Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A reader asks IWJ, "why does Anglesey always come last?" (updated)

Following the revelations via Dylan Jones-Evans on Monday that less than 0.1 percent of European 'JEREMIE' funding spent in Wales so far has been obtained by Anglesey-based companies, a reader of this blog emailed Ieuan Wyn Jones to ask him why:

Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2010 11:45 AM
To: Wyn Jones, Ieuan (Assembly Member) 
Subject: European Structural Funding allocated to Anglesey 
Mr Jones,
As a long term resident of Anglesey I am appalled by the continual decline in investment and employment in this island. This situation is highlighted by the latest official data which shows that in the last three years only 111 businesses on the island have been helped through European convergence funding.  In addition to this, only 102 new jobs have been created and only 18 new businesses have been set up. At the same time we have lost many large employers too well known to have to list.
I understand that Wales have access to the £150,000,000 JEREMIE fund which is providing commercial funding for small firms which face difficulties in obtaining funding.
According to figures released by the Welsh Assembly, £30 million has been spent in the whole of Wales, only £25,000 has been invested in Anglesey. This is less than 0.1% of the funding.
The figures tell us that Gwynedd has received 44 times more funding than your constituency, Conwy has received twice as much, Denbighshire 35 times more and Flintshire 77 times more. Why is this?
Are you, as either MP or AM for this island for many years, proud of this situation?
You are in a position of authority in the Welsh Assembly, why on earth do you not support the people who sent you there?
Please let me know what action you intend to take to correct this grossly unfair situation.

This morning he received a reply all the way from Cardiff Bay:

From: "Wyn Jones, Ieuan (Assembly Member)"
Date: 10 November 2010 08:26:18 GMT
Subject: Re: European Structural Funding allocated to Anglesey
I thank you for your e-mail and interest in these matters. The amount of convergence funding which Anglesey has access to is significantly higher than that quoted by you. I'll get the full figures. 
Access to the Jeremie fund is by individual companies and not allocated geographically by the government. Indeed the fund is only a small proportion of the funding requirement of small businesses. 
Anglesey has benefited significantly from a whole range of European funding streams as well as in providing funding for transport links in recent years.
I hope that you will continue to support all efforts in improving the island's economy including strengthening the economy department's role in North Wales.
Yours sincerely
Ieuan Wyn Jones

It is IWJ's reply to the issue of JEREMIE funding which is so revealing: no explanation as to why the take up on Anglesey has been so appallingly small, just a glib assertion that it is not allocated geographically. I have no doubt that that he is right -- but what is being asked of IWJ is this: has he as Anglesey's AM done done enough to ensure that businesses in his own constituency are aware that such funding is available? The figures would suggest not. Furthermore we know that Anglesey is the poorest place in the UK, we know that the island has lost over 2,000 private sector jobs over the past couple of years, therefore we need our Assembly Member to be doing everything in his power to ensure that his own constituency gets all the support it needs to return to growth. Unfortunately neither the JEREMIE funding take-up figures nor IWJ's reply above instill confidence.

UPDATE: Our correspondent replied to IWJ and has received another mail from the Minister:
Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 10:16 AM
To: Wyn Jones, Ieuan (Assembly Member) 
Subject: European Structural Funding allocated to Anglesey 
Dear Mr Jones,
I am in receipt of your reply to my email on the above subject.
I look forward to receiving the figures concerning the amount of convergence funding to which Anglesey has access, as promised.
How much of these funds have been applied for and how much has been received and for what purposes? I would like answers to all three points.
You say that access to the JEREMIE fund is by individual companies, what are you doing specifically to make sure that companies know about these funds and how are you helping them to obtain them? Answer please.
You also say that the fund is only a small proportion of the funding requirements of small businesses, what are you doing the help them with any shortfall? Answer please.
You say that Anglesey has benefited significantly from a whole range of European funding streams. When we look at the fact that Anglesey is the poorest area in the United Kingdom there is no apparent improvement. Why are you not pushing harder to see that this island receives its fair share of funding? We get less than any other part of Wales. Is there a good reason for this state of affairs?
With regard to the funding for transport links, are you refering to the massive subsidy to the Valley - Cardiff air link? I am sure it is of great help to some people!
You conclude by saying that you hope I will continue to support efforts to improve the island's economy, could you list some concrete examples of your achievements in this direction?

