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Haverfordwest: Care company fined for underpaying staff by £55,000

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PEMBROKESHIRE CARE LIMITED, based in Haverfordwest, has been named the second worst company in the UK for failing to pay the minimum wage to its staff.

A Government list names more than 350 companies from around the UK who have been fined for not paying the legal rate of pay, and 16 of the businesses are from Wales.

Pembrokeshire Care Limited underpaid 154 members of staff by £55,000.

In response to the list, the company have released a statement, saying: “Pembrokeshire Care Ltd has always made every effort to look after our staff in a difficult economic climate.

“We pay all of our staff, including under-25s, the higher rate of living wage. In the 10 years we have owned the company we have passed on every increase from the local council to our staff in its entirety. We also pay enhanced rates for bank holidays although we are not legally obliged to do so.

“We were reviewed by HMRC and, as with the majority of other care providers who were reviewed, they found some issues in relation to the payment of travel time and shadow shifts.

“We were unaware that our payment in this regard did not meet regulations at that time. As soon as we were made aware that there was an issue we worked closely with HMRC to rectify matters and systems have been updated to ensure that there will be no future issues.”

The worst offender  on the list was Debenhams, which failed to pay nearly 12,000 employees £134,900.

The Herald has been asked to point out that Pembrokeshire Care Limited is not affiliated in any way with Pembrokeshire Care Society (PCS/PATH).

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Tenby: Pizza chain submits appeal after application denied

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DOMINO’S PIZZA has submitted an appeal after their application to open a restaurant in Tenby was declined.

The chain wanted to open a restaurant and takeaway on the South Parade.

However, these plans were declined after concerns were raised by locals within the town, as well as councillors.

It was felt that the location was too close to the war memorial, and locals also worried about littering and illuminated signage.

Now it has been confirmed that the chain has submitted an appeal against the refusal of change of use from a retail outlet (class A1) to a takeaway (class A3).

The appeal hearing will take place in December, at a time and location which is yet to be decided.

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Tenby: Shoppers queue early for opening of new store

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A LARGE queue of people eagerly awaited the opening of a brand new designer shop in Tenby this morning (Sept 22).

Shoppers were up bright and early to queue for the opening of Joules, a designer store which sells clothes, footwear, accessories and more.

The shop opened at 9:30am at its Tudor Square premises.

The first customer was awarded a £200 voucher, the following ten won £100 vouchers, and the ten after that were each awarded £50 vouchers.

The store is also offering 15% off to all customers today.

A Joules spokesperson said: “We’re thrilled to be opening a new Joules story in Tenby. We are really looking forward to bringing our unique personality and style to shoppers over the coming months.”

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Monkton: £30,000 benefits fraudster avoids jail sentence

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A MONKTON woman pretended her marriage ‘to a traveller man’ had lasted only four weeks and went on to swindle almost £30,000 in benefits.

Emma Blackmore was in fact living with husband Wayne in Tenby Court and they even had a child together.

But Blackmore, aged 37, maintained for four years that she was a single woman living alone.

Blackmore, now of Queen Street, Pembroke Dock, admitted six offences of fraud by failing to notify a change in her circumstances.

She was jailed for 12 months, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete 20 days of a rehabilitation activity.

Nuhu Gobir, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that Blackmore had made genuine claims for income support and other benefits in early 2012 in her maiden name of Emma Hughes, stating she was single, lived alone and could not work due to ill health.

On June 16, 2012, she married Wayne Blackmore but described him to the Department of Work and Pensions as a ‘traveller man’ and said the marriage was already over.

Blackmore continued to make claims and over a four year period she received £29,569 in benefits she had not been entitled to.

Mr Gobir said an investigation revealed that Wayne Blackmore had made it clear on his Facebook page that he was in a relationship and that the couple had become parents.

And further checks showed that his wages were going into his wife’s bank account and that as far as his employers were concerned he lived at the same address as his wife.

The judge, Mr Recorder Greg Bull, said he noted that Blackmore had maintained that ‘times were hard and money had been a struggle.’

But that was true for many people in Wales, he said.

Blackmore, he added, had defrauded the public purse at a cost to other members of the community but sending her to jail immediately would not achieve anything.

And neither was she in a position to repay any of the money.

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