Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru’s Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales has urged the First Minister to consider moving more Welsh Government jobs to Carmarthenshire, in the hope of spurring additional employment opportunities, and a boost to town centres.
Speaking during First Minister’s questions, Cefin Campbell MS noted that according to the most recent Welsh Government employment statistics for 2019-20, only 13 per cent of total Welsh Government jobs were based in the Mid & West Wales area – whilst almost a fifth of the country’s population live in the region. This figure compared with almost 60 per cent of Welsh Government jobs based in the South Wales Central region – which includes Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
In Carmarthenshire, the latest 2019-20 figures showed a total of 4.8 per cent of total Welsh Government jobs were based at their Picton Terrace offices.
Mr Campbell also drew attention to the fact many Welsh Government offices that are currently located in the Mid & West Wales region, including Aberystwyth’s Rhodfa Padarn offices, and Carmarthen’s Picton Terrace premises, are located outside the town centre. He urged for greater consideration by the Welsh Government to using town-centre based offices as a way of helping to rejuvenate town centres both economically and socially.
Speaking after his question to the First Minister, Mr Campbell said:
“As we gradually move back to some kind of normality post-Covid, I have no doubt that the Welsh Government has a wonderful opportunity to review its staffing structures so that it is better distributed across Wales, and thus provide an invaluable opportunity to rejuvenate our town centres and communities across the country.
“Recent research shows that currently around one in seven high street premises in Welsh towns are empty, with town centre footfall also down. Encouraging more public sector jobs to be based within our rural towns such as Carmarthen and Llanelli would inevitably provide a welcome boost to our high streets – supporting businesses, and providing greater employment opportunities.”
Responding to Mr Campbell’s question, First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:
“We’ve been working very hard to establish more of those centres or hubs where people can access the facilities that they need closer to home. Now, in west Wales, we already have the centres in Haverfordwest and in Llanelli, and we are looking forward to seeing where there will be further opportunities in future.”
Data on Welsh Government staffing may be found below: