Don’t forget about us!
Fears that the Cynon Valley could miss out as major investments go elsewhere in the Valleys:
AMBITIOUS projects in southern parts of the South Wales Valleys have led to fears northern areas are being left behind.
It comes following recent news such as plans for the ambitious Taff Vale development in Pontypridd being approved.
The complex will feature a library/leisure hub as part of an office-led project, while the headquarters for the City Deal are to be based in Treforest.
It has also been announced that a mothballed engineering factory is to reopen, creating 130 jobs in Bedwas. It will supply materials for a factory producing London black cabs.
Last Wednesday, Assembly Member for the Cynon Valley, Vikki Howells, raised concerns that areas like Aberdare in her constituency, Merthyr Tydfil and more, could be missing out.
Speaking at the National Assembly on Wednesday, she sought assurance from Carwyn Jones that northern parts of the Valleys would share in any growth in prosperity and job opportunities that may be generated in the region.
She welcomed the Welsh Government’s commitment to a new regionally-focused model of economic development, adding that it was particularly important in the face of Brexit.
But she added: “How- ever, in recent announcements on the development of a network of regional growth hubs, these seem to be primarily located in the southern-most reaches of our valleys — places like Pontypridd, Treforest and Caerphilly.
“How will the new regional focus assist the economic development of the northern-most reaches of our valleys — places where we know that poverty, worklessness and illhealth remain stubbornly high?”
Ms Howells said that, as a passionate advocate for the foundational economy, she was pleased to note the strategy’s mention of support for local businesses and that more supply chains had been created.
She asked Mr Jones: “What additional information can you give on how the Government will enable small businesses to grow and flourish, to fill the missing middle and create sustainable, good quality and above all local employment?”
Mr Jones said the issue of where growth hubs can be located in the northern valleys is a matter being considered by the Valleys Taskforce – the group aimed firmly at employment and economic issues affecting the South Wales Valleys.
He told Ms Howells: “We understand the importance of being able to look at growth hubs, especially around the Heads of the Valleys road, which we know has been hugely important to unlocking economic development in Merthyr, as one example, but other communities as well.
“We know that more and more people are selfemployed, so them being able to access advice is hugely important.
“We have in place a suite of measures that are able to assist people to look for financial support where that’s appropriate and to look for advice where that’s appropriate.”
A computer-generated image of the Taff Vale development in Pontypridd