"

The collapse of a deal for the oil refinery in Milford Haven is "very disappointing", David Cameron has said.

PM says work will continue to find job opportunities at Milford Haven. Credit: PA

But the Prime Minister insisted ties should not be cut with Klesch Group, which is also in the process of buying Tata Steel's long products division.

Mr Cameron made the remarks in answer to Labour MP Tom Greatrex who highlighted concern about the Swiss-based firm's intentions given its record of "asset stripping".

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Cameron said, "First of all, let me agree with you it is very disappointing what has happened at Milford Haven and we will continue to work with the company concerned and try to find employment opportunities for all those that work there.

Meetings take place over Milford Haven oil refinery

Union representatives will be holding urgent meetings with Welsh Government ministers later today and will press the Westminster to intervene to secure an alternative buyer.

Britain’s largest union, Unite is calling for a taskforce originally set up to secure the future of Murco’s Milford Haven oil refinery to be reconvened following the collapse of the refinery’s sale. The refinery employs over 400 people and its closure could undermine the future security of fuel supply, warns the union.

The workforce has shown great professionalism and resilience in these deeply uncertain times and need to be assured that every avenue will be explored to ensure there is a future for oil refining at Milford Haven.

– Andy Richards, Unite
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