THE announcement of possible job cuts at Castell Howell Foods in Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire has been met with concern by Plaid Cymru representatives.
Plaid Cymru Leader, Adam Price MS for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr said:
“This announcement about potential job losses from Castell Howell is of real concern, particularly as this community based company has grown to be a lynchpin of the local economy in the west since it was founded in 1988. The firm has attempted to adapt to the changing economy since the start of lockdown and the pandemic, but with sales devastated by up to 65 per cent it was always going to be difficult to continue on the same scale.
“Plaid Cymru will be challenging the Welsh and Westminster Governments as to what can be done to maintain as many of the 700 jobs as possible. We will also work with the Plaid Cymru led Carmarthenshire County Council to see what further assistance can be provided for the company and its workers.”
Plaid Cymru Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister Helen Mary Jones Mid and West MS commented :
“This is a very worrying development, but unfortunately not surprising. It has been clear from the beginning of the pandemic that businesses like Castell Howell which depends so heavily on hospitality trade were going to be hard hit. Plaid Cymru has been calling for weeks for the Welsh government and the UK government to bring forward a long-term package of support for those businesses that will not be able to open safely and profitably perhaps for many months to come.
“This package of measures includes the furlough scheme to be extended flexibly on a sector by sector basis, with help withdrawal from those businesses that can open and concentrated on those that cannot. If the two governments do not act together, and act quickly and we risk losing large parts of our hospitality and food businesses. We must ensure that this infrastructure is protected.
“Looking to the future Welsh Government must reform in its purchasing policy to buy much more local from firms like Castell Howell. It was absurd that at the beginning of the pandemic a big multinational company from England was providing food boxes to our most vulnerable citizens when local businesses could have done it.”