The Foundational Economy provides an alternative basis for success.

What and who is SAIL?

People who have faith that our communities are the basis for hope in Gwynedd and Môn.

Volunteers from many areas who support the development of communities as the basis for a prosperous, confident, healthy, green, Welsh and equal future.

People who believe that the dependence on contemporary capitalism is harmful to our communities, our environment, our language, our culture and our future.

Each one of us is active in one way or another in our communities.

Healthy communities are the basis of our lives

Basis of environment

Basis of economy

Basis of culture

Basis of language

Basis of resilience

Basis of equality

Basis of generations

Basis of arts

Basis of the future

Basis of Wales

Why are we taking action?

We believe that community is important to people.

We know that community enterprises succeed.

We believe in increasing community enterprises in order to create healthy and resilient communities.

We believe it is possible to keep money within our communities.

We are saddened by the effects of the savage cuts by Governments and Councils.

We are looking for answers to the problems which are undermining the High Street.

We want our young people to be able to work in their areas in houses they can afford.

We want to see priority for fighting climate change.

We don’t believe in the old pattern of expecting salvation from large companies.

We don’t want to see public resources being wasted on the same old strategy.

What are we trying to do?

Showing people that their  communities have value as the basis for the future.

Showing how Gwynedd and Môn can take advantage of progressive ideas from other places around the world.

Showing how the capitalism offered to save us has in fact failed us on many levels.

Showing that communities can think creatively and differently in order to restore local control.

Showing that official plans don’t offer satisfactory answers.

Showing politicians how they can support our communities far better.

Starting a constructive conversation with everybody who is interested in the flourishing of our communities, and offering ways to learn from one another.
















By now taking action to defend our environment is important to an increasing number of people.  The process of exhausting and polluting the earth’s resources since the Industrial Revolution – in which Wales played a leading part, has accelerated.  By now, it is obvious that we cannot continue as before or we will face a climate, biodiversity and food tragedy, and ultimately humanity’s ability to survive.  In our areas, we should consider every development in this light.  We cannot sacrifice and pillage lands, minerals. Lakes and seas as done in the past.  This would happen if some of the current plans are realised.  In  addition, we have to consider the effects of industries here on other areas in the world – for example if an industry which appears kind to the environment here depends on its raw material on pollution and exploiting workers mining in a foreign country.


The old story of capitalism is to put commercial profit before the interests and values of people, communities and the environment. The threats arising from this are intensifying as the environmental, economic, social and cultural problems increase. Against the crisis of international capitalism communities all over the world are empowering themselves and developing alternative answers to transform the system, from the bottom up. This is what SAIL is doing and we share this vision with communities from California to Kurdistan.


We argue that central and local government economic development policies should be transformed to the direction of what is called the ‘foundational economy’. In  so doing we are echoing the vision of a growing number of economists and policy formers (see The supporters of the foundational economy argue that supporting a few  high tech multi-national companies should not be the chief aim of central and local government economic development policy as it is currently. Rather,  governments should prioritise supporting communities and the foundational economy.


There is a tradition of community enterprise running through the history of Wales and there is a chance to build on this legacy. The challenge is to adapt this rich tradition of social enterprise in order to create our future.

We believe that the integrated and holistic model of community development that Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog is innovating offers a pattern which can be copied and adapted by other communities. Furthermore, by linking the model to the principles and implementation of the foundational economy, on the basis of research into the nature of the community, a way ahead is offered for the environmental, economic, social and cultural development of communities across Wales and beyond.

On the basis of our experience with BROcast Ffestiniog it is evident that there is potential and an opportunity to develop digital community broadcasting all over Wales and internationally. Combining community broadcasting, the best in our tradition of community enterprise, an integrated model of contemporary community development, community research and practising the foundational economy offer a new way ahead for Wales.


By adopting the community development model and linking the model to the principles and practising of the foundational economy we believe there is  potential to transform the economy and communities of Wales. This SAIL document offers a strategy and an  economic and community manifesto for an alternative future for  Gwynedd and Môn. The intention is to work with other communities to expand on the manifesto for the whole of Wales. The manifesto will include different sections on the steps which could be taken by individuals, communities, community and county councils, development agencies and the governments of Wales, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Our tradition and history of community enterprise offer basic lessons for our vision today. For example, the vision of ‘The Miners Next Step’, published in 1912, was of democratic ownership and control of the coal industry by workers and community. This was a sort of community control rather than the bureaucratic nationalisation that came from the state. The questions about the nature of democracy and the balance between the role of the state and the role of the community to the future are essential today.

Already several communities across Wales have started to network and co-operate and a Community Movement for Wales is starting to grow. The experience of communities in Sweden offers a pattern which can be copied and adapted for Wales. In Sweden communities all over the country are working together to create a community movement with its National  Senate of Communities which ensures a powerful voice and community powerhouse.

Alongside promoting a model, manifesto and community movement consideration is needed not only of the aim but also of the means of transforming the system. Across the world progressive movements have adopted the non-violent principle and method of operating and this, as in the case of campaigning for the Welsh language, has proved to be very successful.


There is a great need for  new vision for our communities in Gwynedd and Môn.  The intention of presenting this community strategy is to offer another way of looking at what is important to people from their point of view. This means prioritising our communities.

The priority that has been given, and is given, to capitalism, economic growth and profit  before everything else, hoping that prosperity will flow from the top down, has failed.  In  addition, the Westminster Government’s austerity policy has squeezed our County Councils to such an extent that we see them having to justify unpopular policies – and consequently coming into confrontation with local people.  This is not how things should be.

In a comparatively poor area, it is easy to understand why councils welcome grandiose plans. The word “Jobs” should not blind us to the need to ask basic questions about the nature of industries, who will get the jobs, and who profits, and which problems come with them – for people and environment.

Clearly, overcoming the problems of the past decades will not be easy.  Despite that, we would like to think that we can contribute to the discussion on how to deal with some of the serious problems of our areas in this period.  And how to counteract the sense of despair which is evident in areas, villages and towns which have lost very many of the establishments considered as cornerstones – school, bank, busy high street, surgery etc.

The despair and lack of opportunities has created outward migration of our young people, and to some extent the grandfathers and grandmothers, to “green pastures”.  This vacuum is filled in our areas by those who have plenty of resources to buy houses and thereby make it more difficult for our young people to have a home of their own, whether through ownership or through rent.

Some factors are listed below which can be considered in order to measure success.  Of course, a number of these exist as desirable outcomes of the present strategies.  We will argue that a new look should be taken on how to realise these outcomes in the light of the current failure.

  • Stabilising the young population
  • Variety of jobs
  • Industries which are compatible and proportionate
  • Housing
  • Redesigning the purpose of our high streets
  • Increasing confidence
  • Better mental and physical health as a result

As a backdrop to all of this, we cannot ignore what is happening in the wider world.  Specifically, the climate crisis, losing biodiversity and species, pollution, the end of economic growth, change in the ideology of “work”, technological developments in the field of energy and several other fields, amassing wealth in fewer  and fewer hands.  We can add political, commercial and social uncertainty because of Brexit and wars, and our dependence on London Government (directly and indirectly).  All of these effect us.  Our strategies should consider how to counteract them or how to harness them.  While recognising that our ability to act on a local level is restricted, we can however do a lot for ourselves despite the restrictions on us.

Therefore a vision is ultimately needed which contains more than economy, as important as it may be.  The core of our vision is that community is the basis of not only the economy – but many of the things that enrich life as well.  That is why social infrastructure with  accessible amenities are so important to people.  We need to do everything within our ability to restore life to the wilderness which is evident in so many of our towns and villages.  The lives of residents will consequently improve.

Since the emphasis is on communities, we hope that this document will be a basis for discussion in those communities.  The document isn’t a final plan, but a basis for development.  We would like to see meetings with people where we will have the chance to suggest things which will improve their communities in the fullest meaning.

Most of this document was written before Covid-19 arrived and caused such disruption.  We saw how communities supported their residents during the outbreak, and for the first time for ages the importance of resilience and good neighbourhood to us was seen.  Much is heard about predicting that it will be a different world when the crisis passes.  It is difficult to tell which exact changes we will see, but one thing is certain – our communities will be absolutely crucial as we face the challenges of the future.  It is essential, therefore, that those communities are strengthened and appreciated for their contribution to all aspects of life – not only the material aspects.  We believe that the effects od Covid-19 reinforce the central message in this document – namely that communities are our wealth, and the basis of our lives.


