‘Ambition despite austerity' as Gwynedd launch manifesto


Plaid Cymru has the experience to lead and govern responsibly in Gwynedd

Plaid Cymru in Gwynedd has the experience and ability to lead and govern responsibly in these challenging times. This is the main message from Plaid Cymru Councillors in Gwynedd as they launch their manifesto for Gwynedd Council local elections on 3 May.

Plaid Cymru’s Gwynedd Leader, Councillor Dyfed Edwards, said: “We need experienced hands on the wheel but we also need a party that is determined to drive forward ambitiously for the county and its people, despite the austerity we face and will continue to face in the future. Plaid Cymru is the party with the vision to create a secure future in Gwynedd. Embracing the values of the past ... values that make Gwynedd unique within Wales in its language, culture and landscape, we will build a prosperous future for the people of this county.

Plaid Cymru’s vision in Gwynedd emphasises the strength that comes from being part of a team. Team Gwynedd includes town and community councillors, Assembly Members, Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords and a Member of the European Parliament all working together. Team Gwynedd succeeded in attracting £300 million into the County when Plaid Cymru was sharing power in the Welsh Government.

Councillor Dyfed Edwards went on: “Plaid Cymru’s aim in the election will be to win a majority of seats on Gwynedd Council. One of our priorities will be to ensure that developing the economy is at the forefront of our work, despite the economic climate. There are a number of ways that we can work on this, and one of them is to look at creating opportunities for local companies by reviewing the major contracts awarded by the public sector. Public contracts worth £4 billion are awarded each year in Wales: everything from food for our schools, printing and construction. Since only about half this work comes to companies from Wales, only half of the benefit accrues to workers, owners and the local community. Our aim is to raise this percentage in Gwynedd in order to bring economic benefits to our communities in the county.”

“For children and young people our aim is to improve the attainment of all children whatever their background and circumstances. Our education system should provide an opportunity to produce rounded individuals with a strong sense of belonging. Our aim is to secure a curriculum that is suited to the skills needs of the county’s workforce and encourages entrepreneurship. Plaid Cymru is keen to continue to develop viable rural education for the future and work towards giving every child a fair chance across Gwynedd.”

As Gwynedd Council faces a financial deficit of £38 million, Plaid Cymru councillors have provided wise leadership by tackling this severe problem early on. Plaid Cymru totally disagrees with the cuts but has to find a way forward for the benefit of the people of the county within shrinking budgets. Under the wise leadership of Plaid Cymru, a detailed strategy is now in place to deal with the severe cuts imposed by Westminster. Plaid Cymru has placed the emphasis on working more efficiently rather than cutting services.

The Council was praised for its steadfast leadership in a report by the Wales Audit Office in 2011: "Gwynedd Council has received a positive Annual Improvement Report by the Auditor General. The Council’s planning work for 2011-12 has greatly improved and is based on effective financial management and corporate arrangements that are sound in many respects."

Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn, the Chair of Plaid Cymru in Gwynedd said: “While leading through adversity, Plaid Cymru is also ambitious about the future of the County. We work hard to attract investment from Europe and from the Welsh Government. Only one other council in Wales attracts more money from Europe than Gwynedd. Of course, in the long term the aim is for Gwynedd to be more prosperous so that we will not need the same level of support. Plaid Cymru’s progressive policies will make this the reality.”

One example of an investment made as a result successful collaboration in Gwynedd is the £1.8 million development of the Congl Meinciau Enterprise Centre in the village of Botwnnog on the Llŷn peninsula. The centre was opened in November last year on the site of a former petrol station and the old Congl Meinciau farmhouse. The centre provides a café and facilities for small businesses including a training room. The development also includes 12 affordable houses for local people and this part of the project was completed in March 2011 at a cost of £1.45 million. Priority was given to allowing local people to occupy the houses, people with a connection to the communities of Botwnnog, Aberdaron and Tudweiliog. A linguistic impact assessment showed that the housing scheme had a positive impact on Welsh as a community language. The project was developed by Cymdeithas Tai Eryri in collaboration with Gwynedd Council, Pen Llŷn Communities First and the Welsh Government.

As part of the development work by Cymdeithas Tai Eryri, jobs were secured for local people as the construction contract went to a local firm, Derwen Llŷn Cyf. The centre makes extensive use of renewable energy technologies and has achieved a UK high standard environmentally in the UK.

Councillor Glyn Roberts, who represents the people of Botwnnog on Gwynedd Council, said: “The impact of such an investment in such a rural area as this in Llŷn is incredible. The Enterprise Centre is an invaluable resource for the community, the economy and tourists in the area. The restaurant on the site attracts people from far and wide and it is a bustling and busy site. It is wonderful that we have managed to attract investment to build 12 affordable homes in Botwnnog too in order to safeguard the future of these young families in Llŷn. It is marvellous to see that we as Councillors can collaborate with other people to bring in such worthy schemes to our localities throughout Gwynedd.”