Grimethorpe & Other Blighted Areas / YOUR " High Street " : Modern Day Reality ... For Some ? Updates On The Wastelands

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Austerity hit Hull : Life on Hull's most deprived streets.



Earlier this week it was revealed that Hull is in the top 10 cities hardest hit by austerity in the country - making it one of the "poorest" places to live in the UK.

According to the Centre for Cities thinktank, Hull City Council's spending has been reduced by 23.1 per cent over eight years.

Local authority spending has fallen nationally by half since 2010, with other areas like Barnsley and Burnley facing average cuts twice of their counterparts in the south of the country.

The reports shows that northern English cities - like Hull - have been hit the hardest by austerity, and on average northern cities saw a cut of 20 per cent to their spending.

The report also looks at reserves made by the city councils and how they are used when cuts are made to local grants.

" Council forced to draw cash out of its reserve pot. "

This little pot of money is supposed to be used for rainy days but some cities find themselves having to dip into it when faced with cuts.

The report says: "Six cities - Bournemouth, Brighton, Chatham, Hull, Stoke and Sunderland - have actually drawn down their reserves.

"In Chatham and Hull's case in particular, this leaves them little cushion against further cuts. Their reserves as a share of total expenditure in 2017/18 were just six and eight per cent respectively - the lowest of any English city."

However, Hull City Council is aiming to improve this and in the year 2019 to 2020, aim to claw back £6.3m back into its reserves.

The authority currently has £12.9m and wants to get reserves up to £19.2m.

With such a diverse city, austerity can be both hard and easy to stumble on, with some of the city's most deprived neighbourhoods less than a mile away from the most well-off.

So, what's it like to live in the " Poorest " street ?

According to the latest deprivation figures, which date back to 2015, St John's Grove in Southcoates East ward was named as the "poorest neighbourhood" - although residents say they would not know it.

It was ranked 12 out of 32,844 by the Lower-layer Super Output Area rankings.

Recent housing developments have seen properties on the road be given new windows, doors and insulation, and work is underway to move families into houses, making it once again a busy estate.

Daniel Halea has lived in his house on St John's Grove "for a while."

He told how the area is better now but agrees that Hull is a poor city.

" If you are next to nice people, it is a lot better. "

He said: "Living around here is OK. You get some teenagers who like to mess around sometimes and things like that but the council have done a lot of improvements with the insulation.

"If you are next to nice people it is a lot better than if you get people who don't care what they are doing. We had some trouble before with a family down the road but they have moved away now. It depends but I would agree that Hull is a poor city."

Diana Jeremiah has lived on St John's Grove for 10 years.

She has previously lived in Crewe and grew up in Birmingham but says Hull is the best place she has lived.

" It's not like how it used to be. "

She said: "I've been here almost 10 years and I like it here. It's OK and I don't have any problems down here and as long as my neighbours are OK, it's ok.

"It used to be noisy down here but people have moved and it's not like it used to be. I wouldn't really know about austerity but I wouldn't say it is overly poor.

"Obviously, in Hull there isn't a lot going on and people tend to go to Leeds and Manchester and further away to go and have a good time, especially the younger people.

"But you know there are good schools, especially on Preston Road, but I know there can be problems in the area with kids occupying themselves."

" Hull isn't a poor place. "

On the day of speaking, Miss Naylor was just moving into her property in St John's Grove, which she was very excited about.

Despite previously living in Longhill, which was number 19 on the list of 'poorest areas', she used to work across the road from her new home, meaning she knows the area very well.

She said: "I don't think Hull should be in the poorest in the country, it is definitely a bit higher up. When you go into town there are always people shopping, having lunch and on the buses going somewhere.

"Everywhere is busy and the shops have got people in them buying things and people on the buses have bags of shopping, so I wouldn't agree with that.

"There are certain people that don't have a lot but there are those that do. The City of Culture has helped tremendously and has raised our profile."

" The neighbours are really nice. "

Second on the list of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city was Preston Road, which was ranked at 34 in the Lower-layer Super

Mr Cook, 71, has lived in his house for around 25 years. He says he has kept himself to himself but he does agree with Hull being one of the poorest places in the city.

He said: "Around this end is OK but around the back I know can be quite bad. It hasn't changed much since I moved in, but it has been built up a little bit. It was quieter before.

"At the back there is a lot of people on the dole so it could come across as a poor place. The neighbours are really nice though.

"I don't go into the city centre to see what it's like but I think the people need more employment opportunities and that could help."

Join our Hull Tenants United group

We've created a Facebook group to bring together all the tenants in Hull under one roof.

Click here to join the group so you can get involved in our debates, share your views and raise any concerns you have.