  1. Gwynedd and Môn are central to the period before the industrial revolution and to early capitalism–agriculture, copper, slates are central.
  2. Capitalism created modern nineteenth century Gwynedd and Môn capitalism with new social classes. Compared to other parts of Britain, the numbers of the capitalist and middle class was small with a numerous working class.
  3. There was confrontation between farmers and landlords and an often fierce class confrontation in the slate industry. The identity, cultural, religious and political differences between the capitalists and the workers intensified the confrontation between the interests of capital and labour. It was described as a community battle against the owners of the slate quarries. The Penrhyn quarrymen were locked out for three years in a battle for the right to an independent union and this history is deep in Gwynedd’s community memory.
  4. Throughout the twentieth century the economic foundations created in the previous century were undermined and the economy was restructured, especially after 1939. The primary sector industries shrank, mainly agriculture ans slate. There was growth in the manufacturing sector in the period from the Second World War to the nineteen seventies. From the Second World War onwards the share of jobs in the public services sector increased. Jobs in private services also increased; especially in tourism.
  5. Practically no women were employed in the slate industry. Although active, few women were owners, tenants or employed in the world of agriculture. Following the change from the primary sector to the secondary and tertiary the waged work of women increased to the extent that they are by now about half of the workforce, although their hours of paid work and their pay per hour, on average, continues to be substantially lower than men.
  6. Alongside the change from the primary to the secondary and tertiary sector, locations as well as nature of work changed. Jobs moved more and more from the interior to the coastal areas. For example, the relationship between Bethesda and Bangor, between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog changed.
  7. While looking at aspects of the industrial history of the slate quarrying areas it is likely that there was a tendency to over-emphasise the activity and adherence to nonconformist religion. Despite the influence of the chapels there was also enjoyment of the entertainment of the pub, the dance, the football fiield and so on but these have had less attention from historians.
  8. In comparison with the average in Wales, Gwynedd and Môn are more dependent on the public sector. It is obvious that cutting the sector is effecting the area worse than other places.
  9. Throughout the twentieth century the area’s tourist industry grew but increasingly large international companies came to own and profit most from the industry leaving crumbs for local people. Bodies like the Snowdonia National Park were established to safeguard and provide resources for city and large town residents from the outside. The needs of local communities were a secondary consideration.
  10. There was a strong international element to the slate industry with its worldwide exporting. Increasingly over the twentieth century elements of the Gwynedd economy were globalised with changes to the pattern of ownership and control of capital. Therefore, There are branches of British and international companies in Gwynedd but their headquarters are outside. Because of the effects of globalisation ad well as the nature od many regional development plans of the United Kingdom and Welsh governments, Gwynedd’s economy is less integrated and less unique by today.
  11. Some emphasis of European Union policies, different to United Kingdom regional policies, is on developing assets and opportunities within Gwynedd and the region with the aim of further integration of the region’s economy.
  12. The economic changes had quite an effect on Gwynedd communities but the effect varied greatly between one community and another. As the economic base changed outward migration and immigration patterns changed and the social classes were restructured. This led to changes and variation in lingusitic as well as economic and social patterns of the communities.
  13. Political change was seen in Gwynedd and Môn over the twentieth century. In voting pattern the Liberals were in power until the First World War but support for the Labour Party grew consistently afterwards, reaching its peak in the nineteen sixties. Since then, the electoral vote of Plaid Cymru increased consistently so that it is the most popular party in Gywnedd. But it can be argued that it is not the political views of the population have changed so much by the pattern of voting. Rather, to a great extent, a change that has happened regarding which party represents the comparatively consistent political views of the population.
  14. In the case of the former quarrying areas the population fell consistently for a century and more thereby losing a lot of their young people. On thr other hand, the population of some coastal communities increased with a very different migration pattern.
  15. Gwynedd has the oldest housing stock in Wales and Wales has the oldest stock in Europe. The result is poor houses with high heating and maintenance bills.
  16. As a result of economic changes the income per head is lower compared to the Welsh average, which in turn, is less than the British and Western European average.

The main lessons of history

The workers of Gwynedd and Môn  produced vast products and services but it was others who took most advantage of the labour and natural resources of the region. Despite producing such wealth and although we should be prosperous economic communities we are, in fact, by now among Europe’s poor people.  Without ownership and control over our resources, perpetuation of this will be our history.

We  must have a different way ahead to the past. That is why an alternative economic and community strategy is being offered for  a prosperous future. Such a strategy depends on understanding the nature of our communities today. One of the obvious lessons that arises from looking at the history of Gwynedd and Môn is how varied economically, socially and culturally the areas communities are. Therefore, research and community development work has to be formed according to the unique nature of any specific community. Research work and community development plans are needed based on true understanding of how historical, linguistic, political and economic characteristics of specific communities are intertwined. To understand, interpret and develop a community today data and information is needed on the characteristics and the bodies listed below.

Demography, international companies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), micro-businesses, self-employment, employment, unemployment, travelling to work, distribution of income, benefits, housing stock, house prices, housing rents, holiday homes, rented holiday homes, environment, living costs, costs and fuel poverty, prices of goods and services, education, health, culture, language, entertainment, sports, leisure, youth services, less specific factors like roots, a sense of community, Welshness, views, the world of nature, safety, fresh air and so on.

Simply, the main lesson of our history is that we have to understand our situation in our communities roday and take hold of the future.


Lovering, J. (1976) Gwynedd –Sir Mewn Argyfwng. Coleg Harlech.


We know that Gwynedd and Môn are among the poorest regions within the United Kingdom.  For example, in 2017, Gross Value Added per Head in Môn was £14,314 and in Gwynedd £19,969 (Wales £19,899, the UK £27,298). [1]  Wales is the only country within the United Kingdom that saw an increase in child poverty in 2017 – 2018 says the latest report commissioned by Children in Wales and others, with almost three of every ten children living in poverty.[2]

Large plans of the past, like Trawsfynydd,  Wylfa A and Aliwminiwm Môn,  have not solved the problem – some would argue that they have worsened matters.  The lesson is that capitalist companies essentially make as much profit as they can by taking advantage of local natural and human resources, and of money from the public purse, before disappearing and leaving problems behind them.

Dr Dan Evans explains that capitalism needs poor areas in his article to the Institute of Welsh Affairs from 2015, therefore poverty isn’t an accident in our areas.[3]  “…capitalism in fact needs these depressed, undeveloped regions- they are not an accident, just like unemployment is not an accident….FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) is a false idol. The decision to invest in Wales is not benevolent, as portrayed in the press, but driven solely by profit. It is parasitic: firms come in, make a profit, then leave.”  One of the unfortunate results of this is that politicians tend to swallow promises about a virtual Eldorado  as a means of solving long term problems.

An example was seen in Bridgend in South Wales with the Ford company’s announcement that they were going to close their factory there with the loss of 1,700  jobs.[4]  Yet again, we are still being offered the same types of answers at the moment.  It was announced that the Ineos company, which has raised the shackles of many because of their support for fracking and the oil industry, want to set up a factory close to the Ford factory, with  200 jobs to begin with and a promise for 500 ultimately.  ‘There is no surprise at all that Welsh Government and Westminster  Government money supports Ineos – although its owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is recognised as the richest man in the UK with £21 billion to his name.[5]  In  addition to that, he lives in Monaco in order to avoid paying taxes.[6]  This is relevant to Gwynedd and Môn because the very same political inclination exists here as well.

We note that the North Wales Economic Ambition Board says: “Over 5,000 jobs could be created, as well as new businesses and houses (including affordable houses).” [7]

This type of statement reminds us of the style of language used when a “once in a generation opportunity” came when these areas had a huge injection of money from Europe under the Objective One programme – and again the economy was not transformed, and the area’s poverty  still means that we qualify ro receive money from Europe.[8]  The article [9] by Professor Calvin Jones, Cardiff University, in “The Conversation” discusses in detail aspects of this kind of financing, and how there is a need to look again at the problems of our poorest areas.

We also fear that the desire to be part of the Northern Powerhouse[10] in  England is likely to lead to making  our areas even more marginal as our influence on that body’s strategy will be small, and likely to weaken  our economic connection with other parts of Wales. The Welsh Government document “National Development Framework 2020-2040 {draft}” added to the perception that Gwynedd and Môn are marginal to Welsh Government plans)”.[11]  Here the Welsh Government prioritises city and urban areas for investments – in the North, Wrexham – and the importance of developing links between Wrexham and the North of England is emphasised time after time. We understand that Gwynedd and Ynys Môn County Councils are also unhappy about this vision.

Naturally, there are some developments that we can support, like the Morlais marine energy plan off the coast of Ynys Môn.  The support by Welsh Government by using European money to develop tidal energy commercially is ro be welcomed.[12]  The emphasis should be, as in every plan, on getting the maximum benefit to the local area, and it is good to understand that it is Menter Môn’s intention, who are behind Morlais.  The central question to be asked is this – what do we mean by “local benefit”?  Does it mean giving money by the commercial companies into a fund like Ynys Môn’s Charitable Society?[13]  That fund, set up originally as a legacy by by the Shell oil company, has done excellent work for 30 years, and is now worth £22 million, to be distributed for the benefit of “voluntary and community groups and regeneration projects”.  Or should we be more ambitious?  Is it possible for local people to get a share of ownership of companies which take advantage of our natural and human resources?  Ultimately, it would be desirable to have local ownership where possible – that is, aiming to own the cake rather than the left over crumbs.

More and more evidence is appearing which shows how old fashioned and certain to fail the present strategy is.  By now, it is not marginal people and movements who are saying this. There is respected academic work from Stanford and Berkeley in the USA and Aalborg in Denmark which model 100% clean energy in 139 countries. [14]  The worldwide establishment McKinsey’s “Global Energy Perspective 2019” report says [15]:

“As the cost of renewables has come down further, many countries will reach a tipping point in the next five years where new-build solar or wind capacity is cost-competitive with the fuel cost of existing conventional plants.  As a result we see a further acceleration of the ramp-up of renewables.”

Case study – Wylfa B

The North Wales Economic Ambition Board[16] supports a Grwoth Plan Application for North Wales[17] “where the focus of economic growth is on innovation in high value economic sectors”. 

The most obvious example is Wylfa B, which has by now been suspended.  Wylfa was supported by the Welsh Government[18] , the UK Government[19], and Bangor University.[20] This was the economic cornerstone of Ynys Môn and to a large extent Gwynedd, and this was the basis of the Local Development Plan that the two Councils share. [21]  The plain truth is that the economic future of  Ynys Môn and Gwynedd has been put without question in the hands of a few people in a room in Tokyo – namely the Hitachi Company board.[22] Over  ten years were spent and money and officers’ time were spent supporting the nuclear station instead of other economic ideas[23] .  Is there anybody going to called to account for this?  Is there an apology for the disillusionment of young people who had expected employment there?  Is there any consideration of how many jobs that would have been created by now if the money spent supporting Wylfa B had been spent supporting community enterprises and local businesses?  Is there any rethinking about the folly of continuing with the nuclear dream  about Wylfa and Trawsfynydd?  A dream that is alive and kicking in the minds of local politicians in Ynys Môn and Gwynedd, and the Welsh and UK Governments.[24] [25]  And it is a dream that totally ignores the increasing evidence that nuclear power is not needed to supply our needs, and in addition that it is impossible to build nuclear power stations in time to counteract the effects of climate change, as the “World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2019” says:

 “Stabilizing the climate is urgent, nuclear power is slow. It meets no technical or operational need that these low-carbon competitors cannot meet better, cheaper, and faster.”

