Thursday, 2 December 2010

Helping Holyhead and Ynys Môn to create jobs

According to figures compiled by the GMB Union, Holyhead has the most jobseekers per vacancy in Wales. This month there are 781 unemployed claimants in Holyhead chasing just 105 unfilled job vacancies -- a ratio of 7.4 potential applicants per job. Bangor, Caernarfon and Llangefni are in 17th place, with 2,138 unemployed claimants chasing 1,077 job vacancies -- a ratio of 2 applicants per job.

Holyhead in particular was severely hit by the recession -- two of its largest employers, both of which had been operating in Holyhead for well over 35 years -- closed within three months of each other at the end of 2009:

  • Anglesey Aluminium started smelting in 1971 and continued production all the way through the 80s and 90s, only closing with a loss of 450 jobs in September 2009
  • The Eaton Electric plant in Holyhead opened in 1960 under the name Midland Electric Manufacturing Company, it operated all through the 80s and 90s and closed in December 2009 with a loss of 250 jobs

Between them they directly accounted for 700 jobs, not including all the other jobs in small suppliers, support industries, and shops which depended on their trade.

Large companies like Anglesey Aluminium and Eaton Electric cannot be replaced overnight, and it is for that reason that the economic wellbeing of Holyhead and Anglesey must rest with its indigenous small businesses -- a point explicitly addressed in the People's Manifesto:

"the Council needs to recognise that the Island’s economic future rests on promoting and supporting multitudes of small businesses - not just one or two large employers. Accordingly the Council must: (a) avoid supporting developments which merely contribute to the cannibalisation of sales from existing small businesses and shops; (b) prioritise reducing the bureaucracy and costs involved in running small businesses on the Island; (c) provide meaningful and high-quality support to encourage both the growth of existing small businesses and the establishment of new ventures."

Not only does this make good common-sense, it is also backed up by research: for example studies show that nearly two-thirds of all net new jobs in the United States in 2007 were created by companies less than five years old. Therefore it is clear that a country such as Wales which suffers from an under-developed private sector should strategically focus on providing support to its small businesses as a way of growing the number of private sector jobs.

Unfortunately the economic development policies currently being pursued by the Welsh Assembly Government -- Ieuan Wyn Jones's "Economic Renewal Programme" -- do the exact opposite: i.e. they support a few large employers in Wales at the expense of the multitudes of small businesses. It has done this by limiting the amount of economic support available and then restricted it only to companies operating in six "key sectors":

  • Creative industries
  • Information Communication Technologies
  • Energy and Environment
  • Advanced material and manufacturing
  • Life Sciences
  • Financial and Professional services

How were these sectors chosen? Nobody knows. The majority of companies operating in these sectors are not small companies. And most importantly to us, none of them (with the possible exception of energy companies) are well represented on Ynys Môn as is clear from the following breakdown of workplace employment sectors in Anglesey and North Wales:

In case you can't read the key: the sectors (left to right) are: Public Administration, education,
health and other services; Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing; Production; Construction;
Distribution, transport and communication; Finance and business services. (Source: WAG)

As you can see: Anglesey has a large distribution and transport sector thanks to Holyhead port, fair sized construction and production industries (although this data was collated before the closure of AAM and Eaton, etc.), and the largest proportion of people in North Wales working in areas related to agriculture and food production. None of these sectors are supported by the Economic Renewal Programme and therefore do not qualify for any support. Financial services are supported but, as you can see, Anglesey has the lowest proportion of these companies in the whole of North Wales.

As Anglesey has the highest proportion of people working in Agriculture sector in North Wales it is also important to note that there are severe problems here also. Single Farm payments are denominated in Euros, whose value is falling against sterling because of economic turmoil in Europe. Furthermore the current existing WAG agri-environmental schemes (Tir Gofal, Tir Mynydd, Tir Cynnal, and the Organic farming Scheme) are in the process of being phased out and replaced by the over complicated and widely derided Glastir scheme.  Indeed at a meeting I recently attended of the Anglesey Grassland Society, out of approximately 40 farmers present, only one said he was applying for Glastir. There is trouble ahead.

