Monday, 8 November 2010

Why does Anglesey always come last?

In his blog today, Dylan Jones-Evans reveals some very disturbing information about how Anglesey is being seriously left behind in terms of European structural funding:

"But as we know, Anglesey, as the poorest county within the whole of the UK, has the advantage of being able to access £2 billion pounds of European Structural funding in order to create jobs and new businesses to alleviate the effects of the recession.
Unfortunately, that has simply not happened.
The latest official data shows that, in the last three years, only 111 businesses on Anglesey have been helped through European convergence funding.
Worse still, only 102 new jobs have been created and just 18 new businesses set up.
Remember this is at a time when Wales was going though the worst downturn since the 1920s and hundreds of jobs were lost on Anglesey.
But that is not the whole story.
Wales is also fortunate to have access to the £150 million JEREMIE fund that is providing commercial funding solutions for small firms that face difficulties in securing funding. 
Yet, according to the latest figures released by WAG, whilst £30 million has been spent across Wales, only £25,000 has been invested on Anglesey i.e. less than 0.1 per cent of funding for entrepreneurs has gone to the poorest county in Wales."

The JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) project is very interesting in that it provides exactly the kind of support which Anglesey needs right now, i.e. loans for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are currently facing difficulties in securing funding from banks. Considering that Anglesey has lost the majority of its larger firms over the past few years, to secure any kind of economic growth on the Island we have to strategically focus on our indigenous small firms. Yet as Dylan Jones-Evans points out, Anglesey's SMEs has been the recipient of less than 0.1 percent of the total JEREMIE funding spent in Wales to date. To put that into perspective, lets see how other Welsh regions have done compared to Anglesey:

JEREMIE investments in SMEs by region (£000s)
click to enlarge

So, our neighbour Gwynedd has received 44 times more funding than Anglesey, Conwy twice as much, Denbighshire 35 times more, and Flintshire a staggering 77 times more. 

One has to ask why so little of this funding is being accessed by Anglesey's companies? Our AM, Ieuan Wyn Jones, always manages to find time to slam the coalition government for any perceived "lack of respect" for the Welsh economy, yet strangely fails to find any time to actually ensure that his constituency's small businesses are taking full advantage of available funding options -- despite them being administered by his own department. Time to go, Ieuan...


Anonymous said...

What has Anglesey's expensive Economic Development Director and team done to raise awareness of and help local businesses access this money.......?
Inept and not fit for purpose !
We are entitled to expect them to get on their bikes and make it happen.

The Red Flag said...

Don't be fooled by the use of SME . The overwhelming majority of small businesses employ 5 or less people one of which is usually the ownere and otehrs family members. 'Small' covers self employed from window cleaners to painter and decorators to architects to dentists etc who are basically 'intellectual' in that they either have no or very limited actual assets, and also includes small shops, tenanted pubs, small holding farms etc etc. It's not that the banks won't lend to these sorts of businesses, it's that they are to high a risk - they have nothing to offer as security. Would you lend unsecured loans to a tenanted pub? the corner shop? - there's nothing stopping you if you have a few grand spare. And in the self-employed area the banks will only lend if they have something to secure the loan against - such as the equity in their home (if they own one) and as a resulty a lot of the self-employed will not borrow in case they lose their home.

(People have misconceptions of 'small' meaning light engineering and such like. In over 90% of cases it's not. It's as above)

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Red Flag - in the case of JEREMIE funding we can see exactly what kinds of businesses have accessed the funding as the top ten sectors are listed in the linked report:

Tourism/Leisure - 11 investments - £6,400,000
Other Manufacturing - 27 investments - £2,586,000
Medical Devices - 4 investments - £2,450,000
Engineering - General - 10 investments - £2,293,000
Business Services - 12 investments - £2,278,000
Software/IT - 18 investments - £2,060,000
Food/Drink - 12 £1,835,000
Environmental Goods and Services - 8 investments - £1,803,000
Automotive - 6 investments - £779,000
Construction - 6 investments - £765,000

To be fair, according to these figures, there are very few JEREMIE loans going to pubs or corner shops.

This post is not about which businesses should be supported or why banks are not loaning to them, but about Anglesey not receiving its fair share.

The Red Flag said...

I see that Druid which is why I said what I did. Once you knock out all the examples I gave there aren't that many SME businesses on the island - we only have a small population at the end of a very long road. How do you quantify 'fair share'? How many applicants have their been across all the areas and what's the success rate in securing a loan? It might well be that the reason it's so low on Anglesey compared to other areas is that the take-up is equally low.

And to be brutally frank, should not the examples I gave be given funding on a proportional basis?

Or is the local 'boozer' not sexy enough?