To which IWJ replied:

From: "Wyn Jones, Ieuan (Assembly Member)"
Date: 10 November 2010 12:08:45 GMT
Subject: Re: European Structural Funding allocated to Anglesey
I have made a note of your continuing concerns to which I will respond to in due course. The Jeremie fund is extensively marketed as well as other sources of funding
It is not true to say that Anglesey receives less support from government funding than other counties. The regen project Mon a Menai is one of a limited number of SRA's in the whole of Wales.
Ieuan Wyn Jones

11 comments:

Photon said...

Many thanks to the Druid's correspondent, and Druid himself, for asking and obtaining a reply to this matter.

I try to be objective in this world. What I cannot agree with, though is this:

"Anglesey has benefited significantly from a whole range of European funding streams as well as in providing funding for transport links in recent years."

That's very weak. How about at least some examples? What transport links - the bottleneck at Britannia Bridge? How recent is 'recent'? 2001, when we had the A55?

I'm afraid that, whichever way you look at it, Anglesey cannot be said in any manner to have flourished or 'benefited' from the various funding streams that are undoubtedly available. There has instead been a 'Cold War' mentality that sees big industrial projects like Wylfa - welcome though they are - as the main solution to economic woes. Sadly, they aren't. They are too much like all one's eggs in one basket. A diversity of SMEs provides competition, a good range of quality jobs, and much more insulation from the collapse of one business sector.

Darren said...

how pathetic of IWJ. The man really does live in JAJ's world. Give me strength

Anonymous said...

"The amount of convergence funding which Anglesey has access to is significantly higher than that quoted by you. I'll get the full figures"

I don't think the original letter write refers to any figures regarding the actual amounts of Convergence Funds so what is IWJ on about?

Anonymous said...

It baffles me, I thought IWJ was a man with his finger on the pulse of the economy of Wales, it's only now I've realised that where his hand was there was a different pulse, no wonder were desperate and on the very edge of oblivion.

The Red Flag said...

Anglesey has benefitted has it? In this week's Mail they are hailing the possibility that a Factory Outlet Shop may open in the old Woolworths here in Holyhead with up to 20 jobs, most of which will be minimum wage or very close to it. Chorlton gets his nose in for good measure.

Really, it's most certainly not something to brag about. If anything they should hang their heads in shame.

Darren said...

http://www.theonlinemail.co.uk/bangor-and-anglesey-news/local-bangor-and-anglesey-news/2010/08/25/holyhead-curry-house-takes-part-in-tiffin-cup-66580-27125589/

Anonymous said...

How many 10's of millions has Holyhead had, If all John Chorlton can do is keep his fingers crossed, he need not bother. Can John tell us where all the other money has gone?

Anonymous said...

We seem to be creating a propaganda war between the poor North and the rich South, unfortunately if you study the way we are being denied investment, you start to wonder....

If you compare our industrial might ( non existant) our infrastructure ( an empty A55 ) trains that carry people but hardly any goods, our location, being so far away from any major city, then we have a massive mountain to climb.

The first step is the hardest, IWJ and AO have tried, but keep tripping up and falling flat on their faces. We are in a very difficult position, and our future is looking bleak, I suggest that the Druid gets in touch with the German Ambassador and ask him for a hand out.

Glyn Pritchard-Jones said...

Druid, every time I email IWJ I get the stock WAG autoresponder answer that "they" will reply within 17 days....what planet are these guys on?

Pathetic, inadequate and an unrealistic way to run a The Assembly Government....we in the business community require serious, precise, keen, attitude....with follow up, tracking to establish results.

These guys behave like a they want people asking questions to just go away...

I think these series of articles about Anglesey, IWJ and shrinking business sector points to one thing...

IWJ has failed, please fall on your sword IWJ, give it up

Anonymous said...

Holyhead received £155M over 10 years....how many Tomokawk or Cruise missiles is that???

And unsurprisingly Holyhead still looks like downtown Beirut!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

00:22
"Holyhead still looks like down-town Beirut!!!!!
Well that's not to surprising.
Just look at the councillors they have to represent them.