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D-day nears as town fears 99-job blow; Welsh Government urged to keep offices.

Byline: HYWEL TREWYN

THE future of 99 civil service jobs in Caernarfon is expected to be decided by the Welsh Government on Tuesday.

The fear is they could be forced to move to the pounds 20m Llandudno Junction HQ where 409 people work with room for 700.

Arfon AM Alun Ffred has warned that millions of pounds would be lost to Caernarfon's economy if the Welsh Government decided to shut the offices.

Closing Caernarfon would also be a blow to the Welsh language, he said.

Mr Jones said he'd questioned ministers several times since 2004 about plans to close offices such as Caernarfon and was always told his concerns were "unfounded."

Mr Jones quoted First Minister Rhodri Morgan in 2006 saying: "I am not aware of any intention to reduce the number of civil servants working in Caernarfon by transferring them to the new office in Llandudno Junction."

However, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said Carwyn Jones' government was also looking at proposals to shut offices at Newtown, Llandrindod and Carmarthen as part of a cuts programme.

The PCS feared Caernarfon could lose a total of 179 jobs - if the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) decided also to move its 50 jobs to Carmarthen and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), who are also based in the same building at Penrallt, followed suit with the loss of over 30 jobs.

However this was denied by both agencies.

Defra spokeswoman Laura Hunter said: "There are no current plans to leave."

DWP spokesman Steve Milne said: "At the moment, theWelsh Government hasn''t made any decision. We'll wait and see what it plans to do."

Around 57 jobs have already been transferred from Caernarfon to Llandudno Junction. Many don't want to travel an extra 55 miles by bus to and from the Junction each day.

Caernarfon Town councillors have pledged to fight to keep the office open if next week's decision goes against them.

Caernarfon Mayor Ioan Thomas said: "There aren't many jobs in Caernarfon, so it is very important that we keep the ones that are already here."

The council has written letters to First Minister Carwyn Jones and business minister Jane Hutt urging them not to close the Penrallt office.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 22, 2011
Words:375
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