Wednesday, November 29, 2006

BAGLAN ENERGY PARK - JOB APPEAL



In 1999, Alun Michael announced development on the Baglan industrial park site which promised to create 10,000 jobs.

This promise was repeated two years later when £3.8m was fed in from the EU Objective 1 scheme.

After that, the estimates were scaled down. There was vague talk of 6,000 jobs, then in 2004 one of Neath Port Talbot's councillors was quoted in one of the local media as saying "There are as many people working in the Baglan Energy Park now as BP used to employ". Gary Lewis, then our secretary, phoned a former BP employee to establish that, at its height, BP Baglan Bay employed around 2,300 people.

BP, when it closed down its facility for good, claimed no more than it had created 700 jobs within the Baglan travel-to-work area.

In the summer, we obtained from the WDA, under the Freedom of Information Act, the true figure for the number of people employed within the Energy Park. It was in fact 280. Even allowing for the 300 which Intertissue's plant is expected to employ when it is fully operational, that is less than 10% of the original estimates.

We welcome the numbers currently employed in the Energy Park. However, as the only TRUE opposition to Neath Port Talbot Labour dominated CBC, we would like to highlight the irresponsibility of those individuals who wildly overestimated the number of jobs which the Energy Park would create. We also wonder whether all the money spent on the industrial park has been "invested" with the correct focus.
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