- July 13, 2017
- Posted by: Vikki Howells MS
- Category: Latest News
Vikki Howells, Assembly Member for Cynon Valley, welcomes a new plan to deliver economic change in the South Wales Valleys. Creating thousands of good-quality jobs and helping people access skills training will be at the heart of the plan, announced by the Labour Welsh Government this week.
A year after the Ministerial Taskforce for the South Wales Valleys was launched, the taskforce’s plan – Our Valleys, Our Future – will be published on July 20.
The taskforce was set up to work with communities and local businesses across the South Wales Valleys and aims to deliver lasting economic change; create good-quality jobs closer to people’s homes, improve skill levels and bring prosperity to all.
The taskforce has spent the year taking evidence and listening to people living and working in the Valleys – these #TalkValleys conversations have helped to shape the taskforce’s priorities for the future and Our Valleys, Our Future.
The upcoming plan will build upon infrastructure investments already announced for South Wales, including the Metro, affordable housing and M4 relief road.
Some of the taskforce’s priorities were set out, ahead of the plan’s publication next week;
- Closing the employment gap between the South Wales Valleys and the rest of Wales by getting an additional 7,000 people into work by 2021, and creating thousands of new, fair, secure and sustainable jobs;
- Creating new strategic hubs in six areas across the Valleys, including the new automotive technology business park for Ebbw Vale, announced by Ken Skates last month;
- Exploring the concept of a Valleys Landscape Park, to help local communities build on their many natural assets, including the potential for community energy generation and tourism.
Vikki Howells said:
“The Valleys Task Force has been a really important initiative from the Welsh Government, putting the needs and challenges faced by the communities in the South Wales Valleys at the heart of policy making in Wales.
“The Task Force has been holding evidence sessions across the Valleys, and like many other residents I seized the chance to get involved when they came to Cynon Valley to speak to local people.
“Our Valleys, Our Future is the result of these conversations, and sets out how the Welsh Government believes the opportunities presented by the unprecedented infrastructural investment in South Wales can be maximised to benefit the people living there.
“The Minister recently made a statement on the Task Force’s work in the Welsh Assembly, and I took the opportunity to ask questions around the completion of the dualling of the A465, enhancing public transport links and the role of strategic hubs in boosting prosperity across the Valleys.
“I also suggested that child care and social care are two areas where we can really make significant inroads in lifting up the living standards of many of our working-age population by the creation of sustainable, good-quality jobs.”
- Once the plan is launched, the Taskforce will again ask people for their views over the summer to make sure that these are the right actions for people living in the Valleys. It will spend the summer working on the delivery plan; on targets and outcome measures, which will be published in the autumn.
- The Minister for Skills and Science is setting out the Welsh Government’s new agenda for employability this week. This will widen efforts to support people who are economically inactive into jobs and create better conditions for work. The taskforce will ensure the employability agenda will deliver maximum benefits for the South Wales Valleys.
- The membership of the Taskforce has been extended over the course of the year – new members include Fiona Jones from the Department for Work and Pensions and Gaynor Richards from Neath Port Talbot Council for Voluntary Service.