So what can be done to help the situation in Holyhead and the rest of Ynys Môn?

  • WAG needs to change its focus to supporting our small indigenous Welsh businesses. It can do this by reviewing the focus of the Economic Renewal Programme and also by reviewing Business Rates -- which are currently higher in Wales than anywhere else in the UK. (the Welsh Conservatives plan to take all small companies with a rateable value of less than £12,000 out of paying business rates all together).
  • More needs to be done to ensure that European funds like JEREMIE (of which Anglesey firms have so far only received 0.1% of the funds available in Wales) are better advertised and taken up by Anglesey companies.
  • Closer to home, Anglesey County Council needs to recognise the dangerous effect which expanding the number of pay and display car parks will have on struggling town centre businesses. Gwynedd Council has made all car parks free during the Xmas period to help their small businesses -- why can't we do the same here? I will be pushing the Council to reconsider parking charges entirely.
  • Noting the importance of Agricultural and food-based businesses in particular to Anglesey, WAG needs to consider the effectiveness of Glastir. Closer to home we need to look at how we can promote Anglesey produce better.
  • Tourism will become more and more important to the Island. I have already discussed here what can be done to help the industry on Anglesey.
  • And finally, Planning policies on the island needs to become more business friendly. Present policies are based on the adopted Ynys Môn Local Plan (1996) and the stopped Unitary Development Plan (2005) -- both of these documents are seriously outdated in all areas. Accordingly we need to ensure there is sufficient consultation into the new Local Development Plan (currently being jointly produced with Gwynedd Council) to make sure that planning represents Anglesey's modern needs.

If you have any more ideas or suggestions, please do let me know.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Inward investment in Anglesey is a difficult nut to crack, when the decisions all come from Cardiff, the leftovers are all we seem to get these days....wonder if anyone can clarify here, but don't you think that big decisions about inward investment should be made locally and not from Cardiff, after all we are a completely separate nation to those down there.

Anonymous said...

One of the first considerations required is to employ a Business Supremo who knows exactly what he/she is doing, free from the shackles of WAG.

The Isle of Man in the 60's employed Mr T V Bond, and look how he turned their failing tourist industry into mega bucks.

All we need is some one with the nonce, until then we are going nowhere, only further down.

Puck said...

Anon 14.52 -

I think you mean "nouse" (know how)

and not "nonce" - (the term nonce (sometimes spelled "nonse") is a slang word used to refer to a sex offender and/or child sexual abuser).

Prometheuswrites said...

Druid:

I'm trying to reconcile the data given above that "Anglesey has the highest proportion of people working in the Agriculture sector in North Wales" with the data you gave on earlier blog posts regarding the huge drop in farming activites on Anglesey (60 - 80% off the top of my head).

My only conclusion is that the overall level of private enterprise on the island is so low that just the few businesses that have started up in speciality produce/foods has unrealistically swung the statistical measures of agricultural producution on the Island.

Do you have measures of the productive contribution these sectors make to Anglesey's output in absolute terms.

If the absolute output is as low as I suspect then quoting percentage measures is meaningless as there won't be enough of a population sample to render a statistical analysis meaningful.

The only other conclusion I can reach is that food and agricultural production in the other North Wales regions is bordering on negligable.

Anonymous said...

PUCK
I know you have a lot more to offer than just picking up on spelling mistakes. So come on lets have your take on saving Anglesey from total abyss.

Anonymous said...

What's happened to the £150 + million already pumped into Holyhead?

The Red Flag said...

What's happened to the £150 + million already pumped into Holyhead?

Was it ever pumped into Holyhead? With a population of around 13K you could have given every man, woman, child and infant 11.5K to bugger off and closed Holyhead down completely.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if a lot of this 150M disappears into companies that bend the rules as to the exact definaition of what's to be done with it and as a result a lot of it vanishes out of Holyhead let alone off the island.