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Red flag- There is nothing at all wrong with the local boozer - in fact many of my acquaintance provide quite a number of full and part time jobs. I only mention that very little funding has gone to such ventures as you brought it up.

As to whether there are enough other such businesses on the island it is difficult to tell. I can say however that there certainly is not 44 times more such businesses in Gwynedd or 77 times more in Flintshire. Although I accept that Anglesey may not have a huge number of suitable SMEs, to receive just 0.1% of the total available funding for Wales reveals that there is something more fundamental going wrong.

The Red Flag said...

Which is why Druid I floated the idea that perhaps the take-up on Anglesey was low.

Maybe no-one is applying - even deliberate discrimination wouldn't produce a variance that big I don't think - not even in Alabama!!.

Maybe Gwynedd Council is more pro-active in making sure people are aware of this money.

Anonymous said...

Is money available for those who want it? If so where? How does one apply and to who? Who are the gate-keepers of this big wad? Someone must know.......i certiainly haven't heard or read anything about it.

the outsider said...

as a potential SME wanting to re-locate to the island, (apart from reading this blog and thereafter having some considerable concerns about the Council and the governance of the island,) I have nevertheless already had some contact with helpful officers at the Council and would urge anyone with any power in the local government to get funding for improved broadband services for starters. I have experience of setting up and running a small "intellectual" business and would not expect, nor want to get bank loans. However infrastructure is crucial.

Anonymous said...

I think this is yet another indication of a cultural problem on Anglesey. Certainly, there are too many people in Econ. Dev. focusing on their latest fashions and private number plates rather than slogging their guts out to get private industry in. It seems they have been puppets for Wylfa for some time, too.

One or two big employers are great, but they will never be the only (or best) answer. A diversity of SMEs is what is needed - and what we are clearly failing to attract.

Econ. Dev. is a good example of a department that should be assessed annually on its performance. If it doesn't perform, get rid. We can't afford losers in this day and age.

Anonymous said...

A shame the Ty Mawr development at Llanfairpwll didn't go-ahead !

The Red Flag said...

Anonymous said...
A shame the Ty Mawr development at Llanfairpwll didn't go-ahead !

Aye. It could have ended up that hive of economic activity and construction that is Parc Cybi.

Anonymous said...

17.11 Ty mawr Llanfair PG was a dead economic dud from the start, a pipe dream that would not have been national retailers would have come to such a place. FACT.
Lets move on.

Glyn Pritchard-Jones said...

Anonymous of 12:00 made a very personal comment about the very exceptional and best officer at IoACC, namely Mrs Sasha Wyn Davies who has been instrumental in ensuring Wylfa B proceeds and is the brainchild behind the "Energy Island" concept. So thank you Mr Dummkopf for your words of wisdom and if you slag people off here have the spine to show your name

Anonymous said...

18.18.....thank you, but an enormous and noisy exaggeration you make yet again,as usual, I believe !

Anonymous said...

Glyn Prichard-Jones, Hear Hear.

Anonymous said...

OK Glyn you can stop typing now ..... Energy Island pah don't make me laugh., Wylfa B was always coming herenext to Wylfa A and as for the rest of the Energy businesses tell me more .. when are they due to flood the area with thousands of jobs.
Another ‘pie in the sky’ dream I’m afraid but no doubt will create an illusion of hope !
Yet again the Council are travelling but never really arriving.

Anonymous said...

For years we have had no real investment in Anglesey, as soon as one major employer decide to close shop, the other's followed, we didn't try to keep them, because we thought another big employer was just around the corner. How sad was that statement, but it was true, because it happened. We, unfortunately are located in one of the most inaccesable parts of Britain, and the only thing we have going for us, is our coastline and natural beauty, this, unfortunately does not create the hundreds of jobs we have lost and the hundreds of jobs we need badly. I blame lack if vision, lack of opportunity, lack of foresight, lack of help and assistance by the Welsh Assembly, we created this mess, we are the only ones who can get us out of it. We are back in the 70s, with as much chance as surviving now as we did then. It's the time difference, the rest of Britain is in the 21st Century, unfortunately Anglesey is still in the past.

The Red Flag said...

19:41 Anonymous said...Wylfa B was always coming here next to Wylfa A

It's not coming yet matey. All that's been agreed is that it can be built if the Franco-Germans want to build it.

That - and the fact that there will be no subsidies (thus making the actual building of it less than 50/50) - is all we know.

Anonymous said...

What do really expect when we are lead by the " Lost Mountain Sheep Parties" for the last twenty five years. Not a single bit of business skills amongst them.
IWJ is immersed in Cardiff Bay with WAG, and doesn't do a thing to the advantage his home constituency.
Come to think of it what benefit is there for us in WAG ???
What we need here Anglesey is change politically with a new direction.