Matt Waller, 34, said he does not think Hull can be compared to bigger cities in the report, as it is much smaller. He has lived in his house in Preston Road for four years.

He said: "It's not really a big city like the others so it'll look like we have more austerity.

"We're a different type of city, you've just got to look at the shopping - most places are closed. If you look at the city centre there are two or three of the same shops - not like Manchester."
The sword of Damocles hanging over Scunthorpe ... again ?


British Steel : Deja vu for the people of Scunthorpe ?


Image

While British Steel's future hangs in the balance, is this deja vu for Scunthorpe's steelworks - or will fate spell a different destiny for the plant ?

Cast your mind back to October 2015 - during the Tata Steel era - and you may recall this North Lincolnshire steel town was being put through the mill of uncertainty, with workers and their families clutching at the straws of hope.

But then came along Greybull Capital and the plant's future started to look bright again.

Fast forward four years, and while the town is basking in the brightness of the spring sunshine, the axe of uncertainty is hovering over this manufacturing conurbation yet again.

British Steel is on the verge of administration as it lobbies the government for backing, sources say.

The UK's second-biggest steel maker is trying to secure £75m in financial support to help it to address "Brexit-related issues".

If it does not get the cash it would put 5,000 jobs at risk and endanger 20,000 in the supply chain.

"Everyone is terrified," said steelworker Kevin Prior.

The 32-year-old scrap metal cutter has been at the plant since 2015 and said the current mood "echoes" that of four years ago.

"I'm only just recovering from when I got laid off at my last job.

"I've built myself back up and it's just become stable. I have got a solid income now and I'm able to begin living properly. Me and my partner have moved in to a new house.

"But now it's 'oh no, not again'.

"I'm so used to this kind of bad news. But I'll keep my chin up and do what I can to press on."

Mr Prior, whose sister and brother-in-law also work at the plant, said rumours about the company's future had been circulating for a number of weeks.

"It's just heartbreaking," he said.

"It's horrible to hear that my sister is crying herself to sleep because she doesn't know what's going to happen with her husband's job and what that means for them.

"There's not that many jobs in Scunthorpe.

"What on earth am I going to do? There's nothing bright on the horizon if this goes down."

In a nearby cafe frequented by British Steel staff and its contractors, a worker is clearing up tables before closing for the day, ready to start again the next morning.

As she laments over the possibility of the plant collapsing, she tells me how the cafe has had "no trade for the past six to eight weeks" because of the looming threat of administration.

The worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, is even more worried about the cafe "going under".

"The minute that [steelworks] shuts this place is going to close," she said.

"And when that happens I'll be at the back of the dole queue because I'm not skilled.

"The government has to do something."

While plumes of smoke rise and trail off from the steelwork's imposing towers, in the town's shopping precinct the thick cloud is yet to penetrate Scunthorpe's blue skyline.

David Phillip Patinson, 55, who owns a local garage, said he was "60% positive" British Steel would be rescued, as shutting the doors on a 150-year-old manufacturing giant meant "this town is finished".

"They've been in this position before in the past and they've always managed to scrape through," he said.

"The steelworks is the backbone of Scunthorpe. It's the only thing that keeps this town going and without that I don't know what'll happen."

As he sweeps his index finger left-to-right across a row of shops, the mechanic says: "All these businesses, all these shops and everything else, they rely on British Steel [customers] spending money in these places.

"And if that shuts and 2,000-plus jobs go, then Scunthorpe will just be a ghost town.

"My business and everyone else's here wouldn't survive."

His sentiments are resonated by Scunthorpe-born-and-bred shoppers Racheal Jones and her partner Stevhen Drewery, both 26.

"If the steelworks shuts down then it's the end of Scunthorpe.

"Scunthorpe is a steel-built town and if the steel is gone then we've got nothing else. Everything else is going to get shut down."

The stay-at-home mum said she feared her and her family would have "no future in this town" if the plant were to close.

"If I try to get a job then it's going to be harder because there'll be more experienced and skilled people wanting those jobs.

"Our little girl's two years old and it's going to affect her in the long run."

But Miss Jones said she was "hopeful" the plant "would continue".

"It belongs here. It should stay here forever. But they say things can't last forever can they? It's sad really."
British Steel to enter insolvency endangering 5,000 jobs.



British Steel is set to be placed into an insolvency process, putting 5,000 jobs in the UK at risk and endangering 20,000 in the supply chain.

The move follows a breakdown in rescue talks between the government and the company's owner, Greybull.

The Government's Official Receiver will take control of the company as part of the insolvency process.

Accountancy firm EY will take on the role of Special Manager and attempt to find a buyer for the business.

British Steel has about 5,000 employees. There are 3,000 at Scunthorpe, with another 800 on Teesside and in north-eastern England.