A lot of it is also spent on ill-thought out schemes such as Parc Cybi and other 'Sprngfioeld Monorail' projects as well I should imagine.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't just a spelling mistake though,was it. It was the use of an entirely different elephant*




* I know I meant word not elephant but I can't be arsed to read through my contribution to see if it makes pickles

Puck said...

Anon 15.55 said: "I know you have a lot more to offer than just picking up on spelling mistakes"

Puck says - Only this particular spelling mistake.

"So come on lets have your take on saving Anglesey from total abyss".

Pucks says: "..." that's it! (Seriously)

As my name suggests I'm not here to make serious comments -:

"Some people call me the space cowboy
Some call me the gangster of love ..."

"'Cause' I'm a picker
I'm a grinner
I'm a lover
And I'm a sinner
playin'my music in the sun
I'm a joker
I'm a ....."

I'm sure you can hum the rest.

;) said...

"saving Anglesey from total abyss"

A fine example of an oxymoron.*






* An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines normally-contradictory terms. - Wikipedia

Idiots Unite said...

"Wasn't just a spelling mistake"...It was an Oxymoron Elephant? Say's it all for me.

Anonymous said...

The old abyss, we have gone over it people, it's too late to pray and too late to cry, we are all going to hit rock bottom, and then we will see who survives and who doesn't. At the very moment Carl Sargeant and that report will not save us, nor will it save our future, at the end of the day, the pot is empty, and the only way is to look after yourself. If we involve politics we get lost we know who to blame, we blame the fools who refused to invest in the people and the Country, I blame the Welsh Assembly, they employ them, they pay them, and we don't want them. They steered us to the abyss, and pushed us clean over.

Anonymous said...

RHOSNEIGR has a new Councillor, Mr Drew, no less. His campaign to save the Library if elected, certainly stood him in good stead, that's why I voted for him.

Clive McGregor the Leader of the council and his Group want the library closed so to see someone opposing such a move and winning the RHOSNEIGR seat would appear not to go down to well at all.

But wait a minuet, after a meeting with David Bowles we now find that Cllr Drew has joined McGregor's little Group, so has Cllr Drew turned turtle or is he going to defy the Term of Engagement and get himself kick back out of the group as a trouble maker?
All very interesting

Anonymous said...

Today's article from Welse Online: Anglesey is now officially the worst place to find work, embarrassing for the minister, they say.

“That the jobseekers to vacancies ratio in Wales is worst in the Minister for Economy’s own constituency is clear evidence that Ieuan Wyn Jones has no idea how to approach this problem."

Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business-in-wales/business-news/2010/12/02/ieuan-s-anglesey-seat-worst-place-to-find-work-91466-27752590/#ixzz16yhZw1eF

Anonymous said...

Recovery would mean the Welsh Assembly taking over, prolonged suffering and massive poverty, let it stay the same.

Pucks mate said...

Anon 17 46

"But wait a minuet, after a meeting with David Bowles we now find that Cllr Drew has joined McGregor's little Group,"

A minuet? Led you a merry dance then?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

We will never win, we will always be second best, who do I refer to? You and I the voter. As long as we have a vision we can write here what we want and what we expect, we can only hope that the readers can have faith in us the writers, we are the future of Anglesey, not the Council, they are constantly humiliated, they are a sham.

Anonymous said...

For all the talk we had here about Tourism I perked up when I heard a BBC Wales News trailer regarding tourism specifically on Anglesey.

Lovely aerial shot.....of Llandudo!!!!

voice on the street said...

We're not being told anything we don't already know. Why try to make a big deal out of something really old. Holyhead town is such a sad place. I live near enough to pop in but far enough away to aviod the depression. Those elected to represent the town are pathetic. They may well be living there in body, but in mind they have villas in the sun. I makes one feel like becoming an active political activist rather than a cyber shouting, writng and blighting(Something that impairs growth, withers hopes and ambitions, or impedes progress and prosperity)outsider. I'm fairly new to this blogshere arena and have already had my eyes opened. Cheers Druid

Anonymous said...

To voice on the street.