Un o Fon

TGC said...

Thought: How about a graph of population of each county, and then compare this with the Druid's graph of JEREMIE expenditure?

That might prove the political element, or lead to other questions...

Richard Sletzer said...

Glyn Pritchard-Jones makes an excellent point about the unjustified slagging-off of good and effective managers in IoACC. We really do need to support the "goodies" on the council whilst rooting out the "baddies".

It is good to see Glyn, whose late father was one of the most highly-respected figures in Welsh public life, maintaining his family's exemplary tradition of integrity.
He is absolutely right.

There are too many people on this blog who don't realise how much more weight their comments would carry if they entered them under their own name - or at the very least a consistent pen-name like "The Druid" himself. Instead they take the lazy and safe option of ticking the "anonymous" option when posting here. ....Maybe it's time that option was removed.

Meanwhile The Druid's revelations about the funding deficit being suffered by Anglesey are astonishing - and , yet again, come back to the paucity of the political leadership of the island.

Groundhog Day said...

"Sasha Wyn Davies who has been instrumental in ensuring Wylfa B proceeds"

Sorry Mr Pritchard-Jones, praise the lady to the sky if you must but let's get one thing right, as Red Flag has already stated, Wylfa B is far from a done-deal. Not only has the project been dealt a serious blow by the Coalition government's refusal to subsidise it at the tax-payers' expense but there continues to be a great deal of doubt in Germany (according to my friends in that country) that EDF and RWE will be unable to finance such an expensive project at all. The energy companies there have been hit by a huge 60bn Euro nuclear tax making it unlikely that they will be able to fund any foreign projects whatsoever. I recently questioned a member of the Horizon team about this and he appeared to be very flustered and embarrassed by my questions. So the bottom line as far as I am aware is that unless this government do a u-turn and actually subsidise Wylfa B then, sadly, I personally cannot see it happening.

Anonymous said...

it's a sad world we reside in when there's applause for the potential building of another nuclear installation on a very small Island. If nuclear power plays such a significant role in our existence then what a sad populace we have become. No thought given to the future generations who'll have to deal with our dirty dangerous waste. Is this selfishness a fair legacy to leave our grandchildren? Is this immediate need of gratification the only manner with which to deal with our lagging economical woes? Woes brought about by the very people who rake in the profits of such monstrosities. I'm no politician(the world of politics would need to be a very different world if people like myself were to enter the arena)and would never claim to be a representative of anyone other my own tribe. However I will lay claim to being a responsible adult(got there eventually) who has a consious. Unlike those advocating for more of the contaminate to be buried for the future can I suggest we look at alternative methods of increasing/sustaining employment for generations to follow. Shame on those who think otherwise. I hope history wil expose your selfish existences

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, if Anglesey always comes last, then what about Anglesey's future generations? Last would be nice for them I imagine. Because as of now they don't even feature in the minds of those who bore them.

Anonymous said...

If grant money is available it should be taken. If it's difficult to access then the Council should be be easing that difficulty by providing assistance by the bucketload in jumping through the variety of inevitable hoops there will be to get at it BUT ...

...instead of whooping with joy about the 30 jobs created because a Pizza parlour, budget supermarket or somesuch enterprise is coming to town we need to encourage large employers to the Island.

The cut off point for SME's means that large companies aren't able to get the grant assistance they also need (the economic wind is blowing as hard and cold for large companies as it is for the small ones).

There is a core of low or semi-skilled workers on the Island who need jobs now. Small spin-outs from Universities and high-tech start-ups that employ 3, 4 or 5 may be worthy but they're not going to generate anywhere near the same sort of economic benefit to the Island as 200, 300 or more jobs will. It's also no use focusing on single facet strategies like the magificently obtuse Energy Island either ...what about Food Island, Tourism Island, Engineering Island, Commercial Admin Island etc. etc.

Make it attractive enough a prospect to come here and businesses will come and with it the jobs the Island needs for today and tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I've asked before and I'll do it again. What energy?

Anonymous said...

good point. I'll second that call, what energy? Is it tidal?Wind?Electric? Diesel? Petrol? Muscle? Red Bull? Luczade?

Someone must know, Dylan Evans maybe?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous of 12:00 made a very personal comment about the very exceptional and best officer at IoACC, namely Mrs Sasha Wyn Davies"

No, he/she didn't. Ms. Davies, wife of a service head at the Council, isn't the Head of Econ. Dev. any more, as I understand.

Anonymous said...

solar maybe?

the outsider said...

what about fusion? we are told this will be the clean power of the future. And is the existing nuclear power station in good shape to continue for another 2 years? if so why was it to have been closed down sooner?
Food (agriculture), water and energy seem to be useful industries to get established on the island plus a mix of small and large businesses that cater for local and international markets; best not to rely on 1 or 2 employers, and sustainability in the local economy would be good.