The idea of a third Bridge over the Menai is again one that came following the presumption that Wylfa B was coming; an admission of this came from Ken Skates (Welsh Government Cabinet Minister for Economy and Transport).[26]  Despite this the Welsh Government want to spend more money on the project.[27]  The plain truth is that building more roads doesn’t solve transport problems, or carbon emissions.  There should be a broader look at the problem – namely how to move people and goods in the most effective manner from one place to another, and looking again at travel to work patterns and for leisure.  We can say that the same arguments are relevant as those given by Dr Mark Drakeford, The First Minister of Wales, when  the intention to develop the M4 near Newport was cancelled.[28]

It is worth quoting extensively from a report of a meeting of the (January 2020)  Royal Institution of International Affairs, Chatham House[29] :

“Far from tackling climate change, nuclear power is an expensive distraction.

Nuclear power is in terminal decline worldwide and will never make a serious contribution to tackling climate change.

“Money used to improve energy efficiency saved four times as much carbon as that spent on nuclear power; wind saved three times as much, and solar double.

The fact is that nuclear power is in slow motion commercial collapse around the world. The idea that a new generation of small modular reactors would be built to replace them is not going to happen; it is just a distraction away from a climate solution

One of the myths peddled was that nuclear was needed for “baseload” power because renewables were available only intermittently.

“Having large inflexible nuclear stations that could not be switched off was a serious handicap in a modern grid system where renewables could at times produce all the energy needed at much lower cost.”

Also interesting is Dr Martin Edlund’s comment, the Chief Executive of the Minesto company,[30] which is piloting a tidal and current energy device near Holyhead:[31]

“The potential that we’ve seen so far is more than the whole nuclear capacity on Earth”.

Case study – Snowdonia Enterprise Zone

The Snowdonia Enterprise Zone is an example of recycling ideas from the 20th century, namely the Llanbedr Airfield and Trawsfynydd nuclear power station.[32]  It appears that members of the Advisory Board have links to the nuclear/military aviation industries,[33] and there is no representation from community movements.  We believe that there is an immoral element in the developments that are supported. 

The nuclear bubble is still promoting the Small Modular Reactors despite what the “World Nuclear Industry Status Report”,[34] says, namely:

“United Kingdom. Rolls-Royce is the only company interested in participating in the government’s SMR competition but has requested significant subsidies that he government is apparently resisting. The Rolls-Royce design is at a very early stage but, at 450 MW, it is not really small.”

Gwynedd Council have given £500,000 to support the Llanbedr Airfield development, which is the home of Snowdonia Aerospace Ltd[35] (customers include the weapons companies Qinetiq, BAE and Thales)and where drones are being developed.[36]  In Trawsfynydd the Small Modular Reactor is supported by Gwynedd Council,[37] the Welsh Government,[38] the local Senedd Member[39] the local member of Parliament[40] and Lord Wigley.[41]   There is a military link between civil nuclear and military nuclear,[42] [43] therefore it is difficult to reconcile supporting Trawsfynydd while opposing Trident.[44]  It is also difficult to see how it can be supported on the basis of the climate crisis, as it would be delivered too late,[45] and there is no certainty at all regarding how many jobs there would be for local people.


Essentially, the basis of our strategy is this:

An economy to serve people in their communities and to improve the natural and cultural environment.

This is not a strategy prepared in an usual way.  It is a response from people in Gwynedd and Môn who are worried about the failure to develop work opportunities.  We are worried about the precedents of development and the economic planning we have had here for over a decade by now.  We believe that the way we will look at development in our communities in their entirety needs to be revolutionised.

We question whether the idea of “Economic Growth” in the current form is sustainable any more.  Since the Industrial Revolution, people and natural resources have been used to serve the economy.  When people will not be needed, when natural resources will be exhausted, or when a new process will have replaced them, then the capitalist machine will move ahead without taking responsibility for the damage done.  Consequently towns which came into being following establishing a specific industry are neglected, as in the slate quarry areas (Bethesda, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Dyffryn Nantlle) and the copper industry area (Amlwch).  In other industries like agriculture we see depopulation as there are fewer and fewer workers needed, and intensive farming which can lead to environmental problems.[46]

Even leading capitalists admit by now that capitalism doesn’t work for most people. For example Ray Dalio (worth $18 billion!):“Capitalism basically is not working for the majority of people. That’s just the reality,” .[47]

We see more and more employed people working long hours, but still having trouble to make ends meet.[48]  However, in Finland the 34 year old Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, wants to introduce a 4 day working week, and working hours of 6 hours a day.[49]  Therefore distribution of wealth, resources and time need to be totally revised.

We must wake up to the huge threat of climate change as is explained in the IPCC report,[50] and to form our economic plans in unison with the environment. By now, we know that we have to do everything possible to protect the environment while maintaining an economy.  In order to achieve this, we need to revolutionise the way we think about work and what is its purpose.  And recognising that we cannot treat the earth’s wealth as if it were inexhaustible.

We should be ashamed that our claimed “civilisation” has been too blind and too greedy to face the environmental crisis before now – and be more ashamed that our children and young people are campaigning so fearlessly because our political leaders have not taken appropriate action. 

The strategy challenges the nature of a number of plans supported by the political establishment –  plans which also, to a great extent, ignore changes in the wide outside world.

Plans which would harm our communities, our language and culture, and our environment. 

We challenge our politicians to honestly face the ambivalence that exists between on one hand excellent statements about the environment, and on the other hand the readiness to put the benefit of the environment aside by supporting industries which destroy environment and create serious problems for future generations.  Naturally, we warmly welcome the good work done in areas such as recycling, but we believe all local and central government policies should be formed from an environmental perspective.  The writing is on the wall! 

This is a strategy which responds to the sense of despair among our communities which stems from generations of economic neglect by central Governments.  The austerity agenda is ripping our  areas apart.  As a result we see ever increasing confrontation between the public and county councils, where we should be working together, for example when youth clubs[51] and rural schools ar being closed by our county councils.[52] [53] Since unemployment and poverty is rife, external offers by international capitalist companies and the military industry are welcomed with open arms by the Welsh political establishment.[54] [55] [56]ThThe political response following trhe failure opf such an offer shows an appalling lack of imagination.  An example of this is the discussion in the Senedd about Wylfa.[57]

We would like to present ideas which will restore the confidence of our people, and to offer hope – especially for our young people – that there can be a better future here, and that it will not be imperative to leave the area to have it.  We would like to think a climate could be created where some of the young people who have left see opportunities to come back to revitalise their native areas.

It is our belief that there is better hope for our economy to survive resiliently if development is from the bottom up.  The emphasis is on answering local demands rather than the demands of capitalism.  We believe that the purpose of a prosperous economy and work is to create satisfactory living conditions for everybody.  This means housing, work and health.

We argue that central and local government economic development policies should be transformed to the direction of supporting what is called the ‘foundational economy’. In this way we are echoing the vision of a growing number of economists and policy formers (see The supporters of the foundational economy argue that a small number of international high tech companies should not be supported as being the main economic development policy objective of central and local government as it currently is. Rather,  governments should prioritise supporting the foundational economy. This is the sector that employs 40% of the workforce, which is partly public and partly private, which provides goods and services taken for granted and which everybody need and which are therefore anchored in our communities. The foundational economy is, essentially, social and community based. Directly or indirectly it is financed by the state or by expenditure of homes which means that the activities of the foundational economy are protected against the uncertainty of the market. This method of looking again at our economy in terms of the foundational economy, or our foundational communities,  leads to different government policies. New policies which question the business models, public and private, which place minimum cost and maximum profit as the aim and which ignores the community basis for the sustainability of environment, economy and society. 

SAIL’s vision questions the establishment’s way of thinking about environment, economy, society, politics and culture. In accordance with the ideology of the foundational economy there are two sets of ideas at the heart of SAIL’s vision and they are noted below.

  1. The welfare and prosperity pf people depend less on buying goods and services for individuals and more on the provision of community goods and services. Things like the water supply, schools, hospitals, banks and care homes. The individual’s expenditure depends on the individual’s income but the use of community goods and services depend on the community provision.
  2. Therefore, the main function of public policies should be to ensure better foundational services for everybody rather than the blinkered obsession with economic growth and increasing the number of jobs without considering their quality or value. If the welfare and prosperity of everybody were the main objective then it would be expected of government, at British and Welsh levels and locally, to prioritise the foundational economy and quality community provision for everybody.  Although the Welsh Government has moved a little in this direction, supporting large international companies is still their  priority at the expense of our communities. When governments, at different levels, don’t respond, then our communities have to lead the way and take action. This creates politics from the bottom up which goes beyond top down politics with its false promises of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.

We don’t claim that we have all the answers.  We don’t apologise for stealing ideas either!  That is, how ideas and projects which have worked and are being implemented in other places can be used for the benefit of our people in Gwynedd and Môn.

Of course, the County Councils, Welsh Government and Westminster Government have huge influence.  We are not going to underestimate that, and we will welcome a discussion.  We would like to think that politicians and indeed people in the community are willing to consider and discuss our ideas as a genuine and constructive attempt to get a change for the better.  Our intention is to start a debate, not to offer detailed answers for each single community and area.  But the hope is that those specific responses will be formed with the principles and thought outlined in this document.