For years we have endured untold suffering and have been neglected, are we talking the same as all of us, the same language, the language of change? We are heading for a massive meltdown, the abyss, call it what you like, but at the end of the day, we are in this together, it's only us that can pull this Island around.

Believe me, the Politicans have failed, Labour, Plaid Cymru have left this Island in a hell of a state, Holyhead, once proud town, is now in it's death throes, the last time I saw a town in that state it was called Warsaw, and the krauts were flattening it, today, it has been systematically reduced to a ruin by political incompetence, interferring and bad decisions led and made by an incapable Council.

The facts are simple, we are alone, we are on our own, it's only us that can turn this Island around, and if you think Holyhead is bad, please remember that Holyhead is a barometer for the whole of Anglesey, that's why we are on our knees, praying for change, praying for wisdom, praying for a way out of this living hell!

Anonymous said...

"Do we need any more evidence"

What's portrayed here, if true, and I don't doubt it one bit, takes me back to Germany in the 1930's, a very dangerous place to be particularly if you were a Jew or had a different view than that of the Oppressors.

If democracy on Anglesey is to survive, David Bowles and his Puppet Alliance will need to be dealt with and dealt with swiftly. Failure to do so will see the end of Anglesey County Council forever.

More importantly it will never see inward investment from serious business people whilst the Island's council is being run by trouble making socio-paths, void of conscience with only their own back pockets in mind.

One only has to see how much David Bowles is being paid, whilst at the same time his only attributes to date have caused more trouble on Anglesey that at any-time since the County Council came into being. As for the Terms of Fascism, call them what you will, they are a national disgrace and the whirlwind of democracy will have its vengeance and it won't be very nice.

SmAcK HeAd said...

Hey Puck and his Mate.

I think someone doing it on
perrr-puss just to wind you up.

Anonymous said...

The people won't listen they are as indifferent as the Council, as long as the people ignore their own neighbours and try to exist on the breadline, the Council will continue to do as it pleases, and that is to dictate policies and procedures that will continue to stagnate economic growth and hinder the prospects of it's own people.
Tourism isn't real jobs, it's just a bonus, what we need is a voice to force radical change, to focus the people, to make the people realise that being second best isn't the option, the option is to be treated fairly, squarley and humanely, all the traits that we don't get any more.

Bring on change!!!

Anonymous said...

As far as I can see Holyhead deserves to be at the bottom of the pile.
From my experience of living in / close to the town all they do in the Town is whinge about Stena and AAM ( at least until they Bu**ered off) and knock any developer who comes anywhere near the place with any new investment idea , as if beggars have a choice .

Why they hell would anyone invest in a place that makes life so difficult – better to go to Bangor and invest there wouldn’t you say .

‘The Bangor University-led Pontio project will receive £12.5m from the European Regional Development Fund, and £15m from the Welsh Assembly Government towards the £37m’ cost

...... and as for the local AM and MP - what a joke they both are.

Anonymous said...

Please could anyone name any large employer that would or could come to Anglesey to help us out?

Difficult isn't it, an impossible question, don't you see, that's the point, who would come here and start a new enterprise, when we are all so lost.

Call Centres... where would we site them..who would come?

Manufacturers.. cheaper to import.

The answer is out there, but I need help to make a change, I'm my own man, I don't have allegiance to any political party, all I'm doing is trying to save my fellow man and my country.

Anonymous said...

Red Flag 'With a population of around 13K you could have given every man, woman, child and infant 11.5K to bugger off and closed Holyhead down completely.'


What a ignorant knob !!!!

Anonymous said...

'Please could anyone name any large employer that would or could come to Anglesey to help us out?'

Did'nt I see something about a proposed development on the waterfront which might create jobs .... no doubt they will get a rough time by IoACC and the local tribes and bail out .

Insider. said...

Wasn't there a major car making company coming to Anglesey to build it's new electric car, bringing well paid jobs galore, until some council tosser knackered the whole thing up?

Anonymous said...

Yes it was IWJ that f..k.d that up and now the company has taken it's £100m investment else where.
All will be revealed shortly.

richard sletzer said...

