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  1. Nick Powell

Buyers found for two Welsh Remploy factories

Remploy says it's received bids for its factories in Porth and Port Talbot. The news comes as the company also announced it's to close a further nine of its factories across the UK. The company, which provides jobs for disabled workers says it hopes to complete the Porth sale by mid-August.

Remploy's been shrinking its business because the Westminster government wants it to operate on a commercial basis. Today, the minister for the disabled, Esther McVey, told MPs that the Port Talbot factory "remains in the commercial process". That did not reassure the MP for Neath, Peter Hain.

Is not the truth that amid all the minister’s spin and management-speak, she is strangling Remploy to death, and there is no prospect of the most vulnerable disabled workers in their 50s who work there all the time getting jobs in mainstream employment? Also, she has given no guarantees ... and nor has the preferred bidder, who is based in Yorkshire, that the Neath Port Talbot site at Baglan will remain open. Can she give a guarantee on that now?

– Peter Hain MP

There was no spin in what I said ... as for his comment about strangling, that is incorrect, too. I would say “liberating”. That is why some of the factories that closed have reopened and we are supporting them as best we can.

– Minister for the Disabled Esther McVey MP

The Wales Office said efforts to find jobs for former Remploy workers were having some success.

This Government's priority throughout this process has been to safeguard jobs for disabled people. 200 personal case workers have been made available to provide individual support to Remploy workers affected by the changes . Through the tailored nature of this support package, 130 former Remploy workers in Wales have found new work. I welcome the news that a number of high quality bids have been received for the Remploy site in Port Talbot and Porth. Remploy will [have] the aim of protecting as many jobs for disabled employees as possible."

– Wales Office Minister Stephen Crabb MP

Andrews resignation 'catastrophic' - Hain

Former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain describes the resignation of Leighton Andrews as 'catastrophic for Welsh Labour.' Fellow Welsh Labour MP Wayne David also tweeted that he was 'flabbergasted.' Even Conservative MP Alun Cairns paid tribute to Mr Andrews.


Labour leaders promise a productive partnership

First Minister and Shadow Welsh Secretary meet in Cardiff Bay Credit: ITV Wales News

Owen Smith and Carwyn Jones have held their first meeting since Mr Smith's appointment as the Shadow Welsh Secretary. Afterwards they gave a joint interview outside the Senedd. Mr Smith said they were old friends with similar views and he was looking forward to a 'productive powerful partnership'.

Owen Smith confirmed as new Shadow Welsh Secretary

Owen Smith has been the MP for Pontypridd since 2010 Credit: ITV News Wales

Pontypridd MP Owen Smith has been confirmed as the new Shadow Welsh Secretary. He replaces Peter Hain who confirmed yesterday that he was stepping down from the role in order to campaign for a Severn Barrage.

Mr Smith will be giving his first TV interview in Wales Tonight at 6pm


Owen Smith MP is 'definitely' new Shadow Welsh Secretary

There is still no official news on the new Shadow Welsh Secretary, but ITV Wales understands that Pontypridd MP Owen Smith is most likely to get the job. One source has told ITV Wales' Political Editor that he has 'definitely' got the job.

No formal announcement has yet been made but an announcement is likely within the next few days.

Peter Hain announced earlier this week that he would stand down from the role to concentrate on campaigning for a Severn barrage.

Severn barrage could be 'devastating'

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth Cymru have hit back at Hain's plans for the Severn barrage saying it has "the potential to be environmentally devastating."

The Director of the environment group, Gareth Clubb, said the tidal barrage would "destroy" vast areas of habitat and "devastate" fish and bird life.

The group says it agrees that using Wales' natural resources for renewable energy is important in tackling climate change, but believe that the barrage could be the "wrong solution."

Tidal energy can be captured by other means with much less damaging consequences, and could be giving us green energy far sooner than the 20 years it will take to build this barrage.

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