The rest are in France, the Netherlands and various sales offices round the world



GMB general secretary, Tim Roache: "This is devastating news for the thousands of workers in Scunthorpe and across the UK.

"Ministers should have been ready to make use of all the options - including nationalisation - in order to save British Steel but they either don't care or wouldn't take off their ideological blinkers to save hard working people and communities.

"GMB demands urgent reassurances on what the future holds for the thousands of British steel workers and their families."



Sorry Tim , your request falls on deaf ears ... as almost all other urgent requests have been since Thatcher !


FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS ... IT TOLLS FOR THEE , SCUNTHORPE !
Redcar : how the end of steel left a tragic legacy in a proud town.

Employment figures look good on paper – but most ex-steelworkers have taken big wage cuts, and home repossessions are rife.


Image

It was deja vu for Brian Dennis last week when British Steel went into administration, putting 5,000 jobs at risk and endangering 20,000 in the supply chain, after failing to secure emergency government funding.

Back in September 2015, Dennis had taken a day off from Redcar’s steel plant to attend the Labour party conference when his phone started buzzing. It was the news he had been dreading: after 26 years among the coke ovens and conveyor belts, he was out of a job. SSI, the plant’s Thai owners, were pulling the plug.

He asked for the microphone. “I left school at 16 to work in the shipyards and when the government shut them down I moved into the steel industry,” he told delegates.

“The government must step in and act to protect us, our families and our community. All of us steelworkers on Teesside are facing the end of our industry and a very bleak future. Only the government can save us now.”

His plea roused the conference hall to its feet but fell on deaf ears in Westminster. The government blamed EU rules on state aid for preventing it bailing out SSI and two weeks later the receiver announced there was no realistic prospect of finding a buyer.

The blast furnace was turned off and the coke ovens were extinguished, left to cool down from 1,100C in the salty North Sea breeze. Two thousand direct jobs went and, with them, 170 years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Three and a half years on, Dennis, 53, is no longer a steelworker. He received money to retrain from the £50m fund set up by government to help Redcar’s steelworkers start new lives but packed in his health and safety course after six months.

“My wife kept sending me job adverts and eventually I got the hint,” he said this week, walking his dog on Redcar beach, the hulking steelworks rusting on the skyline.

“There seemed to be a desperate rush to find work, any work,” he remembered. He saw job ads online for £25,000 positions that would disappear and then come back three days later with a salary of £20,000.

“Just because you’ve got a thousand people sending you a CV who are hardworking men, should you really be doing that? I think morally it’s wrong. It was like a race for the work and I think the employers were trying to make it a race to the bottom, to get what they could as cheap as they could.”

He applied for 50 jobs to no avail. Eventually he begged the jobcentre for feedback on his CV. They told him to take off the fact he was a union rep and a Labour councillor – both proud achievements – and he got the next job he applied for. Now he works as a supervisor for Calor Gas, overseeing refills of propane gas canisters. He earns £31,000 – when he left the steelworks he was on £46,000.

It is not a subsistence wage, he acknowledges: “But it’s a big drop and the £15,000 comes out of what I call your leisure money – it’s your holiday money, your nice things.

“You’ve still got to pay your bills, your gas, your electricity, the car … we’ve cut back on holidays, eating out. I can’t remember the last time we went to the cinema. We used to have a date night once a week at the cinema, go for weekends away, but all that has stopped.”

Redcar’s Regent Cinema is closed, ostensibly because of structural defects. However, the loss of high-paying SSI jobs and the reduced spending in the local economy had a detrimental impact on many businesses. Empty shops abound, with pound shops, pawn shops and charity shops dominating the high street.

Employment figures for Redcar and Cleveland look positive on paper. Of the 2,185 SSI and supply chain workers who made an application for benefits, 2,167 have ended that claim and nearly 2,000 new jobs have been created through the SSI Fund overall, according to the latest figures.

However, most former steelworkers have taken big wage cuts. More than 300 former SSI and supply chain workers started their own businesses, helped by a startup support fund. Much of the work was not lucrative, with the steelworkers struggling to transfer their often very niche skills into life outside steel.

Five became chimney sweeps; three turned dog walkers, according to the SSI Task Force Legacy Report. Twenty-six went into gardening. One was Steven Lince, 32, who was profiled as a success story in the report. But a year on, he has thrown in the towel, one of the 10% of SSI startups to fail.

With a young family to look after and slow business in the winter months, it became unsustainable. He now works as a production operator at a pipe mill just over the river in Hartlepool, earning £22,000 – the same as he earned at 18, and £8,000 less than he was on at SSI.