Sorry guys - and sorry Ieuan - but I'm afraid none of these ideas is going to work.

It is daft for politicians to try to pick winning companies or winning sectors. They will ALWAYS get it wrong.

There is only one policy which will solve Anglesey's problems - Anglesey should be declared a "Special Economic Area".

This "SEA" area could then apply the following measures:-
Corporation Tax = 12.5% (same as Ireland)
VAT = 17.5%
Income Tax top rate = 45%
Menai Bridge tolls = £35 for lorries headed for or originating from Ireland.

kp said...

I like that idea Richard Sletzer.

And it is the only thing a politician should be doing in respect of business.

Never read such complete and utter rubbish from this Druid fellow .... and he calls himself a conservative. Idiotic. Anglesey does not deserve his 'meddling' stupidity in much the same way that Bedford does not deserve the equally daft Nadine Dorries (on tonight's Question Time prog).

Anonymous said...

Richard sletzer said...
Menai Bridge tolls = £35 for lorries headed for or originating from Ireland.


Barking .... unless of course you intend to apply the same toll for Ireland bound lorries going to Liverpool,Heysham, Fishguard ,Stranrar etc etc ports

Richard Sletzer said...

ANONYMOUS: Well - I understand the point you make.

But remember that to most transcontinental truck drivers Anglesey is nothing more than a stretch of road to or from the ferry.

If you think the toll is too high then why not equalise it to the level of the Severn Bridge? That's £16.40 per crossing for trucks.

I doubt very much if transport companies would divert via any other ports just to avoid paying sixteen quid.

To avoid the infrastructure costs of course - we could just impose the charge on the ferry companies - who would then pass it on to their truck customers.

Why should Europe's truckers just use Anglesey for nothing?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Photon said...

Yes Druid, but what exactly are you going to be doing to reduce the complexity of Glastir? Why, indeed, are you supporting the input of public money to farmers, who are after all private businesses? Will you widen subsidy/grants/call them what you will so that ALL small and medium sized businesses can benefit in the same way?

Let's face it, supporting inefficient and inflexible farmers will get you lots of votes. Justifying why the flogged working class should be propping them up is altogether a more difficult exercise.

Let's see: Total EU budget - about 140 billion Euro per year. How much goes to prop-up farmers? 42% of all that money - a staggering 59 billion - 59 thousand million Euro.

Now, what was that Tory idea about cutting the cost of the state again?

Insider said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Red Flag said...

Red Flag 'With a population of around 13K you could have given every man, woman, child and infant 11.5K to bugger off and closed Holyhead down completely.'

What a ignorant knob !!!!


Really? Is it true or not. Does 150M equate to around 11.5K per person. Yes or no.

It's you who are ignorant. You lack sufficient depth to realise that that is an illustration in real terms of the actual quantity of money that has supposedly been put into Holyhead and to what effect?

It is you who is actually the ignorant knob.

not only but also said...

Having not really read any of the above comments, sorry may I change the subject..

One of the best programmes at the moment on S4C is Rownd a Rownd, a program based around fictional characters living in Porthaethwy.

I think the island should build on this, and make the island an attractive choice for TV programs and filmmakers. We have a wonderful coastline for dramatic scenery and the Anglesey Central Railway could be hired out as a film set?

Of course coupled with a successful TV and Film production base are the supporting roles in example see: http://menaioysters.co.uk/news.aspx - were they supply a tractor and trailer for filming.

yspryd nora isaacs said...

Piss poor acting.

And some of the kids sren't all that good at it either!

Anonymous said...

"Call Centres... where would we site them..who would come?"

Where do you think call centres are already? Usually in reasonably easily accessible places where premises and employees are reasonably cheap and the relevant languages are widely spoken (Welsh? On Anglesey?). If Pembroke Dock can have a one thousand person call centre (as they did before ITV Digital went bust, maybe they still do) Anglesey surely could manage a rather smaller one (or better, two unrelated smaller ones) to employ a couple of hundred people for starters? Who would it be for? Well for a start any of the various customer-facing corporates that have finally realised that offshore outsourcing doesn't always work, organisations that have spotted that outfits like Smile and First Direct, with properly run UK call centres, can consistently come top of customer satisfaction tables.

