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Valleys Breakfast

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Rhondda MS Leanne Wood Calls on Welsh Government for Investment in Rhondda

Written by on 8th June 2020

Leanne Wood, The Member of Senedd for the Rhondda has written to the WelshGovernment to call for more investment for the Rhondda after two of its town were listed as being most vulnerable to the economic fall-out from coronavirus.

Both Porth and Tonypandy were named in research conducted by The Centre for Towns as being in the top 20 of places in Wales and England that could be worst exposed to a downturn.

 On numerous occasions in the past, Leanne Wood MS has called upon the Labour Government in Wales to provide real investment in the Rhondda. So far, there has been no real direct investment in anything announced by the Welsh Government’s Valleys Taskforce.

In correspondence to the First Minister this week, Leanne wrote: ‘Both towns (Porth and Tonypandy) – like the rest of both Rhondda valleys – have suffered many years of neglect and under investment. The pattern continues to this day. As you know from my many questions to you and your colleagues, I have been disappointed at the lack of any direct benefit for the Rhondda from the Valleys Taskforce.

‘This is in contrast to the job creation investments worth tens of millions of pounds for Blaenau Gwent which, like the Rhondda, also has two towns in the top 20 most vulnerable to the economic fall-out from coronavirus. You will recall questions I have asked about contracts for public sector uniforms which could have been awarded to a collective co-operative of workers with connections to the former Burberry factory in the Rhondda. I do not raise this to take investment away from one part of Wales and I never have. I am merely pointing out the stark contrast in the different treatment between two similar constituencies and I am standing up for well-deserved investment for my constituency.’  

She added:  ‘I back fully the Welsh Government’s stated aim to create ‘better jobs closer to home’ as advocated by the Wales TUC. In June 2018, in her role as Leader of the House and Chief Whip, Julie James reiterated the government’s commitment to this policy, saying this was an instruction to “spread opportunity across all parts of Wales and to use every devolved lever at our disposal to creatively support that ambition.”

‘In light of this aim – and the new knowledge and understanding we have about people’s ability to work from home as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, will you please outline what special measures, policies or investments can we expect to see for the Rhondda that will bring jobs closer to home?

‘At present, many thousands of people are forced to travel into Cardiff or further afield for work. More jobs could be provided within the Rhondda, travel time can be cut down and quality of lives can be improved.’

Afterwards, Leanne said: “The Rhondda is crying out for new investment and jobs. It is bizarre that the area has been ignored for so long, especially since the establishment of the Valleys Taskforce.

“It is time the Labour First Minister followed the guiding principles of his own government and sought to provide the better jobs, closer to home that our communities in the Rhondda are crying out for.”