Alison Alexander, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Candidate for the Senedd has revealed what she is calling her ‘contract for young people in Montgomeryshire’. Alison has issued the pledges after working with local young people following a joint report between ITV Wales and the Rural Youth Project highlighted the problems facing young people in rural areas such as Powys.
Alison Alexander, Welsh Liberal Democrat Candidate for Montgomeryshire
The report found that 60% of young people (16-24) living in rural areas in Wales are considering moving to a major town or city for employment while 68% said it was difficult finding any work where they lived. The report also highlighted that housing is a major issue, with young people often being priced out of their home towns and villages as retirees move to the area – a pattern that could worsen with the aftereffects of COVID placing pressure on rural housing markets.
Alison said: “Young people in Montgomeryshire have been neglected for far too long. There just seems to be an assumption, especially by those in power, that young people will move away without any concerted effort to try and keep young talent in the constituency. This attitude needs to change and there are plenty of things we can do to do improve the quality of life for young people in Montgomeryshire.
In response to the findings, Alison has made a series of pledges aimed at improving young people’s lives in Montgomeryshire covering 5 key areas: Education, Jobs, Housing, Connectivity and Public Transport.
At the forefront of these points are encouraging highly skilled and highly paid green jobs into the constituency, combined with linked internships, training and apprenticeships. The Party has also promised to build 30,000 affordable homes across Wales, connect 90% of homes to superfast broadband by 2025, free bus travel for under 25s and fight for more frequent services to Aberystwyth and Birmingham by train.
Commenting further Alison said: “The problems faced by young people in Montgomeryshire and Powys shouldn’t just concern young people, but all of us. The more young people continue to leave the area at an accelerating rate, the more impacts we are likely to feel on public services due to depopulation. With fewer young people we will continue to see school closures, limited health services and more. This itself has a knock-on effect on the local economy, supply chains and council tax income. I am proud to make this commitment, that was designed with the help of amazing local young people.”
An audit committee in 2019 found that the biggest risk to public services and the economy of Powys is the loss of an average of 1,000 people of working age per year.
Full version of the pledge here: https://www.montlibdems.org.uk/our_youth_contract
A summary of ITV Wales’ and the Rural Youth Project’s finding can be found here: https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2021-04-06/a-lot-of-them-arent-going-to-come-back-more-young-people-in-rural-wales-consider-leaving-for-better-job-prospects