Our hope is to motivate people to think creatively and innovatively.  To think that that there are different ways of measuring success.  To think there are different ways of putting roofs above our peoples heads.  To think that there is a sustainable way of using our lands and seas.  To think that it is possible to create work for people not for foreign capital.  The people who can do this are in our communities – if  they can have the proper tools for the work.  

The words of Sel Williams from Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog summarises the philosophy that guides our minds:

“At the core of these questions is the question of what kind of Wales do we want to create.  Wales as a community of communities or Wales with a state which prioritises serving private capital and which centralises rather than decentralises power, a Welsh state to rule us or a state whiich liberates from serving our communities and our people”.

Raymond Williams, the great Welsh thinker, has wise words to advise us:

“…there is wealth only in people and in their land and seas. Uses of wealth which abandon people are so profoundly contradictory that they become a social disaster, on a par with the physical disasters which follow from reckless exploitation of the land and seas. An economic policy which would begin from real people in real places, and which would be designed to sustain their continuing life, requires a big shift in our thinking…”

Strategy Priorities:

Sustainable work

The strategy is to consider what kind of employment is not at the mercy of decisions made far from Gwynedd and Môn, and what kind of structure is appropriate for plans and developments for ensuring the ultimate advantage for our communities.

In this light, what has happened so far?  The fact is that closing a factory which employs, say, 100 people is a big blow.  But losing work for i 1,000 people would be far worse.  Therefore it is unwise to depend on one big employer in an area, and it is even more unwise to plan for the coming of such an employer, without certainty it will invest, and without a credible backup plan in reserve.  This is the fundamental weakness Wylfa B had at the expense of other plans – and this is a general truth, not specifically about nuclear power.

Therefore sustainable work should consider the characteristics of these areas, and try to develop work in harmony with those characteristics, and use local workers as a starting point.  Many examples could be given of work being given to external companies while the skills to do the work exist locally.  The public sector, which includes county councils, colleges and governments realise that there is far more to do in this direction, forming procurement contracts which give a good chance for local companies to get the work.

We believe that there is room to develop work which uses raw materials that can be grown and/or collected, so that the source is nearby rather than having to be conveyed here from far away.  An example of what could be possible is extending the work that is done by the BioCompounds Centre[58] in Bangor University with the specific aim of establishing industries locally.  That would mean not only creating jobs but also adding value to the produce.

  • Protecting environment

The strategy is placing protecting the environment as the cornerstone of every policy adopted, every decision made, and every method of action – as individuals, public bodies and businesses.

The extremists now are the ones who believe we can ignore the effects of humanity’s actions on the environment.  If we in this corner of the earth are to do what we can to protect the environment, then we should adopt the worthy intention expressed in climate crisis statements expressed by our Councils and Government, by going quite a bit further than ensuring efficient recycling, promoting electric cars and so on, however excellent these things are.

Our strategy is to consider the short term and long term effects, of any developments in our areas.  It isn’t consistent to have green policies on one hand, while on the other hand ignoring the implications of such a policy.  This is what happens when promises are made about alleged jobs which mean building on green land, destroying hundreds of acres, sacrificing land and landscape for roads and bridges.  The attempt to “mitigate” such destruction is cynical by allocating reserves and habitats instead of the ones damaged.

We believe sites which are by now redundant because their original purpose has come to an end, and use them for contemporary purposes.  This should be the first choice before putting concrete on green land.  ‘We only need to look around us and we see examples of old abandoned sites, while nearby a new site has been developed on good agricultural land.  Obviously, there will be ownership considerations to be resolved, but by now we must deal with such problems.  To repeat one of our principles, what is best for the community should be done rather than what is best for capitalists.  Usually, what is best for the community is synonymous with what is best for the environment.

The effects of what we do to the environment in other parts of the world needs to be considered, by asking ourselves the obvious question – “What if our families suffered because unscrupulous people were taking advantage of us?”.  The most relevant example for us is mining for uranium, and the destructive effect it has worldwide.[59] There is rampant pollution, ill health and genetic effects in its wake.

  • Safeguarding and developing our language and culture

The strategy is to reinforce and extend our efforts to support the Welsh language so that it is relevant to everybody in Gwynedd and Môn.  A much more ambitious strategy is needed than previously seen.

Of course, we are thankful for the great steps taken in the fields of education and the use of Welsh in public life, and we are grateful for the support we get from those who don’t speak Welsh, natives or incomers.  At the same time, it has to be accepted that there is either apathy or antagonism towards the Welsh language by many.

A new strategy needs to be formed in order to recognise the situation as it is.

We believe that the present strategy of harnessing goodwill towards the language by many people who don’t speak Welsh is something to be applauded and extended.  We would like to see money provided for immersion plans for all ages – not only the children of newcomers.  While recognising that not all people without the Welsh language want to take advantage of this, we believe that convenience and cost is a problem for many at the moment. 

We believe that a strategy is needed for community meetings where instantaneous translation has not been available.  For example a meeting of the village hall committee – when these meetings turn from Welsh to English for convenience in several communities?  If we believe in keeping the Welsh language as the language of the community then we have to give people the confidence to use their own language.  Otherwise the perception is that Welsh is marginal, and the confidence of Welsh speaking Welsh people are undermined further.  Turning the argument about costs upside down – by saying that those who can’t speak the language are responsible for extra costs, rather than being a burden of guilt on people who want to speak Welsh publicly.

In order to do this, the language has to be considered in every field – not as a subject to be restricted or put to one side.  An important element of such a strategy is making Welsh essential, rather than “desirable”, for far more jobs than what we see at the moment.  Obviously, the public sector is a good starting point, and it should include agencies of Westminster and Welsh Governments which are at arms length from the governments.  Time after time, we see appointments at high levels of bodies which are nothing but a step on a British career – therefore there is not much pressure to learn Welsh, nor to appoint people who can speak Welsh in the first place.  The ethos of such bodies permeate from the top down.

In order to be effective additional resources are needed from the Welsh Government and earmarked for the language.  Heroic work is done by teachers and the Language Enterprises (Mentrau Iaith), but the resources that they have are insufficient.

  • Developing resilience and confidence in our communities

The strategy is to show the value of our communities by using additional measures to the usual narrow economic ones.

We propose listing positive things, like environment resources, a thriving school, youth and old age clubs, voluntary services, community enterprises, local businesses.  Then it will be possible to show that these things can come together to raise the confidence of a community, as one positive thing leads to another.  A community enterprise can use local suppliers, which is obviously advantageous in reinforcing the local economy.

The history of Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog (see below) offers an example which can be adopted – adapted to the specific circumstances of other communities. A successful strategy will offer support and expertise in specialist fields like finance and regulation, but not heavy-handedly bureaucratic.  Up to now, there are several community enterprises, but they are only examples.Stronger support of the  type seen to large outside companies means that there is good chance to increase the numbers of these enterprises and that they would have a better chance of succeeding. Therefore the confidence in communities would increase and their resilience – that has often survived under a shower of blows -strengthens.

The aim of this strategy is that support comes from several directions – the community, the county councils, Welsh Government and the third sector – giving the best possible chance for having success.  Success would mean community enterprises which make enough profit to sustain employment, without having to depend on volunteers all the time.  It would mean that local businesses thrive and grow by working with community enterprises.

A result of success would be the changing of the mentality of dependence for an answer and maintenance from the outside.  Instead of that, a mentality of pride and confidence would derive from being able to control the direction of a community better, and feeling that important decisions happen locally.

  • Offering hope for our young people

The strategy is to create structures which show that there are opportunities, support and welcome for our young people.

This means doing more than just  providing education, important as that may be.  It means considering which choices can be created are already available, and which choices can be created.  Then we can control them so that they are attractive to our young people, and within their reach.  Choices of work, housing, leisure, arts, environment and so on.  Obviously there are huge challenges, but by following the fundamental strategy, namely starting from the community level and working upwards, we believe there is a better chance of developing suitable circumstances – and that would be true across Gwynedd and Môn. 

To do this promises that have been formed without certainty that they will be realised have to be avoided.  It doesn’t need to be said that a generation of young people have been disappointed by  Wylfa B – and that is the lesson that the entire education sector should learn – comprehensive schools, Coleg Llandrillo Menai and Bangor University.

The strategy needs to seriously look at the core work that needs to be done and making sure our young people are being attracted to work such as care, housing maintenance, the industries of the land and so on.  The official emphasis seen on the idea of creating jobs of “good quality” is not accidental (to use the well worn phrase), which often succeeds to keep the promoters of these jobs broadly in their own jobs – but without necessarily leading towards jobs promised for young people.

The strategy therefore asks to take a step back and not repeat the stratetgy that has failed.  Nothing is wrong with reconsidering, but we feel that there is a culture, it appears, of fearing losing face.

  • Contributing towards health and welfare

The strategy is to consider looking after the health and welfare as something that permeates through the whole activity.  Expecting that the Health Service deals with everything is unreasonable.  Therefore if living conditions are favourable the health and welfare of most people will improve.

Which living conditions do we mean?  Housing and work are obvious.  But there are other “softer” things from the viewpoint of the lack of attention paid to them, and that usually as there isn’t a way of measuring them in monetary terms.  Here are some: sense of community (which includes different generations respecting each other); environment; leisure.  There are others that have been undermined and have disappeared specifically because financial measurement can be given on savings, but no measure of social costs.  Here are some: banks; schools; shops; general practitioners. 

We welcome the growing awareness of mental health problems.  We recognise that there are increasing demands on doctors and hospitals for a number of reasons. But a strategy is needed to go to the root of these problems.  Therefore alongside improving living conditions it would be good to have a system to see whether people’s feeling that their health and welfare are improving or deteriorating as a result of changes in those living conditions.  We can suggest that there are a number of things to consider – work (or lack of work), nature of the work (e.g. zero hours), living patterns, drinking, smoking, use of drugs (legal and illegal).  That is, using measures in addition to financial measures.  And if measuring financially, measuring what the entire effect is e.g. If a school, or bank or surgery closes, what effect that has on travel costs, environmental effects, health care costs etc.

