Tomorrow (Saturday 9 April) First Minister Carwyn Jones will join Welsh Labour candidates from across the south Wales Valleys at a rally in Merthyr to set out Welsh Labour’s vision for our Valleys communities.
The First Minister will announce a Ministerial Taskforce for the Valleys that will support economic development. Our vision is of an active and agile body and not a bureaucratic quango. The terms of reference will include:
- to further economic development and regeneration;
- to promote business efficiency and competitiveness;
- to promote employment;
- to enhance the development and application of skills relevant to employment, and
- to contribute to sustainable development.
Speaking to Valleys members, First Minister Carwyn Jones will say:
“I am announcing today that if Labour is returned to Government on the 5th May, I will establish a Ministerial Taskforce for the Valleys.
“We know that the challenges we face require coordinated action.
“The Heads of the Valleys programme which operated for a decade under Welsh Labour Ministers provided effective leadership and coordination for part of this area.
“The Western Valleys Strategic Regeneration Area aligned with this.
“A new Valleys programme needs however to be both broader and more flexible and we therefore support the creation of a Ministerial Taskforce to lead, drive forward and coordinate actions alongside the Cardiff Capital City Region and Swansea Bay City Region programmes.
“Specifically, we would like the Ministerial Taskforce to bring together existing businesses, local government, third sector, civic organisations into developing a cohesive plan to promote the region for investment, to co-ordinate better existing investment, and to tackle the social problems in the area which usually have as a core feature, transport, housing and social deprivation.”
Carwyn Jones will also take on the negativity from Plaid Cymru and UKIP about Valleys communities, and say that the region had a bright future:
"I do want to challenge the relentless pessimism that we hear from Plaid Cymru and UKIP representatives in the valleys. To listen to them, you’d think that nothing ever happened here.
"Well, it’s our job to put them right. Because what we have been doing in the Valleys is investing in them. Investing in the buildings. Investing in the infrastructure. Investing in the people."