jobs plea for Anglesey
EMPLOYERS’ organisation CBI is calling on whichever party comes to power in next month’s Welsh Assembly elections to make protection of threatened jobs on Anglesey a top priority.
There are fears that the planned shutdown of the island’s Wylfa nuclear power station in 2010 and the uncertain future of Holyhead-based smelter Anglesey Aluminium could virtually collapse the local economy.
North Wales CBI chairman Brian Lee said that whoever holds the levers of power in the Welsh Assembly Government after the May elections must heed local business needs.
“We must make sure that North Wales is not left out on a limb as has happened in the past on numerous occasions,” he said.
“There are over 1,000 good jobs at Wylfa and Anglesey Aluminum and I really do think we have to maintain those jobs or replace them.,
“This is something we have to nail the politicians down on. They have to make every effort – right up to the wire.”
Assembly enterprise minister Andrew Davies has already pledged that some of the £1.3bn convergence funding for West Wales and the Valleys will be spent on the new Môn a Menai regeneration initiative launched by WAG and local authorities, although detailed plans have yet to emerge.
CBI Wales, in its manifesto for the forthcoming Assembly elections, calls on politicians and candidates to demonstrate that devolution can deliver for the people and economy of Wales.
Speaking exclusively to Business Post, Mr Lee said: “I think the Assembly has a long way to go yet before it is seen as business friendly – I think it would like to be but has not yet got around to it.”
He said planning was a case in point and it was imperative the Assembly gets local authorities to speed up their handling of planning applications – vital when companies consider investment decisions. In that respect, added Mr Lee, North Wales fared badly compared to neighbouring English authorities, on Merseyside, for example, which were far quicker off the mark in issuing planning decisions.
Mr Lee, managing director of Sandycroft-based Allan Morris Transport, is also calling on the new Assembly makeup from May to consider boosting transport infrastructure in North Wales.
He said that there was a strong case for transporting more goods in and out of the region through ports at Holyhead, Mostyn and Bangor.
The carbon footprint of sea transport was virtually nil compared to road, rail or air, he said, adding that the key to getting more goods in and out by ship was an integrated transport system in which goods landed at a quayside could be easily transferred to road or rail.