Defence cut hits job prospects for Barry

By Nick Dermody
BBC Wales News


Tuesday is market day in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, and shoppers and traders were going about their business when the decision was announced that the planned £14bn defence academy was to be scrapped.

A large working class town outside Cardiff, Barry is just down the road from St Athan and would have been one of the places most likely to benefit from the estimated 2,000 jobs the scheme was due to create.

image captionIt was market day in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, as news of the defence scheme cut came through

The proposed Defence Technical College (DTC) would have offered specialist engineering, communications and information systems training to all the UK's armed forces, bringing them together in one location on new premises.

The consortium behind the scheme, Metrix, had said around 2,200 jobs would be created, mostly in security, cleaning and catering, with about 800 workers employed during a four-year construction period.

Barry and its seafront, Barry Island, is perhaps best known as the location for the BBC comedy series Gavin and Stacey.

But as news about St Athan came through, no-one was laughing.

Market trader Paul Nash

image captionPaul Nash said he has noticed takings are down at markets around the UK

"I think [the St Athan decision] going to be disastrous for Barry and and it's going to be disastrous for Wales.

"It's very similar to when they shut the Butlins camp in Barry Island.

"Barry itself has one of the highest percentage of vacant retail units in the UK, it's in the top five. It's hard to turn a pound now.

"People have not got any money.

"It's been going on now for about 18 months. We have been round the country quite a bit and our takings our down everywhere.

"My younger brother retired from the RAF as a squadron leader in April. I was in the marines for four years. My father was a fighter pilot."

Butcher Ken Gicquel

image captionKen Gicquel employs four staff at his mobile butcher stand

"It's just another hammer blow for Wales. St Athan would have given us some respectability and self pride.

"Welsh people have been much better off when they are working and providing for themselves. The work is just not there.

"People have not got the funds to spend. A lot of people are on benefits. The demand for people working now is lower that it has ever been.

"You also have young people now that don't want to work.

"The politicians have got to stand up now and be counted. Let's see some sort of fight."

Council worker Luke Collard, 24

image captionLuke Collard has worked full-time for the past six years

"All I know is that it would have created some jobs. Many young people thought the jobs were coming down the road.

"The shops are struggling, all of them. You can see it at lunchtime.

"We had a big Woolworths that closed down and now it's a 99p shop. It shows that people are always lookng for a bargain.

"It has brought an atmosphere into Barry again."

Shae Ellis, 18

image captionShae Ellis applied for a security job working for the military

"I applied for a security job on the Army website. It said it applied 'locally'. I would have thought that was St Athan.

"I would have to do the full Army training. Some woman rang to say she would have a job soon and that she would keep me informed.

"She said it was going on the right track, and that was three-to-five days ago.

"I'm a bit gutted now. I got laid off from my last job [car valeting in Cardiff]

"I knew something like this would happen. I think it's highly unlikely now.

"Maybe I will have to leave the country, maybe I will have to go to England."

Carey Bridge, legal executive

image captionCarey Bridge was celebrating her birthday with daughter Stephanie

"It was going to make a quite a bit of difference locally as far as jobs are concerned.

"We do desperately need some regeneration. It would have brought a lot of money to the area and maybe helped to boost the housing market. That has taken a bit of a downturn.

"I deal with a lot of people that are perhaps lacking in chances in life.

"More jobs now in the area could have helped, particularly with youngsters round here, who perhaps do not have the chances that others have."

Jack White, 24

image captionJack White is deputy manager at the Sir Samuel Romilly pub

"I know there are a lot of people looking for jobs in and around Barry. That would have created a lot of jobs for people.

"They would have lived in and around Barry.

"We are getting applications from the JobCentre all the time.

"We do get a lot of military people here on the weekends when they have finished their training."

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