In fact as this is the 21st Century you don't necessarily even need all your call centre workers to be in a physical call centre; working from home via broadband at least part of the time may suit some.

But it would take time and effort from someone with a clue to make things happen. Not necessarily something a 'business supremo' would handle directly, but the Business Czar (ArchDruid?) would work with someone who knew what attracted call centre operators and where they looked for info (tradeshows etc) when setting up new ones, and would make sure Anglesey got on the shortlists. It wouldn't be easy but it wouldn't be impossible either.

"make the island an attractive choice for TV programs and filmmakers."

Why not. It seems to have worked for the likes of Balamory and (in a slightly different way) Portmeirion.

"The Isle of Man in the 60's employed Mr T V Bond"

Wow. Never expected to hear that name again - but I do remember it, and that shows it worked (although I've never been to the Isle of Man so maybe it didn't work all that well).

Anonymous said...

@Anon 17:03.

Parc Cybi could be uased to build Call Centres but while it is fair to say that the jobs would be much needed, it's also fair to say that Call Centre jobs are not going to make that much of a difference to the local economy as the wage levels are to low. (for example the one in the port pays a tad under 14K).

So yes there are locations, Yes the jobs are needed, Yes they should be done but no if you think they will make a lot of difference.

Anonymous said...

Aaah but money is money and the economy would benefitm any job relocated to Anglesey is better than none, don't you agree Druid?

Druid, when you lived in Frankfurt, I lived in Trier, the national identity the Germans used to promote their country and culture is missing here on Anglesey or am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Anon 18:39 aah but money is money and the economy would benefit

Is not strictly truw. The spending power of someone on that low a wage is not that greater than someone on benefits because they lose things like housing benefits.

On the plus side though it'll piss the BTL landlords off because haviong a proportionally high level of people in low income jobs drives down rents - and house prices.

kp said...

Ah ha, now I think I understand the Druid's dislike of the English and all things English.

The Germans must have made him feel
so unwelcome whilst living over there he chose to flee home. And now he tries to do the same thing to the English here on Anglesey.

Understandable but unforgivable.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 17:24 (here is Anon 17:03 again)

I agree entirely re poor wages in some (many? most?) call centres. Which is why I mentioned First Direct and Smile, two successful call centre operators who (afaik) are offering rather better than minimum wage (and conditions) in order to ensure they stay at the top in their market. Not everyone works that way.

Is there not also some (limited) proportion of better paid jobs in any call centre - supervisory/management hierarchy, trainers, technojobs, that kind of thing? An ex-colleague of mine moved from an admin role in a corporate to a call centre supervisory role and got a huge pay rise (in Germany though).

Anyway, you're right, near-minimum wage jobs are indeed a last resort. But are year-round near-minimum wage jobs a step up from seasonal (tourist) minimum wage jobs? Better suggestions always welcome but better paid jobs often require specific skills in the workforce, and they don't happen overnight. Even call centre staff need training if you want happy callers.

First Direct have a big call centre in Leeds, where HQ is. Less obviously, they have quite a sizeable centre in Hamilton in Scotland. If it works there, what does Anglesey need so it can work for/on Anglesey too?

Anonymous said...

Interesting about the call centres. Anon 17:24 cites the port's call centre and mentions wages of 'a tad under 14K'. Anon 10:05 mentions ancilliary jobs assoscited with the actual call agents.

From my knowledge, there are amongst the whole call centre staffonly 2 that earn over 18K - the boss and the tech boss. Most (around three quarters) are 'a tad under 14K' then a few sort of in the 14K-16K range, 3 around the 17K mark and then the two bosses.

Anon 20:05 also mentions Leeds etc. The diference there is that there are an awful lot more jobs covering a far wider spectrum and as aresult it's easier to move around, change direction etc etc.

Whereas in Holyhead it's dead mans shoes nowadays.

The Red Flag said...