  • Keeping ownership and profit in the community

The strategy is to make a genuine effort to make the most of the core economy and the circular economy.  In addition to that, creating conditions which are favourable to community enterprises and local businesses through legislation, and also by offering help to enterprises and businesses to get the financial and regulatory structures in their places.

We believe that there is room to to do much more in order that local businesses get as much as possible of the cake through the procurement process.  There is a department in Bangor University which specialises in the field of procurement, therefore it should be possible to form documents which give local businesses a good chance.

A successful strategy should make sure that suitable finance is available for the needs of social enterprises.  One of the problems is that there is a need for finance in poor communities.  But investors obviously want to support community and environmental enterprises, therefore developing this should be looked at in detail.

A strategy is needed to try and make sure that successful companies don’t get swallowed by other companies  which usually have headquarters further away from the original community of the business.  This makes it more likely that the local part of the new business gets closed down or is downgraded when a depression comes.  Therefore there needs to be looking at ways of making sure that there is a satisfactory solution for a local business owner who wishes to sell and/or retire, where there is nobody obvious, such as a family member, available.  Buying out by the workers could be an answer in some cases, if the business is robust enough. 

We give a direct challenge to the following:

  • The strategy of trying to attract investments by international capitalist companies
  • The culture of offering substantial grants for large plans while giving crumbs to community plans
  • Industries which destroy the environment
  • The priority given to the war and nuclear industries here

We believe that ideas are needed that can be implemented:

  • In the short term
  • In the medium termg
  • Over the long term

We recommend that each community develops its own Alternative Development Plan.

Such plans would consider:

  • Looking at examples of successful plans
  • Analysing what were the hindrances for them
  • Suggesting how similar development plans can be developed
  • Looking at different financing models
  • Looking at what can be possible area by area


We cannot mention every possible field in a document like this, nor deal in detail with any field.  The intention is to present a way of thinking rather than detailed solutions.

Economy, Finance and Jobs

A basic principle that we have is that many varied businesses or social enterprises are far more resilient than one large business employing the same number of workers.  In the post-industrial period where so many large works have closed or shrank (slate quarries, aluminium works, nuclear power stations), the fact has to be faced that the capitalist model has been defective in Gwynedd and Môn.  Often, it has left huge problems to be solved – but not by the companies that profited.

We ask politicians at all levels to prioritise and support community enterprises and comparatively small businesses which are rooted locally.  Success is difficult in the contemporary world, but we believe that the community model succeeds, and it could succeed more as support grows from residents of our communities and from the political machine.

The Welsh Government can support the economy by relocating some of its offices to Gwynedd and Môn, to start putting right  the chance missed at the start of devolution.  We again emphasise the role of procurement by central and local governments to give a substantial boost for us.

We in these areas can never compete regarding setup costs and running a big business which depends on international capital – the only thing we will do is to compete in a “race to the bottom” in terms of employment, work conditions, and environmental pillage.

Every time we get promises of jobs, basic questions should be asked.  Jobs for who?  How many jobs?  How many of the best jobs can local people do?  What is the environmental cost?  What are the social, cultural and linguistic costs?  What will follow if the project fails?

Finance is a  difficult and specialist field.  We know it created problems for many businesses and enterprises, and we saw the closure of so many High Street banks that we should seriously ask what should be provided in their place.  One of the demands is to get specialist help for a reasonable price.  Banc Cambria [60]  is being developed, and it has to be hoped that such an establishment – and others – can answer the purpose.  It is good to see that the Welsh Government supports the idea of exchanging credits between businesses rather than exchanging money, and it is going to be piloted in North Wales following work by Eifion Williams of Circular Economy Wales.[61]

For too long, the lack of financial literacy has been a barrier.  Financial education is important to ensure economic success.

It is difficult to predict in an unstable period like this what the guidelines and statutory conditions will be for future employment regarding terms, working hours, pensions and so on.  However, we should aim for a variety of jobs which are not over dependent on one market or a handful of employers.

We should also understand that the present pattern of each  adult working increases hours in the home in order to try (and possibly fail) and make ends meet, is one that comes with huge social cost to families and to physical and mental health.  It  basically creates a population that is tired, without spark and without hope.

It is expected that automation will get rid of many jobs, as it has done for years, but this will extend to wider fields.  As it was with the coming of computers, it is possible to predict that it will not be necessary to work so much to create the same wealth.  The problem is that those in work have not seen that happening while owners of the capitalist business are gathering ever increasing wealth.  And of course those who lose their jobs are seen as a burden and problem rather than being seen as valuable members of society – and this can lead to physical and mental health problems.

Therefore there is a genuine need to re-devise what exactly the nature of work will be in the future, and how we will share ownership and profit of people’s activity.  Clearly, this needs to happen  beyond Gwynedd and Môn, but we can lead the way.

We also believe that it would be good if work were available for people close to their homes to a far greater extent.  Work was centralised because cars are available (see the section on transport below).  Therefore many villages and towns are quiet and lifeless during the day.  And this is linked to the deterioration of the high street.

In the same way as having to devise new ways of looking at work, it is necessary to re-devise the high street.  It can be fairly argued that many jobs have been lost because supermarkets have succeeded – and that by getting planning permission in the first place.  Since that cannot be easily undone, it is useful to ask why some villages and towns succeed to thrive, while many deteriorate to be a shadow of the past?  There are no easy answers – but it can be said that paying for parking is a stumbling block for many; that lack of public transport is a problem; that businesses have trouble paying their costs not to mention making a profit; and that government gives assistance with business tax.  Perhaps what is needed is to ask each community what would make the high street better for them.  Is shopping the main purpose by now?  It would be interesting to form specific strategies on the basis of such work.  However, we believe that the basic principle is to get the high street to be a place people enjoy going to for whatever reasons, and which offer a chance to socialise, do business, spend leisure time,  and look at how to get people living in houses again.

Houses and Homes

Housing is one of Gwynedd and Môn’s most complex problems.  We can consider roughly what the “headings” are.

  • The cost of houses

In February 2019, the average cost of a house in Gwynedd was £155,857, and in Môn £176,898.[62]  

 The cost of houses coming on to the market are often too high for local people, especially young people, to be able to buy them. The local economy has been neglected to such an extent that local people cannot compete with people from the outside who have plenty of capital to  buy the houses.  We can say that this is one reason why young people have to leave to look for work in order to be able to buy a house.

  • The standard of houses

Wales’ housing stock is the oldest in the UK.  Because of that there are higher heating costs, and ill health that can be avoided.  According to Public Health Wales, 18.% of our houses are dangerous to health; sub-standard houses cost £1 billion for society here; and sub-standard houses cost more than £95 million for the Health Service.[63]  Improving the standard of houses would be good for our communities and create work.  The Energy Company Obligation plan should be continued to improve the energy conservation performance of houses.[64]

  • Ownership and use of houses

Owner occupiers own  65.4% of houses in Gwynedd and 15.4% of them are rented.  The councils have detailed statistics.[65]  A high proportion of houses that come on the market are sold to be second homes or houses to be let for holidays.   In 2017 27% of the houses on sale in Gwynedd were bought as second homes, and their average price was  £289,182; but the most recent figures for the county suggest that holiday homes are by now 39% of all the properties sold there in 2017-18. The only areas in Britain with higher percentages of second homes are Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster. The effect of this over a number of years is that many houses are empty  for most of the year.  Some villages are seen as ones that  turn into shadows of villages in the winter.  We can approve of measures taken by Gwynedd and Môn Councils to raise a tax on second homes– a measure which brings millions to the public coffers already.

It is evident that we must have a revolution in the way we look at houses and the ideal of owning houses.  It could be argued that the present system, while appearing to be a good thing for those who bought houses years ago or who inherited property – since it increases their wealth –  but it means that serious problems multiply for other people.  Basically, it is inequality in financial resources that lies at the root of the problem, and that coming from the economic defects of the United Kingdom, and the way resources amass in fewer and fewer hands.

Are there any easy answers?  No.  But we would like to offer some things to discuss.

While recognising that there is room for the tourist industry, we believe excessive tourism has created serious problems.  One of the main problems is that too many houses in many places are let out to visitors or are second homes. The fact that Airbnb has now evolved from being a way to let a spare room to being a way of justifying buying a house and letting it for holidays has added to the problem, since some buy houses for that purpose.

Consequently these houses are to all intents not then part of the housing stock for local people. This is disastrous for the communities.

We therefore propose that a maximum number of houses in a specific community can be summer homes or second homes let through Airbnb.  This should merit attention in every community, not only those considered as exclusively holiday villages.

The Gwynedd and Môn  Local Development Plan earmarks land for building thousands of houses. There was  strident opposition to this, because the plans were seen as unsuitable for areas where the Welsh language is strong, and also that the presumption of Wylfa B was behind the numbers.  We believe the numbers should be looked at again.  Alongside this it needs to be recognised that that there are so many empty houses that it can be argued that is the true housing problem – namely how to get them back to their proper place as houses for local people.

We suggest that that there is room to to try and create units of houses in towns and villages that have declined, as part of the effort to renew the high street.


We believe there is a special opportunity in the next years to be innovative and creative in devising how to move people and goods from one place to another.  It is no exaggeration to claim that we will be forced to change, and the change will be forced on us by the need to lower carbon emissions, and the need – not discussed so much – not to use as many natural resources which are getting scarcer/or creating pollution from building cars.

