As you may have noticed the amount of new blogposts by myself has decreased over the last couple of months or so. This has been due the demands of campaigning: including attending various hustings, public meetings, and, most importantly, the pounding of pavements all over Sir Fôn actually meeting people and businesses.
Over the last year and a half I have chronicled through this blog the economic, civic, and social problems faced by the Ynys Môn. This Island has over the the past ten years lost over 2,100 private-sector jobs – the equivalent of the entire population of Beaumaris. Well known companies which survived the recession of the 1980s and 90s, which have provided stable, well paid work for generations of Islanders have in recent years closed in rapid succession:
- The Octel chemical plant in Amlwch began production in 1953 and continued through the 80s and 90s (under various different names) until it closed in 2005 with a loss of 110 jobs.
- The Peboc Eastman chemical plant in Llangefni was established in 1970, continued production all through the 80s and 90s, and only closed its doors in 2008 with a loss of 100 jobs
- Anglesey Aluminium started smelting in 1971 and continued production all the way through the 80s and 90s, only closing with a loss of 400 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 just three months after Anglesey Aluminium in December 2009 with a loss of 250 jobs
And these are just the big companies, countless other small local businesses and shops have also gone out of business – as witnessed by the numbers of empty fonts on the high streets of our main towns. As a result Ynys Môn is, according to the Office for National Statistics, now firmly planted at the bottom of the UK's prosperity league table with a GVA per head figure of just half of the national average. The case for economic support for Ynys Môn is clear and apparent, yet when the Welsh Assembly Government distributes its business support funding we discover that Ynys Môn, like much of North Wales, receives well below the average spend per head:
|Total business grants received by each local authority per head of population|
since introduction of Economic Renewal Programme in July 2010
click to enlarge
Agriculture has also been hard hit, with the economic contribution of agriculture on the Island having declined by 68 percent over the ten years up to 2007. This has directly affected the Welsh Country Foods abattoir and meat-packaging plant in Gaerwen (where, incidentally, I found my first paid job). It began operating back in 1980s and continued throughout that decade and the 1990s and only began downsizing in 2009 with a loss of 200 jobs; the 'Chuckies' chicken processing plant in Llangefni was established even earlier and also continued production throughout the 80s and 90s, until it lost a whole shift (140 jobs) in 2009. Where is Môn Mam Cymru now?
And then we come to the Council. With the recent appointment of the Commissioners by WAG, Ynys Môn has now suffered the most stringent local government intervention ever seen in the Wales. The political problems at the council could and should have been sorted out 15 years ago, not allowed to fester and continue until this point. Will the latest intervention solve the problems? To be frank the latest signs are not encouraging at all.
This election gives us a real chance to draw a line under the past. If like me you feel strongly about the decline of Ynys Môn and think we need a new representative in the Welsh Assembly , then I would like to ask you to join my campaign and help rebuild our Island.
As we move into the last week of the campaign if you would like to take part and help by...
- delivering leaflets
- canvassing door to door or by telephone
- putting a sign in your window
...or in any other way, then please use the 'contact me' section above and get in touch!