Insecurity is a huge problem. “There never seems to be a job which is totally secure,” Lince said. “I’m on temporary contracts at the minute, so I’m still in a situation where two months down the line I could get laid off again.”

This precariousness, coupled with low wages, has caused some former steelworkers to lose their homes. House prices in Redcar have still not recovered from their 2007 peak and workers found themselves in negative equity. In February, one three-bed semi with a garden sold for £80,000 – £7,000 less than it changed hands for in 2004.

It wasn’t until about two years after SSI closed that houses began to be repossessed, said Carla Keegans, who runs Redcar’s Ethical Lettings Agency.

She lets to people “the council won’t help”, buying up properties to rent at affordable rates. Those who have lost their homes tend to have terrible credit ratings and often county court judgments against them, making it impossible to rent privately, Keegans said. When they ask her for help, they are “absolutely mortified”, she said.

Divorce has often followed, leaving estranged couples searching for two properties on vastly reduced means: “What we have seen is we have got people who have let their homes go, their homes have been repossessed, and the stress of it leads to relationship breakdown. What comes with that is domestic violence, mental health problems and alcohol abuse,” Keegans said.

At least two former SSI workers have killed themselves since the plant shut, said Anna Turley, Redcar’s Labour MP. Andrew Hodgson, a dad of two, was found dead on 8 November 2015, less than a month after the last steel was forged on Teesside. Stress and marriage difficulties were cited in the inquest, and “the closure of SSI was on his mind also”.

Veronica Harnett, the chief executive of Redcar & Cleveland Mind, a mental health charity, said many people still struggle. “It’s a grieving process. Some will have been there for 30-odd years.”

Sue Jeffrey, who had been the Labour leader of Redcar and Cleveland council for only five months when SSI collapsed, said social isolation has been a huge problem.

“The steelworks is a community. It’s not just one generation who worked there, it’s two or three, sometimes four generations,” she said.

“Therefore, when you go to work you are not just going to meet colleagues … you are actually going to work with people who are your family, probably live in the same community as you, have the same interests as you, go to the football match with you … you lose not only your sense of identity in terms of your work experience but also your social identity.”

Initially, Mind helped people with sleep problems: they could not adjust to “normal” bedtimes after a lifetime of shiftwork. Later, as part of the SSI Taskforce, it ran one-to-one sessions, resilience groups and workplace wellbeing programmes.

“We’re quite a high area for suicides and men are one of our highest risks groups, so that’s something we need to be really vigilant about again,” Harnett said. “It’s devastating to lose your job once never mind twice.”

Though Scunthorpe – where 4,000 people work on British Steel’s 800-hectare site – has hogged the national headlines this week, there are two British steel sites in Redcar and Cleveland, which took on a number of ex SSI workers.

The Lackenby beam mill, on the old SSI site, is the UK’s only producer of huge structural steel sections suitable for high-rise buildings. London’s skyline, from the Shard to the Olympic Stadium, started life there.

Ten miles down the coast from Redcar in the village of Carlin How is the Skinningrove “special profiles” plant, which makes sections, such as track shoes, used in earth movers and other industrial equipment.

The village was built for steelworkers and many gardens still back on to the plant. On Friday night there was a public meeting where locals begged local politicians to push for the renationalisation of the steel industry. Linda White, whose husband was laid off at SSI after 36 years, organised it. “I don’t want other families to go through what we went through,” she said.

Once the steel industry was privatised in 1988, the stability of Carlin How disappeared, she said. “There’s that rollercoaster of emotions every time a new buyer comes along … that uncertainty in family life is terrible. We live in a deprived part of the country that has suffered so much from the austerity measures … the steelworks is right at the centre of our village.

“I have grown up listening to the clattering and the banging – people who visit ask how we cope with it but to us it’s a really good, positive noise because it means the works are vibrant.”

Ben Houchen, the Tory mayor for Tees Valley, has broken party ranks to criticise the government. A blistering quote he gave to the local Gazette newspaper took up the entire front page on Thursday: “Yet again the people of Teesside have been shafted by heartless private investors and a government unwilling to pull their finger out.”

Though it is a private investment firm, Greybull, which has left British Steel on the brink of collapse, most anger in Redcar is directed at Westminster. People cannot believe the government has refused Greybull a £50m loan, which the company says it needs to keep the steelworks going.

“If ministers can find £50m for a ferry contract with no ships, they can find the money to support this strategic British industry and thousands of jobs. They must act,” Turley said.

“As we know in Redcar, once its lost its gone for good, leaving behind huge costs for families, the local community, and extortionate clean-up costs.”

Big plans are afoot to turn the Redcar site into a “special economic area”, which the council estimates would bring in £340m of rates in the next 25 years.

