Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.It’s been about two weeks since the news leaked out and a week since it was officially confirmed that there would be widespread redundancies in the Ford Engine plant in Bridgend. I’ve already chatted about the effect on the people there previously. As I’ve said I only know some of the workers on an acquaintance level and I’ve not spoken to them about it since. After all you don’t start a chat to a person about a possible redundancy. You just don’t.
So next to the people who work there the next point of interest is the effect of this news on nearby Bridgend Town. As I’ve explained practically since the blog began, Bridgend Town is an urban tragedy largely brought on by the arrogant incompetence of the local Labour council. Clearly this is going to make the situation in the town even worse.
In a short space of time the town will face Brexit and the Ford redundancies. It is, as things stand now, in no position to cope.
The situation in Ford’s and it’s probable effects on the town is in fact another error by the Labour council. I know what you’re going to say “How can you ….even as a Plaid Cymru member blame the Labour council for events out of it’s control?”
Because as I chatted in this blog the alarm bells were being raised by Ford two years ago.
The council could have, should have, set up a committee to deal with the possible scenario of plant closure or massive redundancies by Ford regarding it’s effects on the town. But it does not appear to have done so. I’ve written before that the council seemingly runs the town on a crisis management basis. Yet when a real crisis emerges to damage the town further the management seems non existent.
Before the announcement, and I don’t know the percentage between the council and private developers, there seems to have been an idea of just doing up the empty shops in the town in the hope of attracting new retailers. “Build it and they will come” as it were.
But for the most part they haven’t come. Many of these shops just stand empty with a To Let sign on them and what this announcement means, combined with the Brexit uncertainty, is that it’s unlikely to happen soon if at all. I’ve no idea how many people being made redundant live in the area. But it’s not unreasonable to assume the majority. We will have people going into the town to buy the basics for living in the supermarkets and bargain stores and that’s it.
So what can be done to help the town? Well in truth I’m not sure now. The town is facing threats from things outside it’s control (Brexit, online shopping, austerity) as well as the consequences of the actions of the local Labour council which I’ve detailed previously. The only thing I can suggest, as I’ve suggested before, is that the Welsh Labour council try to persuade the Welsh National Government to reduce the business rates for the town. But whether that will help, especially in the short term I honestly don’t know.
For the moment things look grim to say the least.
One final thing for today. The local paper advises that they’ll be a committee set up by the council to handle the immediate issues surrounding Brexit including social unrest.
Well judging by the council’s history that’ll end well.
Until the next time.