Plaid Cymru’s Arfon AM is raising concerns about the Welsh Labour Government’s planned closure of its Caernarfon office later on this year (2018.) Figures revealed by Plaid Cymru show that Caernarfon has lost 42.8% of its Welsh Government office jobs since 2010.
The Labour Government now intends sell off the building in Penrallt with Government staff being transferred to rented accommodation near Victoria Dock prompting concerns about long-term Welsh government employment prospects in Caernarfon.
The fall in Caernarfon Welsh Government jobs is greater than the Welsh average of 18.29%, demonstrating a record of neglect from the Labour Government. In 2010, a combined total of 133 people were employed by the government in Caernarfon. Penrallt is now the only remaining Welsh Government office in the town, and hosts 76 workers.
Plaid Cymru is urging the Labour administration not to use its move to a new office to make further cuts to its presence in the town.
Sian Gwenllian AM said:
“Moving the government jobs to rented accommodation has set the alarm bells ringing locally, especially as we have lost far more jobs from the town in comparison to other areas.
“Plaid Cymru has a range of positive solutions to rebalance Wales. As part of its All-Wales Agenda, the party would legislate to ensure that public expenditure was distributed fairly and evenly throughout the country. The party would look to create more national institutions based in the north, and would encourage and incentivise the private and voluntary sectors to distribute their jobs more evenly.
Hywel Williams, MP said:
“It is imperative that none of the jobs are lost from Caernarfon, especially as the town is in the Welsh-speaking heartland and given the Government’s ambition of creating a million Welsh speakers by 2050. The emphasis should be on strengthening not weakening the economy where the Welsh language is vibrant and is used in the workplace. The Government should be aspiring to ensure quality jobs in the Welsh heartland. What kind of message does selling the only remaining Government building signal for the town and for the Welsh language?
Sian Gwenllian AM continued:
“The Welsh Government had an initial commitment to roll out its workforce across the country, targeting north Wales, the valleys and central Wales. Plaid Cymru stood fully behind this strategy as we insist that the benefits of devolution must be shared to the Welsh regions. But in Caernarfon, we have seen 57 posts moved elsewhere in the past seven years. While the overall number of civil service jobs has gone down due to austerity, the fall in Caernarfon is far greater than the national and north Wales averages.
“The Labour Government is putting cost-cutting before community. I am seeking urgent assurances that the move to new rented premises in Caernarfon is not used an excuse to take more jobs out of the town.
“Plaid Cymru has positive solutions to this and an opposite vision to Labour. We have made a commitment to legislate when we get into government, so that there is a law specifying that public resource must be distributed fairly across the country. We are the only party pledging to take this action, and we need to be building up Caernarfon to be part of a major urban centre of the north-west. That means high quality jobs and spending power needs to be kept in the town.
“Plaid Cymru believes in serving all parts of Wales equally – north and south, urban and rural. We believe that new national institutions should be set up in the north, and that public and private sectors should be incentivised to move jobs here. This stands in contrast to the shameful record of the current Labour Government and its cabinet, who have slashed their presence in north Wales.”