But first the site must be expensively and painstakingly decontaminated and dismantled at a cost of more than £1bn. Who will pay is still unclear.

On Thursday Sue Jeffrey, was on her way to the plant to interview for a new chief executive of the South Tees Development Corporation, which oversees the site. She wants to ensure Redcar is not as vulnerable to foreign investors in the future. “How can we build the resilience into our economy so that we are not so dependent on these big foreign companies?”

She stood down earlier this month after Labour took a beating in the local elections, losing 12 seats to the Liberal Democrats and a string of independents. Dennis decided not to stand again – it was too hard to juggle with his new job and, anyway, he has lost patience with the Labour party.

On Thursday he voted for the Brexit party in the European elections: “I absolutely blame Europe; I absolutely blame our government for hiding behind EU state aid rules … I said to the MEPs, why aren’t you screaming from the rooftops, in the press every day saying there are 5,000 jobs on Teesside going to the wall because the government won’t help. So I absolutely voted for Brexit. I think we can forge our own way.”




And so it continues .... having really got going just under 40 years ago under Thatcher.

For many readers , substitute STEEL with COAL / FISHING / MANUFACTURING ... traditional industries now consigned to history.

Once they go , just look happens to the whole and neighbouring manors ... wastelands ... left to rot.

Those able to have moved on.

But what of the minions who didn't ... through disability / age / caring ???

As mentioned before , one of my contacts is with the task force in Redcar.

He shares the same view.

Suck the life blood out of the manor ... monies ... and this is the invevitable result.
Another manor shortly to be decimated ... Bridgend :


Ford Bridgend engine plant " To close in 2020. "



Image


Ford's engine plant in Bridgend will close in September 2020, union sources have said, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

Union officials are being told details of the plans at a meeting with Ford bosses which include the offer of redeployment of workers to other sites.

The company is understood to be blaming "under utilisation" and cost disadvantage compared with other sites.

Ford will make an official announcement later, with workers arriving at the plant saying they were "devastated".

The plant employs workers from across south Wales and many more in companies supplying goods and services to it. The GMB union said closure would "mean disaster" for the community.

Tony Phillips, who has been at the plant for 31 years, said: "I'm expecting to lose my job this morning."

He added: "These are good, well-paid jobs."

Fellow worker Mark Lendrum said he was "devastated", adding: "South Wales is going to be like a ghost town."

The closure news comes just months after Ford said it was cutting its Welsh workforce by 1,000, with 370 going in a first phase.

Investment in the new Dragon engine was scaled back, while production of an engine for Jaguar Land Rover is due to end this year.

There has already been concern about whether the plant would be viable making only 125,000 Dragon petrol engines a year.

It comes just days after car sales in the UK fell again and the BBC expects Ford to be in touch with Welsh Government ministers over their plans.

It is understood the meeting in Essex has been called in the past 24 hours and senior managers from Ford in the United States will be present, as well as union leaders from the company's other UK sites.

What support will workers have?

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said the automotive sector was going through a period of structural change towards electric vehicles and that he had been in touch with Welsh Economy Minister Ken Skates.

"We're determined to do what we can to protect the future employment in that area in this exciting sector," he added.

Mr Skates said the Welsh Government would provide a "rapid response taskforce to support workers".

He said: "There has been a lot of speculation over the future of Ford for some time now and, during that period, the Welsh Government has been in discussions with the UK government in attempting to capture alternate employment and to land some major projects in Bridgend."

GMB regional organiser Jeff Beck said: "It will mean disaster for both our members in Bridgend and the community at large."

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said closure would be "one of the most bitter blows" for the Welsh economy for more than 30 years.

"Ford is the jewel in the crown of the car industry - which is the hardcore of our manufacturing sector - so the implications of this in terms of the supply chain in terms of job losses is very, very grave indeed."

Since 1978 about £140m in taxpayers' money has been invested in the plant, he said.

"That has been money well spent because, just in the last decade alone, £3bn has been pumped back into the Bridgend economy by the Ford plant.

"What we have repeatedly said to Ford over recent months and years is that Wales stands ready, it is perfectly situated and positioned to help businesses," he said.



IF RECENT HISTORY ... PAST 30 YEARS ... MINES / FISHING / STEEL ... TEACHES US ANYTHING , THE TIME FOR THE TASK FORCES
TO MOVE IT IS NOW ... DON'T WAIT UNTIL 2020 !!!

BY THEN , IT WILL BE TOO LATE !!!
Chris From The Gulag wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:25 am
Another manor shortly to be decimated ... Bridgend :


Ford Bridgend engine plant " To close in 2020. "



Image


Ford's engine plant in Bridgend will close in September 2020, union sources have said, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

Union officials are being told details of the plans at a meeting with Ford bosses which include the offer of redeployment of workers to other sites.

