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Wales must not lose Forensic Science Facilities - Kirsty

2009 Mehefin 30 1:12 PM

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, is angered that plans to close the forensic science laboratory in Chepstow, not only leaves 171 people in fear for their jobs but also removes the only dedicated public service forensic science lab in Wales - a massive blow to the Welsh science industry. The Forensic Science Service (FSS) is currently undertaking a ' business transformation programme' under which the closure of the Chepstow office is proposed. Kirsty Williams said:

"This announcement threatens up to 200 highly skilled professional jobs, which have no equivalent alternatives within Wale, or indeed any closer than Birmingham. "

The loss of this service will be a huge blow, not only for the workers and the industry, but also for Wales as a whole. We are currently successfully training outstanding forensic science graduates in Wales and the loss of the lab will mean that they have virtually no opportunity to stay in the nation to work. This is an important public facility and it would be a retrograde step to loose this service and these skills; leaving Wales as the only country in the UK without a public forensic lab facility. "

In the current economic climate, where unemployment is on the rise and businesses and industry are struggling, this announcement can only add to these pressures. Now is the time to ensure that we up-skill our workforce, to ensure we can compete in the global market, and yet the loss of the lab will only serve as a backwards step for our science sector.

"I have written to the Minister for Crime Reduction, Alan Campbell MP, and to the First Minster Rhodri Morgan expressing my concern at the loss of these 200 jobs and of this important science facility in Wales.

"The Forensic Science Service (FSS), is wholly owned by the Government Company (GovCo) which means that Ministers act as the sole stakeholder.