Valleys Taskforce Must Do Better, Says Leanne

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Rhondda AM Leanne Wood has echoed the verdict of a leading think tank which has said the Valleys Taskforce lacks ambition.

The Bevan Foundation delivered a damning verdict of the progress and ambitions of the taskforce which was set up by the Labour Local Government Minister Alun Davies.

Dr Victoria Winckler, the Foundation’s director, said the target to get 7,000 people into work across the valleys is “around about the numbers achieved over the last few years and if we carry on doing more of the same, the valleys won't change."

She also said she was "puzzled" how the Welsh Government could live with deprivation virtually on its doorstep without sufficient proposals to deliver investment and skills.

In response to the Bevan Foundation’s conclusions, Leanne said: “I agree with many of the points that have been raised about the Valleys Taskforce. The aim of creating 7,000 jobs across the taskforce area by 2021 may sound good but it’s miniscule when you consider that 22,000 new jobs were created across the local authorities in the former coalfields of south Wales between 2011 and 2016.

“There has to be much more ambition if real change is to be delivered in the south Wales valleys and reverse generations of neglect. The taskforce’s aims barely paper over the cracks in our local economy.

“Until the taskforce has a budget and real power it will not usher in the new dawn it is promising to deliver.”

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