The company is understood to be blaming "under utilisation" and cost disadvantage compared with other sites.

Ford will make an official announcement later, with workers arriving at the plant saying they were "devastated".

The plant employs workers from across south Wales and many more in companies supplying goods and services to it. The GMB union said closure would "mean disaster" for the community.

Tony Phillips, who has been at the plant for 31 years, said: "I'm expecting to lose my job this morning."

He added: "These are good, well-paid jobs."

Fellow worker Mark Lendrum said he was "devastated", adding: "South Wales is going to be like a ghost town."

The closure news comes just months after Ford said it was cutting its Welsh workforce by 1,000, with 370 going in a first phase.

Investment in the new Dragon engine was scaled back, while production of an engine for Jaguar Land Rover is due to end this year.

There has already been concern about whether the plant would be viable making only 125,000 Dragon petrol engines a year.

It comes just days after car sales in the UK fell again and the BBC expects Ford to be in touch with Welsh Government ministers over their plans.

It is understood the meeting in Essex has been called in the past 24 hours and senior managers from Ford in the United States will be present, as well as union leaders from the company's other UK sites.

What support will workers have?

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said the automotive sector was going through a period of structural change towards electric vehicles and that he had been in touch with Welsh Economy Minister Ken Skates.

"We're determined to do what we can to protect the future employment in that area in this exciting sector," he added.

Mr Skates said the Welsh Government would provide a "rapid response taskforce to support workers".

He said: "There has been a lot of speculation over the future of Ford for some time now and, during that period, the Welsh Government has been in discussions with the UK government in attempting to capture alternate employment and to land some major projects in Bridgend."

GMB regional organiser Jeff Beck said: "It will mean disaster for both our members in Bridgend and the community at large."

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said closure would be "one of the most bitter blows" for the Welsh economy for more than 30 years.

"Ford is the jewel in the crown of the car industry - which is the hardcore of our manufacturing sector - so the implications of this in terms of the supply chain in terms of job losses is very, very grave indeed."

Since 1978 about £140m in taxpayers' money has been invested in the plant, he said.

"That has been money well spent because, just in the last decade alone, £3bn has been pumped back into the Bridgend economy by the Ford plant.

"What we have repeatedly said to Ford over recent months and years is that Wales stands ready, it is perfectly situated and positioned to help businesses," he said.



IF RECENT HISTORY ... PAST 30 YEARS ... MINES / FISHING / STEEL ... TEACHES US ANYTHING , THE TIME FOR THE
TASK FORCES TO MOVE IN IS NOW ... DON'T WAIT UNTIL 2020 !!!

BY THEN , IT WILL BE TOO LATE !!!
Not quite there but ... soon will be ?


The town fighting the Ford factory closure.

It was a uniquely Welsh protest - 55 members of the Bridgend male voice choir stood out in front of Ford's headquarters in Essex, belting out the Welsh national anthem "Land of My Fathers" beneath a Welsh flag waving in the wind.



Image


They were making a stand against the closure of the car manufacturer's engine factory in Bridgend, which will see the loss of 1,700 jobs.

"I think we are a nation that love a bit of nostalgia, but it was meant as a sincere protest," the choir's chairman Gareth Davies tells the BBC. "It's a big thing in our social history."

The group meets weekly, and was formed almost 60 years ago. A number of attendees formerly worked at "Fords", as they refer to it.

Since the protest, a video of it has gone viral, with tens of thousands of views - including on the plant shop floor.

Jason Evans has been a Ford assembly worker for 10 years.

"They were playing it in the plant. People were coming over to me saying, 'have you seen the video, have you seen the video?'"

Workers come from all over South Wales for the highly paid and highly skilled jobs in the Ford factory - jobs that aren't easily replaced.

Since the announcement, "it's like working under a dark cloud," he says.

Unite represents the majority of the plant employees. Bryan Godsell, officer for the union, says that workers feel betrayed by Ford.

They've rejected the closure proposal on offer - including the redundancy package: early pension access, a cash payment and continuity payments.

The union is willing to pull any levers it can to keep at least some jobs here.

"What the company needs to understand is that there's a national policy within Unite and our sister unions," says Mr Godsell.

He thinks this could escalate to an industrial action ballot across all Ford UK plants: "Ford like to talk about the Ford family. Well, Ford workers look after each other."

"We're Welsh, we're proud of the work we do."

A taskforce has now been set up to look at what can be done to ensure the economic survival of the area. It pulls together Welsh government, Ford and the unions.

One of the leaders is the former Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, who has represented Bridgend for more than 20 years.

