Elfyn Llwyd: 'Rural poverty is just as grinding as in urban areas'

The writer is MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, where 40 per cent of people in full-time work are paid less than the living wage

Share

"Home to the once-bustling slate quarries which won Britain its name as the workshop of the world, Dwyfor Meirionnydd is scarred by decades of low wages and relatively high unemployment. The area is mainly an agricultural and tourist economy, with factors such as soaring fuel prices and poor broadband services hampering connectivity. Rural poverty is often just as grinding as that in large urban areas.

"The problem is the lack of high-quality jobs, not just the quantity. There is a knock-on effect that also impacts housing, affecting young people as incomes are not high enough to buy local homes.

"The UK is the most unequal country in the EU, in terms of individual wealth and regional disparity. Here in Wales, we are at the bottom of the UK economic league table.

"However, there is certainly no lack of ambition among local people. This week I hosted Parliament's first Meirionnydd Day alongside the Farmers' Union of Wales – a showcase of the constituency's small businesses which are thriving in a time of austerity. Cutting business rates, lending to businesses, and apprenticeships for young people lie at the heart of our plan for a Welsh economic recovery.

"Plaid Cymru has long called for a living wage to ease the squeeze on people's pockets. With the recent hikes in food and energy prices, it is more important than ever that we generate meaningful employment and reward people with fair pay. This would make a substantial difference to living standards in constituencies such as my own."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Application Support Analyst (SQL, CRM, CMS)

£25000 - £29000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Application Suppor...

SEN Teacher - Cerebral Palsy

£75 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education are looki...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Nursery Nurse - Melton Mowbray

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education are current...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Ed Miliband on low pay; Alan Johnson on Betjeman; Tom Freeman on editing

John Rentoul
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments