The Covid pandemic has led many of us to step back and take a fresh look at our lives and how our society works.
I wanted to better understand how our local economy works for us, so I recently commissioned independent research into the Cynon Valley, after Coronavirus.
I’m delighted to be able to share the results with you now.
The experts at the Bevan Foundation are clear that Cynon Valley requires more than just a ‘return to normal’, we need to go much further than that.
Our communities were built on a small number of massive employers. When the mines closed, we tried to replace them like for like, competing to bring in big employers from elsewhere.
The fact is we now have an economy of small and micro-businesses. Businesses with maybe only two, three, four employees. These are the bedrock of our economy now and we need to embrace that fact.
We need more of them. So we need an economy that makes it easier to start a small business and an infrastructure geared towards small businesses that supports them and helps them to thrive.
We need better jobs closer to home, not faster access to big warehouses an hour’s drive away. We need a resilient and rooted local economy, so that money circulates for longer in everyday businesses and isn’t lost to big companies.
We need to maximise incomes, meaning more local spending power for local people.
Crucially, we need to future proof our communities and make Cynon Valley a place that can create and sustain the green jobs of the future.
The Bevan Foundation have taken us so far. Now it’s up to us to turn these recommendations into action.
There’s a lot of work to be done. No one person or organisation can do it alone. If these recommendations become reality, it will be because the people of Cynon Valley made it happen.
That’s why I’m bringing together key people from the public sector, private sector and third sector to work on different sections of the report.
Together, we will turn this research into lasting change and restore pride in our communities.
This is my vision for Cynon Valley. The hard work starts now.