Electric and possibly hydrogen cars will replace carbon fuel, and Gwynedd Council must be praised for their electric cars which light the path.  We believe however that there is no purpose to just changing fuel – we should be reducing the number of cars on the road, and cutting down on the single journeys we make.  It is certain that we all find the car too handy to want to put it to one side more often than not.  But the truth here is that availability of cars for affordable prices for a large part of the population has led to many of the problems that we see, and that on top of the carbon problem.  Just one example is that travelling many miles to work is an acceptable thing, and indeed expected.  Therefore work was centralised, villages became places just to sleep in, most of the resources of villages and smaller towns were lost, and decline in health happened due to lack of physical exercise.

In addition to that, proliferation of cars has gone hand in hand with reducing public transport .  Is it too obvious to say that public transport must be restored to its rightful place?  Dependable, reasonably priced and timely transport.  This means buses and trains.  In the countryside, there is far greater dependence on cars, but many journeys could be shortened if there were convenient public transport in the nearest village or town.  And of course it could be argued that there is room for more taxis to trade if economic circumstances changed.

However, politicians and the industries that profit from the present system still insist that building more roads is the answer to the problems of transport – as discussed in the case of the third bridge over the Menai.

We emphasise again the importance of restoring public transport.

We recommend a special investment in the railway system.  It is shameful  that there is no railway along the West that connects us to the south, while the Westminster Government still insists on spending huge money – which was originally estimated as £34 billion but is by now £88 billion[66] –on the HS2 railway, which will reduce the journey to London by about half an hour!  And we are without any railway at all over extensive parts of our territory.  Our people will contribute towards the cost of HS2 without getting any benefit.  In vesting in our railways would of course give a boost to the economy by building, and using the railway would add to the value of the economy.

Producing and Conserving Energy

There has been plenty of discussion in this document and other places about huge and expensive plans to provide energy.  There has been little discussion, in comparison, anywhere about alternative ideas in the energy field, especially from a community perspective.  If any, the opposition to wind farms and pylons has had most attention.

Are there ways of promoting renewable energy that can answer the local need, keeping profit in the community, and overcoming opposition?  Are there ways to reduce the demand for energy?

There are many examples in Gwynedd of successful community energy plans.  We know that it is huge effort and determination that has enabled the success.  We would like to see more support for such enterprises, by facilitating a financial and legislative path.  People need to feel that they are not overcome by the complexity of the process and the long time it takes to realise the project.  When we consider how effective these plans have been despite the fact that they are comparatively small, we can predict transformation in communities if the model can be reproduced across our communities.

In this respect, local government has an important role and we would welcome establishing departments within our County Councils that concentrate on supporting community enterprises. Why not divert the extensive resources given towards facilitating Wylfa for facilitating community renewable energy? In  addition the departments should do the important work of researching in to fields like using buildings and public property for producing electricity.  There are several examples of this in Britain – but not in Gwynedd and Môn – despite the boasting about ‘Energy Island’.  In addition to that, the idea of a ‘local grid’ is gaining credibility – we see that local government has an important role to promote this.

 Great work needs to be done on energy conservation – this is the quickest and most cost effective way of reducing carbon emissions.  We note that research shows that saving energy efficiently in the United Kingdom could be as much as the electricity produced by 6  nuclear power stations like Hinkley C  would produce!  But very little is heard about this – the truth is that the capitalist market wants us all to buy more energy rather than saving it.  Profit today, our children paying the price.

We could go as far as suggesting a county council, or an arms length body, could be energy providers themselves – and by so doing contributing towards the effort to fight fuel poverty.  This would be integrated with present working plans to improve the energy performance of the housing stock. We believe that ideas being piloted in Dyffryn Ogwen (e.g. Providing cheaper electricity) offers a way ahead for other communities.

Technology enables a change in the system of depending entirely on the ‘big 6’ for energy.  Electricity can be produced in several renewable ways, stored until needed, and to sell and distribute it locally.  The task for our communities is taking advantage of this possibility.  The county council is the obvious body to facilitate that, in co-operation with communities and the network of bodies and excellent specialists available in Gwynedd and Môn, such as Ynni Teg, Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig and Open Energy Monitor.[67] [68] [69]  We can study what is happening in the Orkney Islands in this respect.[70]

The silver thread is the need for people to feel that they own the energy developments, and that they are working for their benefit.  We wonder whether large renewable plans not doing this is partly responsible for opposition?  Far greater effort is needed to come to an arrangement that gives more control of the resource used (wind, sun, water) to our communities.  And to ensure developments of proportionate size to the landscape.  The starting point of any discussion between developers and local authorities should be – how can partnerships be created that are likely to give the best possible benefit to our people?  We know that is the objective of the Morlais plan.  It is another matter who controls the money received, and how it will be used.

In two counties which are rich in renewable energy sources, there is no excuse for fuel poverty in the future.  But this is totally dependent on who controls and owns the natural resources.

Agriculture and Food

It is a cliche to say that the family farm is the backbone of the rural society, and has been for centuries.  It maintains the culture and language as well as producing food and looking after the landscape.  But it is an industry facing all kinds of problems.  Uncertainty after Brexit,  an ageing workforce, the succession problem in the business, a squeeze on prices by supermarkets, over-dependence on the meat and dairy sectors, TB and the human and financial cost linked to the disease, the pressure to intensify farming in spite of all the evidence that it cannot be sustained.  In addition to that loneliness and mental problems are increasing.

A calling where people worked side by side turned to individuals battling to survive under increasing pressure.

The sense of feeling under siege shows itself in many ways – e.g. the feeling that people don’t understand farming nor appreciate its contribution; the reaction to vegetarians and vegans; the complaining about the burden of paper work from Government and other bodies; the pressure from supporters of re-wilding.  A confident industry would face these challenges positively.

Therefore there is a fundamental question – how is it possible to keep family farms viable?

We see that a discussion is starting within the industry about how to face the challenges and changes of the future.  We believe that there is a place for communities and broader society in the discussion, and to discuss from the perspective of knowledge on both sides rather than prejudices.

How can we use land for several outcomes?  How is it possible to get better understanding between farmers and the public?   How is it possible to secure a reasonable living for farmers?   How is it possible to resist intensive farming?  How to offer a way into the industry for young people – especially if they don’t have land in the family.

And from the perspective of our communities, how to stop agri-business from sinking its destructive capitalist claws deeper into the industry?  The end of that is to delete the family farm, environmental pollution, excessive use of artificial fertilser and pesticides, reducing biodiversity.  There is a detailed analysis in the book ‘Farmageddon: the true cost of cheap meat’.[71]  What is striking is that it is possible to argue that many farmers in Wales would accept a similar analysis, but without knowing how to stop the agri-business machine.  In fact governments have co-operate on a scale never seen before – the efforts of farmers by themselves will not turn the tide back.  One of the truths about farming in Wales, especially in the uplands, is that it is more or less sustainable in its present form regarding keeping animals, and the problem is the prices of the market which forces combining farms into one business, and which therefore over time loses families from the areas.

Farming methods that are economically and environmentally sustainable should be looked at.  Under the system as it is, it is difficult to sustain a farm economically without having to sacrifice a proportion or all the other interests.

What possible ideas could be for farmers and their local communities?

We can propose the types of co-operative and community enterprises on the pattern of Tyddyn Teg, Bethel, Gwynedd[72] and Cae Rhys, St. Davids, Pembrokeshire.[73]  It is significant to note that it is a comparatively small share of the land available that is used by these, therefore the model offers far greater potential.  More such enterprises would reconnect people with their food, create a community around the activity on the farm and strengthen the relationship with the local area, sustainably, and of course keeping profit within the community.

We know that infrastructure is needed to be able to process and distribute produce, vegetables and meat.  We believe that there is room to build substantially on the good work that has been done by some local businesses with the assistance of agencies and government to “add value” to their produce.  And we see that there are problems that create costly disadvantages because local resources like slaughter houses have closed.

We would suggest there needs to be consideration of what would be possible to do beyond creating “additional value” to farm produce, as desirable as that is.  Isn’t there room to look genuinely at how to provide local food for a reasonable price for everybody within a community?  Is it sensible that our farmers, in response to poor prices at home, have to worry about markets to export to them when their produce is needed here?  Let us remember that it is 60% of the food needed that is grown here, and the percentage has fallen consistently over the recent decades.  And yet 86% wish to buy local food![74]

Tourism and Leisure

Reference has already been made to some of the problems that come following excessive tourism.  But of course tourism offers a living at a time when employment in the traditional industries has gone.  It can offer additional income to businesses by using buildings which would otherwise be redundant – as many farm businesses know.  It can offer work where there isn’t much else available.  It can offer a successful career path.

There is another side to the coin.  Seasonal, uncertain work, with zero hours work contracts.  Villages turning to be shadow communities.  The pressure of too many people can cause erosion problems on paths.  Visitors staying in static caravans and bringing their food with them, and only spending a little locally.

Tourism is important.  Isn’t it reasonable to control it rather than it being a monster that drives changes which harm our communities?  Some ideas were referred to in the ‘Houses and Homes’ section.  To summarise, recognising that tourism is a resource to be carefully controlled – especially where the greatest pressure is.  And to realise that some things cannot be undone – e.g. huge sites full of static caravans.

We know that much work has been done to promote visits by people throughout the year, to promote specific themes (e.g. nature, geology, walking, arts,history, heritage) which will attempt to attract visitors who respect what we have. That is a good thing.

We believe that there is room for community enterprises to take advantage – the seeds of this have already been sown at Llety Arall, Caernarfon;[75] and Siop Griffiths, Penygroes.[76]  Co-operation between the enterprises will empower them so that they can develop further and ultimately establish a network.

Education and Training

We believe that relevant education is central to a child’s understanding of the background of his/her community, to understand what a community is, and to learn skills that will ultimately give a good chance of finding work.  There should be genuine choice for the young adult at the end of the process to get work locally, if that is the individual’s wish.

