Economic progress in Carmarthenshire

More than 250 jobs have been created in Carmarthenshire as part of the county council’s efforts to boost the area’s economy.

The local authority’s annual report for 2016-17 shows that through economic development the council has been able to create 253.5 jobs, safeguard 192.5 jobs, accommodate 28 jobs, place 1,598 people into volunteering, 344 into jobs and 3,127 into training.

The council has supported the creation of 33 new enterprises and secured over £23.5m in investment/funding.

It launched two development fund schemes during the summer – the £2m Carmarthenshire Rural Enterprise Fund Scheme (CREF) and the £3m Transformation Commercial Property Development Fund Scheme.

The CREF has awarded grants totalling over £475,000, and construction has commenced on a number of those projects. Those helped include Sauro Architectural Design which was awarded £60,000 from CREF towards transforming a derelict building in Elliston Terrace, Carmarthen, into its new headquarters creating three jobs.

The Transformation Commercial Property Development Fund Scheme also had several applicants invited to proceed to detailed application stage, with two projects having received formal grant offers awarded and a further six projects progressing with their applications.

The council has developed a Tackling Poverty Policy statement and Advisory Panel to oversee the Tackling Poverty Action Plan, and has been working with rural communities through the LEADER programme to identify innovative ways to address rural poverty.

Employment in Carmarthenshire is up by nearly five per cent (increased from 69.1 per cent to 74 per cent) and gross weekly pay is up by 6.2 per cent (from £464.8 to £495.5). Out of work benefits have reduced to 11.4 per cent of the working age population (down from 11.8 per cent in 2015). There has been a nine per cent increase in people achieving NVQ level 4+, up from 34,200 to 37,600 people.

Council leader Cllr Emlyn Dole, who also heads regeneration in the county, said: “The report shows that the county’s economic regeneration efforts are bearing fruit, bringing in millions in investment and funding, creating new jobs and safeguarding existing ones.”

Executive board member for resources Cllr David Jenkins said: “I’m pleased with the statistics that relate to employment being up by nearly five per cent, fewer people on out of work benefits and the fact that pay is up. I think this is symptomatic of our regeneration policy. Long may it continue.”

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