Anons, you could also argue that Tescos helps in that although they pay bad, they give the staff such a good discount that that releases more of their wage into the local economy at large.

It's as broad as it is long atthe end of the day - there's no escaping from the fact that the wages on the oisland are to low and building call centres and atracting Kentucky Froed Chickens is not going to solve the problem unless you attract that many that we end up with a local labour shortage so that employers have to start out-bidding each other for staff.

You could even argue that tax credits artificially warps the wage market and encourages employers to pay low wages knowing that the tax credit system will pick up the slack.

The bottom, line is we need serious major investment and an equally serious number of skilled well paying jobs.

Something needs doing or in another couple of years no-one will want to come and set up here because the skill base will be catastrophically low and that in turn will further depress the wage levels of what there is.

Anonymous said...

North-South Wales air service subsidy rises to £1.2m

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-11904955

"This air link joining north and south Wales has proved itself to be an efficient, reliable and popular service," said Mr Jones.

If that were true mate then it would be able to at least break-even then wouldn't it.

Anonymous said...

"holyhead call centre (Stena)"

It's a few dozen people, it's no great surprise that only a handful of them earn half decent wages: (1) the call centre is not core to the Stena business, it does not differentiate them from their competitors (unlike FD and Smile) (2) as call centres go, it's small. If Pembroke and Hamilton can have thousand-seat ones, why can't Anglesey have one or two medium size **quality focused** ones (with better than average wages)?

"skilled well paying jobs."

What skills are on offer on Anglesey in reasonable quantity, right now and in the next year or two? Aluminium smelting and light electrical manufacturing, and allied skills, are presumably available. Nuclear power operations will soon be available. What else?

What significant skills (what services, etc) is Anglesey having to import from the mainland that could better be provided locally? What stops them being provided locally in the short term? Lack of premises? Lack of funding? Lack of skills?

In the medium term, what's the big plan for jobs? The plan, not the 'vision'. Visions aren't for real, but real jobs are what's needed. Sooner the better, even if in the short term they aren't all that well paid??????

Think twice about Tesco jobs though. Far too much risk of displacing existing local retail jobs and getting starvation wages in return, and of Tesco playing silly bounders with their planning agreements - after the Council think the deal is sealed, suddenly the Tesco contribution mystically needs to be halved... every Lidl helps, and better still, how's Aldi doing (graduate starting salaries of £40K [1] - but there won't be many of those on Anglesey).

Small and medium businesses, not necessarily in retail and definitely not the likes of Tesco, are where the answer lies. But on the whole they are invisible from a distance...


[1] http://www.graduates.aldirecruitment.co.uk/the_rewards/index.asp

Prometheuswrites said...

This article will no doubt be of interest.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-11914187

"Gwynedd and Anglesey told to find ways of collaborating"

Paul Williams said...

Promo - "I'm trying to reconcile the data given above that "Anglesey has the highest proportion of people working in the Agriculture sector in North Wales" with the data you gave on earlier blog posts regarding the huge drop in farming activites on Anglesey (60 - 80% off the top of my head)."

It is the 'economic output' of farming in N.Wales, as measured by industry GVA figures which has fallen by some 67% percent between 1997-2007, compared to an overall 7% decline overall in the UK. This does not necessarily represent a reduction in 'farming activities', it just means that the value of faming activities has dropped. According to the figures some 7% of all persons employed in Anglesey are employed in fields relating to Agriculture - the highest such proportion in N.Wales.

Paul Williams said...

Richard Sletzer

"Sorry guys - and sorry Ieuan - but I'm afraid none of these ideas is going to work. It is daft for politicians to try to pick winning companies or winning sectors. They will ALWAYS get it wrong."

Just to be clear: It is IWJ, through his 6 favoured sectors in the Economic Renewal Programme, who is trying to "pick winners". I would prefer WAG business support to be equally available to all small Welsh businesses irrespective of what sector they are in.

Paul Williams said...