The emphasis put on sciences is to be praised, but that doesn’t justify giving a secondary place to the arts.  The purpose of education is to create good citizens and complete characters – a task  depending on schools and homes.  Over-emphasis on examinations and putting heavy pressure on teachers for results is not sustainable.  We know that it leads to physical and mental illness too often, for pupils and teachers.  The inability of the profession to keep teachers is sufficient evidence.[77]

Education should be considered within the context of the local community and broadening the horizons of the pupil gradually so that he or she perceives how to be an individual as part of the family of humanity all over the world.  Therefore a basis of primary education strongly within the community is needed – closing successful rural schools contradicts this ideology.

We are concerned that the new national curriculum will enable, possibly, a great variety within a county of what will be taught or not.  Therefore one school can teach a lot about local history while a nearby school teaches next to nothing about it.  One school can specialise in sciences, for example, and create problems and confusion for parents as they try and do their best for their children, and competition between schools.

Huge growth has been seen on the Llangefni campus of Coleg Llandrillo-Menai, mainly because of their expectation that Wylfa was coming.  There must now be consideration of how to use these facilities and the skills learnt there for other fields.  But a pretty fundamental question must be asked – do colleges like this expand because there is genuine need, or is there a danger for them to be created as bureaucratic empires?

At times, it is difficult to see the connection between Bangor University and the areas that brought it into being. A perfect example was the decision to close the department going out to the community to hold classes.  The University’s obsession with the nuclear industry and the way that industry’s claws have spread through the world of education (from primary upwards) is something to be deplored.  Why can’t the University concentrate on serving its area rather than boasting about its connections to the Northern Powerhouse?  In addition to that, the way the University grew has turned extensive parts of Bangor into student dwellings – the native population has had to move out of areas like Hirael.  Therefore the University has been a means of destroying a community, rather than sustaining it.

We believe that the role of the whole education world is to support communities first, and through a constructive and inclusive process to foster academic and human links with the rest of the world.  ‘Start by your feet’  before raising your sights to the horizon.

Information Technology

Decades have passed since the computer revolution transformed our world.  ‘I t doesn’t look like the change is slowing at all!

There are choices in the way we respond regarding policies.  Are we promoting code writing and software development skills?  Or is it better to concentrate on how to use software creatively? A bit of both, with more emphasis on the second perhaps.

New industries were created by the new technology, and others were damaged.  It allowed tasks to be done quicker, but work load hasn’t  been lightened however.  We believe that the task is to learn how to use technology for our benefit, rather than allowing the use of technology to oppress us.

The failure to understand the implications of the ability of technology to measure so many things, recording them easily, and remembering them, has allowed oppressive control systems to thrive in businesses and organisations.  That is, the misuse of data, but in a different way to the usual idea of misuse dealing with privacy.  Workers’ feelings that they are being watched constantly is one of the factors that can have a detrimental effect on health.  Procedures should be formed that free workers to achieve rather than decline.

These are not specific remarks for Gwynedd and Môn , of course, but we believe that the way of thinking we recommend is consistent with the ideology in this document.


Arts belong to everybody.  A valuable resource needed to sweeten our lives, not something seen as a cost that can be saved when cuts to finance are needed.

We believe there is room to extend the use of art and public arts further, which is already being appreciated and promoted in our areas.  Everything from live performances, plays, music, sculptures in public places, murals and so on.  It can make a valuable contribution to renewing and re-devising the high street.

Festivals create a platform for artists, entertaining local people and visitors, adding to the local economy, and bringing communities together.  They may vary from events like Gŵyl Arall in Caernarfon, to a village Eisteddfod and street carnival.  There is something for everybody!

One of the contributions not easily measurable – and because of that it is easy to justify cuts to the arts from the public purse – is that art offers an interpretation to the community of its place in the world.  In an uncertain period, it feels better and more confident because of it.  Therefore for several reasons, we respect artists of all kinds and we shouldn’t look at their contribution as a marginal one that could easily be done without.


We believe laudable and heroic work has been done, but now the way of thinking about promoting the Welsh language  needs to be changed.  Our schools were transformed from being enemies to the Welsh language as they were a long time ago.  By now there is no reason why anyone who went through the schools in the two counties cannot speak Welsh.  However many choose not to speak Welsh.

While recognising that Môn and Gwynedd Councils support the language in several practical ways, we are worried that cuts to finance have led to searching for savings in fields that sustain the Welsh language.  Examples are the arguing about Immersion Centres for newcomers, and the continuous battles to keep rural schools open – schools which often exist in communities still naturally Welsh speaking.

The Welsh language is under greater siege than ever in Gwynedd and Môn, as there are a number of factors taking effect at the same time, and on a wider scale than seen before.  There are undoubtedly other reasons, but we can note the heavy inward migration by non-Welsh speakers, the increasing failure of local people to get houses in their communities, outward migration by young people to city areas, and an evident trend by some who can speak the language not to use it if it isn’t necessary.

For several generations now,  a person can live entirely through the medium of English in Gwynedd and Môn.  He or she can ignore the fact that there is a native language here.  That is the choice of many.  This is the inevitable result of the disappearance of the monoglot Welsh speakers.  A Welsh speaking person cannot live life through the medium of Welsh – at least, not without a great effort of will and being in danger of being scorned.  It could be argued, until comparatively recently, that this was unfortunate, but as there are so many people speaking Welsh in Gwynedd and Môn that the fact could be ignored.  ‘There was no real threat to the Welsh language, which was the majority language for most people except for some areas.  That isn’t the case by now.

It is a comparatively small percentage of adults that are determined enough to learn the language fluently, and of course it has to be realised that a number learn to some point and are still supportive, and proud that their children are learning.  We should respect and recognise everybody who make an effort.

We have to be steadfast to resist the pressure by prospective employers to degrade the language and its importance – let us remember the Horizon company’s successful effort to change a clause in the original version of the Loocal Development Plan that said “to refuse proposals because of their size, scale or location that would cause significant harm to the character and language balance of the community”.

Integrated Development

The strategy based on building from the community upwards works. We believe it is high time for finance holders (private, commercial and public) to support the idea far more than done so far. It has been explained why several outcomes are possible.

One of the completely central things for the community strategy to succeed on a wide level is that there is understanding that we cannot isolate each activity and enterprise on its own.  One thing touches several others.  It needs to be recognised that success of a community enterprise creates profit for other businesses, improving people’s lives and therefore decreasing the the pressure on the Health Service, the social services, improving and protecting the landscape, improving the high street and so on.  Measures of success should be used which include  things beyond narrow economic effect – and by doing so fairly and correctly it is possible that there is, indeed, also economic improvement, but to see this the community’s economy as a whole has to be considered

To use contemporary terminology, we must stop thinking in terms of ‘silos’.

We believe there is important work to be done to analyse how community enterprses succeed – and if they don’t every time, to look for reasons.  Public support would faciltate such work.  And it must be accepted that not every enterprise will succeed – as in the usual economy – but that shouldn’t be a reason to dismiss the community way of thinking.

It is possible that starting on a small scale will be community co-operation in several areas and growing naurally and geadually.  By receiving support and getting committed people as part of the enterprises, then we can be confident about the future of our communities.

Resilience not dependence.

The loaf not the crumbs.

Hope not despair.

Community is the basis of all this.


Blaenau Ffestiniog was the second biggest town in north Wales in 1900 with a population of about 13,000  but with the decline of the slate industry the population more than halved by the year 2000. Today Bro Ffestiniog is one of the economically poorest areas in Britain. Although deindustrialised the industrial legacy survives to a great extent and is the precedent for the model of community development pioneered in the area today.

Apparently there are more social enterprises per head in the area than anywhere else in Wales. The various activities of theses enterprises include running hotels, shops, restaurants, a tourism centre, a leisure centre, an arts and crafts centre, mountain biking, retail, horticulture, providing plots, educational and cultural work, opera, environmental work, promoting energy conservation, reducing food waste, recycling, cleaning rivers, work with adults with additional needs, work with young people including about homelessness and learning environmental and medias skills.

15 of the social enterprises came together to form a network under the banner of Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog, which is a community company under warrant. It operates in the communities of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Trawsfynydd and Penrhyndeudraeth and the nearby villages which, between them have a population of about 8,000. The objectives of the Company is to promote co-operation between the enterprises, nurturenew social enterprises and also to work with small private businesses anchored in the community. All of this for the environmental, economic, social and cultural development of the area.

Between them the members of Cwmni Bro employ about 150 people. A recent analysis of the economic effects of the enterprises shows that a high percentage of their income comes from trading. Furthermore, the income was shown, to a great extent, to stay and circulate within the area. For every pound received as grants or loans 98 pence are spent locally, chiefly on wages. 53% of the 1.5 million pounds spent on wages is kept locally. Nearly half the expenditure is on goods and services locally and therefore recirculating the money in the area.

In August 2018 a new enterprise was started, BROcast Ffestiniog, a digital community broadcasting service, which promotes communication between that area’s community enterprises and the community and within the community. (See Soon, it is anticipated that other communities will copy this development and establish BROcast enterprises the length and breadth of Wales repeating, in a contemporary form, the spread of papurau bro (area newspapers) in an earlier period.

Increasingly Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog is networking with other communities and support was received from the Welsh Government, through the Foundational Economy Challenge Fund, to experiment on developing aspects of the foundational economy through co-operation with the communities of the Nantlle and Ogwen valleys.  Also, Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog is co-operating with Manchester University Business School, Aberystwyth University and Gwynedd Council on research work to the nature of the foundational economy in Bro Ffestiniog. This work will be the basis of a participatory process of forming a community development plan for the area. The fruit of the research will also be relevant more widely as a basis for developing the foundational economy across our communities.