He thinks about 400 staff will retire, and others will go to Aston Martin, which is advertising 500 jobs only 10 miles away in St Athan. But that still leaves 800 workers without jobs.

He wants to see Ford provide compensation comparable to what they agreed for Bordeaux workers earlier this year: "They produced a significant support package, about €100m (£89.6m) I think - so we'd look for Ford to provide similar here."

Communication, though, seems to have broken down recently.

"There was no discussion beforehand to see if anything could be done to avoid a closure," he says. "They seem not to want to communicate."

The politician talks as though lamenting the end of a relationship: "There was always someone they could contact, if there was a problem they'd see a minister, no problem."

It could make for a tense meeting when the Welsh government, Unite and Ford sit around the table for taskforce talks first thing on Monday.

The firms leaving Bridgend

Ken Skates, the economy minister for the welsh government says that they will do whatever it takes to secure jobs that are as skilled and as well-paid as those at Ford.

Financial incentives like those enjoyed by Ford could be on offer to draw new companies to the area.

Carwyn Jones says some people have already approached the government because the rail-connected plant and workforce are so attractive.

For many here though, the economic hit isn't perceptible.

Beth Daniel owns a hair salon in the centre of town, and business is booming.

A customer settles a bill as another waits to book an appointment, while the phone rings as customers call to book appointments too.

"Everybody has been talking about it, but I don't think it's going to have a huge impact on the town centre," says Beth.

But as she speaks, the radio on the counter is playing an advert for services to help people into work.

This isn't the first such bad news the town has had in recent years. A number of big employers have left the area, taking skilled jobs with them.

Phil Lewis runs a cafe next to the Ford plant complex. He lists off the names of firms that have left.

"If we roll the clock back, Sony were here, Diaplastics were here, Smith Kendon were here. The last one standing is Fords," he says.

Phil's popular shop is a newsagent and cafe combined, but people also seem to visit just to seek Phil out for a chat.

The waitress says she can see if he's available to speak to us too, adding, "he's a lovely manager".

But it's hard to see how the cafe will continue to thrive on the site if Ford leaves - and with it, the social element, which can't be accounted for in economic terms.

It's perhaps this, as much as anything else, that compelled Bridgend's male choir to travel down south to Ford's headquarters in Essex to make their voices heard.




WHICH MANOR IS NEXT ???
Very much a north / south divide ... yet again :


England's seaside towns where young people might disappear.

More than half of England's coastal communities could see a decline in the number of residents aged under 30 by the year 2039.



Analysis by BBC News of population projections has found seaside towns in northern England could see the biggest decline in under-30s.

The Parliamentary Group for Coastal Communities said funding cuts meant seaside towns were "being left behind".

The government said it had invested more than £200m in costal communities.

The coastline in England is home to some of the most beautiful but also poorest places in England.

Some young adults living in the North Yorkshire town of Scarborough said they struggled to envisage a future for themselves living by the sea.

"There aren't many career options in Scarborough," said 24-year-old Kayleigh Wilkinson.

"You either work in a care home like I do, or you work in a shop.

"That's one of the many reasons why people my age are already leaving to work in bigger cities like York and Leeds."

According to population projections produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Scarborough could see a 10.5% fall in the number of people under 30 living in the area by 2039, meaning a potential loss of some 9,000 young adults over the next two decades.

Ryan Broadbent, 21, moved from Scarborough to Leeds to study at university and said he could not see himself returning to the town.

"If you spend £30,000 on going to university the last thing you want to do is move back to a place where you can only find a low skilled job," he said.

"Its not just jobs, there's very little to do at the weekend for young people. We were promised a multi-screen cinema in Scarborough but that hasn't happened."

Twenty-year-old Reece Wilde was more optimistic about the future of the town, having just opened a cafe in the centre of Scarborough.

"I love this place and I think there are positive things happening," he said.

"There are people like me setting up independent bars and coffee shops.

"But what Scarborough and other seaside places need to do is think of what they can offer people all year round, instead of just in the summer."

What could happen to England's coastline population ?

BBC News has analysed the population projections made by the ONS for 75 local authorities in England with a coastline :

More than half of the local authorities could see a fall in the number of residents under the age of 30 by the year 2039.

The biggest decline in the number of under-30s could be in the north of England, where every local authority with a coastline, except Liverpool, might see a fall in the number of young people.

Collectively northern seaside communities might see a reduction of 200,000 under-30s over the next two decades.

In contrast, coastal authorities in the south, such as Bristol (+13%), Canterbury (+6.4%) and Southampton (+4.7%) could see substantial rises in the number of young people.

A report published earlier this year by the House of Lords said coastal communities "had been neglected for far too long".