The Red Flag said...

outsider - fusion is the future you are correct. But it's to far in the future . We have a masive energy blackhole approaching in around 4-5 years time and will be reliant on Russian gas (and their goodwill) for a period until we sort ourselves out. That medium term large scale generation can only be met with heavy investment in nuclear - dirty though it is. We simply waited too long in the hope something else would turn up. The good thing though ios that the consumer will have to foot the bill this time so it will at least demonstrate to them that it isn't cheap. Fusion will be, but fission isn't.

But the energy problem is not just about electricity generation - it's also about oil. Somehow, politicians in the west have got to wean their electorates off the idea that living 10 miles away from where you work and shopping 10 miles the other way is 'normal'. Somehow they have got to persuade their electorate that motoring is not a necessity or a right but a luxury. Somehow they've got to do that and still get them to vote for them and to be brutally frank I don't believe they can. It's not until the 'brown-outs' start in 4-5 years time and petrol has gone up through the roof along with gas and electricity that people are going to start realising and accepting that the age of cheap energy is over (and energy of all kinds is ridiculously cheap currently in comparison to the past despite how expensive you think petrol is. It's cheaper per litre than evian water) and that we are going to have to make major re-organisations in how we live, how we plan opur communities and how we buy and sell.

The Red Flag said...

outsider - The best medium term bet though is Thorium reactors. Thorium is a dirt-cheap and plentiful substance that is safe, produces safe waste, and produces dirt cheap power. It is so safe that reactors can be made small enough to power small villages and actually be safely put in them. Israel and India are currently heavily investing in research and technology. "Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), has worked on developing the use of thorium as a cheap, clean and safe alternative to uranium in reactors. Rubbia states that a ton of thorium can produce as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal" Thorium is so plentiful (America alone can meet it's energy hungry needs for over 1000 years just on it's own supplies) and easy to extract that no country on earth would need to import fuel. The Americans could make the use of fossil fuels and uranium for electricity generation obsolete within a decade. Believe it or not, a Thorium reactor can even burn up and destroy our current nuclear waste (and in fact the Israelis are developing a Thorium reactor that uses it's own waste as fuel n a never-ending cycle)

And therein lies the major problem. It's so cheap to produce that there's no money in it for the generating companies. It's so plentiful and easy to extract that there's no money in it for the mining commpanies. It's so clean that there's no requirement for all the bolt-on industries. And it can't be used in nuclear weapons so it's no use to the defence industry.

So it will never get off the ground in the 'first world'. There's no commercial profit, no military use and it will lead to large-scale redundancies in a highly lucrative sector of industry.

the outsider said...

Red Flag, I agree with a lot of what you say. For example, it makes no sense to transport goods all around the world when they can be produced nearer home. And anyway we will need to produce more of our own food and energy closer to home because as a nation we have such big debts that we will not be able to import so much.

Did anyone from Anglesey CC go to the Thorium Energy Conference in London last month? If not why not?
And will someone do their homework and dig out the papers produced for the event eg. by Aker Solutions.

The next 10 -15 years will be the biggest problem vis-a-vis UK energy supplies. That I'm affraid is the fault of the last Government. Thorium Nuclear Reactors are not without their problems but, I agree, the technology should be explored further.

Is there any evidence that Anglesey granite deposits have Thorium? Has Bangor University got any info?

The Red Flag said...

Outsider Is there any evidence that Anglesey granite deposits have Thorium? Has Bangor University got any info?

I shall attempt to fnd out the answer to that and Wales and also the UK as a whole. Thorium technology is such a wasted opportunity. It's been known about for over 50 years but back then the overriding aim of the nuclear industry in Russia and the USA at least wasn't energy production it was nuclear weapons and bugger the cost - energy production was merely a useful by-product.

the outsider said...

Red Flag - Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for any useful info.

Druid - May I suggest you update the Timeline page with details of the Wales Audit Offices's Preliminary Corporate Assessment dated September 2010.

One point they note is the fact that there are so few women on the Council.

the outsider said...

Druid - I have found the Preliminary Corporate Assessment report on this site's Library page.

The Red Flag said...

A world-changing shift in the world's oil market is now quietly under way.

$44 trillion worth of Venezuelan crude to China instead of the U.S following trade agreements where the oil is swapped for credits against chines produced goods (as opposed to bought for dollars) and the US in turn is going to have to compete on the world markets using a currency (dollar) that it is currently trying it's hardest to devalue.

There will be no 'recovery'. What we are entering is managed long term decline.

Anonymous said...

Red Flag
Your last paragraph describes ACC to a tee.