Photon

"Yes Druid, but what exactly are you going to be doing to reduce the complexity of Glastir? Why, indeed, are you supporting the input of public money to farmers, who are after all private businesses? Will you widen subsidy/grants/call them what you will so that ALL small and medium sized businesses can benefit in the same way?"

I have repeatedly argued on this blog that the Business support in Wales shouldn't be confined to just the 6 favoured ERP sectors, but should be equally available to all Welsh SMEs. Regarding Glastir, it obviously needs to be simplified and I would support that.

"Let's see: Total EU budget - about 140 billion Euro per year. How much goes to prop-up farmers? 42% of all that money - a staggering 59 billion - 59 thousand million Euro."

To be fair CAP expenditure has reduced from almost 75% of the total EU budget 25 years ago to 41% now. It is estimated to further reduce to 39% by 2013 and continue a downwards trend thereafter through CAP reform. Furthermore, income support is being reduced with much more emphasis is being placed on 'greening', i.e. creating and supporting a sustainable environment. You may see farmers as 'inefficient' but I don't really believe we want to see some of the more 'efficient', i.e. intensive farming methods such as the 'super dairy' farm proposed in Lincolnshire which will keep up to 9,000 cattle indoors all year round: see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lincolnshire/8547350.stm

not only but also said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
not only but also said...

yspryd nora isaacs said...

"Piss poor acting. And some of the kids aren’t all that good at it either!"

I disagree, it is an excellent program that gives ‘hyder’ to a number of kids and employment to many people on the islands.

We can do without your negativity thank you very much!

Nid wyf yn hapus o gwbwl!!.

Prometheuswrites said...

Thank you for answering my question Paul.

However, this highlights the problem for me of how we choose to interprete available statistics. (Farming output vs. Agricultural activity). The problem being the available statistics are compiled according to parameters and measures other than the ones I want to examine.

It would be nice to have access to the raw data - however we'd also need to know how to run an SPSS or somesuch statistical analysis programme - beyond most of our abilities, (my own included).

Still at the end of the day we can always offer a critical commentary on the presentation of the data and the conclusions drawn. :)

Paul Williams said...

Prometheus - you can find the raw data here:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=14650

You need to click on the NUTS 3 GVA link and then select section NUTS3:4, scroll down about 3/4s of the page to find Anglesey.

Photon said...

Druid: In fairness, you have indeed espoused the benefits of supporting a wide range of SMEs and so on. Fair enough comment.

No, I certainly don't want to see super farms, but I also don't want to see 'gimme a CAP handout for doing bugger all' attitudes continue, either.

Ultimately, it's the consumer who is driving these things: we want cheap food, but then scream (for a while) when super indoor farms come along. Personally, I think the consumer will tend to choose low price over welfare most of the time.

Anonymous said...

"Personally, I think the consumer will tend to choose low price over welfare most of the time. "

In general, you're right. But the success of Farmers Markets and continuing success of award-winning regional-produce-focused supermarkets like Booths in Lancashire and Cumbria proves that (in some places at least) there is also a viable market for quality product. Let's not dismiss it. (Obviously it helps if people can afford the prices for quality food, which leads us right back to decent wages and decent jobs...).

http://www.booths.co.uk/awards.htm

;) said...

Improving Tourism.

"TripAdvisor chief meets unhappy north Wales hoteliers"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-11911266

Modern technology means that customers get to have a say. No more pages torn out of the guest book then.

And an end to that renowned North Wales traditional dish "Cawl y Scowl"

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Anonymous said...

TOURISM & HOTELS

Where on Anglesey does one pay the most for cold meals servied by indifferent staff ?

Grumpy

Prometheuswrites said...

Druid: "You need to click on the NUTS 3 GVA link and then select section NUTS3:4, scroll down about 3/4s of the page to find Anglesey".

Thanks for the link - a far-ranging if a little bewildering data spread.

Yes, Anglesey doesn't do well by industry sector (NUTS3:4) but it does better when you look at (RN3:3 Revisions) - Headline1 GVA2 per head indices at current basic prices.

We may be flat-lining, but at least we're not into negative figures like other parts of Wales.

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