It said most seaside towns still relied on tourism but many in the future would need to diversify their economies.

Mike Hill, the Labour MP for Hartlepool and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coastal Communities, said seaside towns such as his were already creating new jobs.

"In my town we've created high-skilled well-paid jobs in sectors such as wind energy and carbon capture technology," he said.

"But there is no getting away from it, these population projection figures are frightening, and without action could signal the death of some coastal towns.

"Government austerity and the underfunding of seaside towns is at the heart of the reason why these communities feel like they've been left behind."
Government must " Wake up " to widening economic woe of coastal communities, Yorkshire leaders warn.

Boris Johnson’s government has been urged to “ Wake up ” to deeply entrenched issues that mean many coastal communities are worse off than a decade ago.



Political and business leaders in Yorkshire have backed the findings of a new think-tank report which calls for “a special package of help” to be put in place to address a "widening gap" between coastal areas and the rest of the UK economy.

The Government defended its record and said more than £200m will be spent in coastal communities by 2020, but new research by the Social Market Foundation portrays a bleak picture.

More than 30 coastal areas still have economies smaller than before the financial crisis that began in 2007 with many seaside towns having missed out on much of the economic growth that the rest of Britain has seen since, the Foundation found.

The GVA, a measure of economic productivity, of East Yorkshire fell by four per cent between 2007 and 2017, and by 2.4 per cent in Scarborough. In neighbouring areas, the GVA of Redcar and Cleveland fell by 12.8 per cent in the same period, and in North East Lincolnshire by 4.2 per cent.

Overall, workers in seaside towns now earn almost £5,000 less than those elsewhere in the country and saw average wages drop between 2017 and 2018, to £25,906, compared to a rise elsewhere to £30,592.

People in coastal areas also have a lower life expectancy.


Scott Corfe, the Foundation’s research director, said: “Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to help ‘forgotten’ parts of the country. Coastal areas where incomes and lifespans are falling certainly fit that description.

“In the context of the Brexit debate, it’s notable that most of those areas voted in favour of leaving the European Union.”

A new radical and localised approach is needed to change the fortunes of coastal communities, despite the “incredibly hard work” being undertaken by local people from the business, education and voluntary sectors, said David Kerfoot, who chairs the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership.

“The coast has some huge and deeply entrenched issues that these people can’t be asked to deal with and government needs to wake up to them.”

He said recent multi-million pound ‘Opportunity Area’ funding, over three years, would only “scratch the surface” of long-term deprivation.

Undermined by budget cuts

The leader of Scarborough Council, Labour councillor Steve Siddons, said a dearth of high quality, better paid jobs was one of the major problems holding coastal communities back as he called for fundamental changes to funding and local governance.

Bemoaning budget cuts, he said: “We have lost 60p in every £1 since 2010. We have only 40 per cent of the funding we used to have. We are doing what we can to help ourselves but we are having lost that kind of money, it is an enormous burden on us.

“We have lobbied to be a single unitary authority so we can be the masters of our own destiny, because whilst we are looking for savings as much as we can, bigger councils push savings onto us.”

He called for better funding, government intervention to cut business rates to attract investment and for Whitehall to stomach the full costs of coastal erosion schemes, with local authorities having been required to foot half the bill of any such scheme since a policy change in 2010.

Scarborough and Whitby MP, Robert Goodwill, who until recently served in a ministerial role with responsibility for farming, also identified a lack of graduate jobs and the poor performance of some local secondary schools as key concerns, saying any new government investment would be welcome.

Upgrading the main road to the coast, the heavily congested A64 between Malton and York, and at Hopgrove, is “essential” to business investment, both he and Mr Kerfoot said.

Mr Goodwill did however say that his constituency will benefit from recent and impending developments, including the creation of about 1,000 new jobs through the Sirius mine project near Whitby, new half hourly rail services to Scarborough in the autumn and the opening of a Coventry University campus in Scarborough.

“We are building in the right direction but there is still more to be done,” the MP said.

Report " Asks "

To help seaside communities, the Social Market Foundation wants tax incentives for employers in higher-paying sectors to move to coastal areas and new 'Powerhouse' devolution deals to allow planning at a regional level.

It also calls for the Government’s review of the HS2 rail project to consider using some of its budget to improve transport connections for coastal areas.

Government defends record

A Government spokeswoman said: “We are committed to boosting local growth and levelling up our regions, to ensure our coastal communities can also share in a new era of prosperity.

“We will invest over £200m in our coastal communities by 2020 and recently announced £3.6bn to support towns and high streets across the country.

“Through transformational programmes such as the Coastal Communities Fund and Coastal Revival Fund, we’ve supported over 18,000 jobs and seen £363m in new visitor spend.”