In summary, it is believed that the integrated and holistic model of community development Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog is pionerring offers a pattern that can be duplicated and adapted by other communities. Furthermore, by linking the model to the principles and practice of the foundational economy, on the basis of research to the nature of the community, an integrated way for environmental, economic, social,and cultural development for communities across Wales and beyond is offered.


In the points below a model, manifesto and community movement for Wales are outlined.

  1. The Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog model of integrated community development offers a pattern that can be duplicated and adapted by other communities in Wales and beyond. Already this is starting to happen. For example, plans are afoot to network social enterprises on Ynys Môn, under the title Bro Môn.
  2. By adopting the community development model and linking the model to the principles and practice of the foundational economy it is believed that there is potential to transform the economy and communities of Wales. The foundational economy and foundational communities are the basis of our future. This SAIL document offers a strategy and the economic and community manifesto offers an alternative future for Gwynedd and Môn. The intention is to co-operate with other communities to expand on this manifesto for the whole of Wales. The manifesto will include different sections on the steps that could be taken by individuals, communities, community and county councils, development agencies and Welsh, United Kingdom and European Union Governments.
  3. The Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog model of integrated community development is based on co-operation principles rather than competition, on co-production, on creating profit and social value, on integrated development rather than silos the state is assisted, and facilitating rather than managing, on sustaining and developing community and culture, on freeing rather than ruling our people.
  4. A tradition of community enterprise runs through the history of Wales and there is an opportunity to build on this legacy. It is said that a higher percentage of people in Wales could read and write than any other country. This was achieved through the progressive community enterprise of circulatory schools. Places of worship were built all over the country, workers’ halls, building societies, agricutural co-operative enterprises, sports clubs, co-operatiive shops, credit unions, political movements and parties, trade unions, educational and cultural bodies, community health services and a host of environmental, social and cultural charity enterprises up to the present day. The challenge is to adapt the rich tradition of social enterprise to create our future.
  5. Our tradition and history of community entrepreneurism offers basic lessons for our politics today. For example, the vision of ‘The Miners Next Step’,published in 1912, is one of democratic ownership and control by workers and community of the coal industry. This was a kind of control by community rather than the bureaucratic nationalisation that came from the state. For the political left today the questions are about the nature of democracy, and the balance beween the role of the state and the role of the community is crucial.
  6. Our community tradition and history also offers basic lessons for education today. As the state increasingly serves the needs of capital, much of the workers education and community education vision and tradition has been lost. Today, we need education to understand and develop community based on a dialectic, integrated and holistic philosophy and vision. An ecosystems perspective is needed for community rather than the division that characterises education for capital. In the words of the poet Waldo Williams:

“Rhag y rhemp sydd i law’r dadelfennwr

A gyll, rhwng ei fysedd, fyd.”

  1. On the basis of our experience with BROcast Ffestiniog it is evident that there is potential and opportunity to develop digital community broadcasting all over Wales networking across Wales and internationally.
  2. In the face of the environmental, economic and social crisis of international capitalism, communities all over the world are empowering themselves and developing alternative answers to transform the system, from the bottom upwards. We share this vision with communities from California to Kurdistan.
  3. Already several communities acrosss Wales have started to network and co-operate and the Community Movement for Wales is starting to grow. The experience of communities in Sweden offers a pattern that can be duplicated and adapted for Wales. In Sweden communities all over the country have co-operated to create a community movement with a National Communities Senate that ensures a voice and strong community powerhouse.
  4. Alongside promoting a model, manifesto and community movement not only the objective but also the method of transforming the system needs to be considered. Across the world progressive movements have adopted the principle and method of non-violent action and this, as in the case of campaigning for the Welsh language, has proved to be very effective.

Although capitalism has huge forces we as communities have a stronger weapon than even the system’s Plutonium . We share love towards fellow man, fairness and equality and towards freedom and a vision of community transformed locally, nationally and internationally, as well as an alternative future for our planet.


We note some sources of progressive and relevant information and ideas below. There are further comments in Appendix A.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Act

The act deals with improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales.

Green New Deal

An ambitious plan to to transform the American economy to be a green economy.

Committee on Climate Change

A body offering advice to the UK Government on climate change.

Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies

An organisation that promotes sustainable society.

The Great Transition

This is the quote at the start of the report:  “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” –  Kenneth Boulding, economist.

Foundational Economy a Manifesto for the Foundational Economy

Prioritising individuals, families and communities rather than capitalism.  The work of Professor Karel Williams and his team from Manchester University who work with SAIL.

Transition Network

Networking within communities for the benefit of the community.

Wales and the Circular Economy

The idea of the Circular Economy is a response to the realisation  that the end of the processof using natural reources is upon us. 

Gwaith i Adfywio Iaith

A document by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) containing several suggestions on how to take action at community level.

Ymddiriedolaeth Adeiladu Cymunedau

The aim is to give people the opportunity to develop the strengths and the talents available in their community in order to make that community a better place to live.

Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog

A netwok of fourteen successful social enterprises who have come together to co-operate under the banner of one cwmni bro.

Mentrau Bro’r Eifl

“The book (“Cryfder ar y Cyd”) refers to the need for co-operation horizontally – something that is at the core of the `foundational economy`.  In our strategy, we need to co-operate `vertically` as well, with the public and private sectors – but with leadership within the community! “ – Dr Carl Clowes.

New Lucas Plan, Shadow Defence Diversification Agency, Arms to Renewables a Arms Industry in the Clyde and Renewable Energy Options

These are attempts to offer alternative work for workers in the arms industry. We can consider for our purposes that these ideas can be relevant to workers in the nuclear industry as well.

Re-energising Wales

A particularly relevant report about the communities of our areas by The Institute of Welsh Affairs.

Zero Carbon Britain

A substantial and thorough report by the Centre for Alternative Technology.


Green energy has had extensive support and investment for years in Germany, where the Green movement is strong.

Maniffesto Môn

An attempt to look outside the Wylfabox and to ensure alternative employment based on the native resources of the island.  Mainly Dr Carl Clowes’ work, published by PAWB.

Green Plan for the valleys

“This ‘green plan’ offers ideas about developing a plan that intends to bring the natural, human and community resources already available in each community across the valleys.”

“The Tragedy of Growth”

A report by Positive Money explaining why GDP growth has to be abandoned in order to improve wellbeing and to avoid an environmental tragedy.


We all have parts to play to develop some of the ideas discussed here – and to think about other ones.  We believe we can write the demands under the headings below following discussions with different people in the different categories, and naturally some people will belong to more than one of them.  Therefore this is an invitation for you to suggest what YOU can offer!

Demands on Individuals

Demands on Communities

Demands on Community Agencies

Demands on Community and Town Councils

Demands on County Councils

Demands on Welsh Government

Demands on the United Kingdom Government

Demands on Political Parties and Trade Unions


The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act  The Act deals with improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales. It will help public bodies listed in the Act to think about the long term, working better with people and communities with each other, trying to stop problems and following a consistent course of action. This will help us to create a Wales we all want to live in, now and in the future. In order to make sure we are all working towards the same vision, the Act notes seven wellbeing goals , namely:

Prosperous Wales An innovative, productive, low carbon society which recognises the limits on the environment world wide and which, consequqently, uses resources in an efficient and proportionateway (including taking action on climate change); and which develops a skilled and educated population and offering employment opportunities, permitting people to take advantage of the wealth produced by obtaining suitable work.

Resilient Wales  A nation that sustains and improves the natural biodiverse environment with healthy functional ecosystems that sustain social, economic and ecological resilience alongside the ability to adapt to change (for example change in the climate).

Healthier Wales  A society where peoples’ physical and mental wellbeing is as good as possible and where choices and behaviours beneficial for future health are understood.

A more equal Wales A society that enables people to fulfill their potential no matter what their background and circumstances are (including their socio-economic background and circumstances).

Wales of cohesive communities Attractive, viable and safe communities with good links.

Wales with a vibrant culture where the Welsh language thrives  A society that promotes and protects culture, heritage and the Welsh language and encourages people to participate in the arts, and sport and leisure activities.

A responcible Wales on a global level C nation, by doing anything to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales, considers whether doing so contributes positively towards global wellbeing.

“Green New Deal” in the  USA[78] [79] [80]supported by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.  An ambitious programme to to go for a zero carbon future while transforming the economy and offering greater fairness to  workers and the deprived.  It is especially relevant that an influential sector in the most capitalist country, under a President who ignores environmental problems, is pushing the green agenda.

“Committee on Climate Change [81]  A statutory body which offers advice to the UK Government on climate change. They have a number of relevant reports which can be beneficial in planning a resilient economy.

“Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies” [82] in Potsdam, Germany.  The purpose of the organisation is promoting a sustainable society.

The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) conducts research with the goal of identifying, advancing, and guiding transformation processes towards sustainable societies. Its research practice is transdisciplinary, transformative, and co-creative. The institute cooperates with partners in academia, political institutions, administrations, civil society, and the business community to understand sustainability challenges and generate potential solutions.

“The Great Transition by the  New Economics Foundation.[83]  This is the quotation at the beginning of the report:  “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” –  Kenneth Boulding, economist.

It is suggested that many of the ideas in the report relevant to us can be used here.  For example:  we argue for an expanded concept of ‘subsidiarity’ – the idea that decisions are best taken at as local a scale as possible.” (page 6).

“Foundational Economy[84] (including a link to a presentation to Welsh Government)a “Manifesto for the Foundational Economy[85]  The vision is summarised as follows:

  • The foundational economy is about collective consumption through networks and branches which are the infrastructure of civilised everyday life. The foundational includes the material infrastructure of pipes and cables which connect households plus providential services like health and care which citizens rely on; outside the foundational, there is a mundane overlooked economy of haircuts and takeaways.
  • The foundational economy is about universal basic services which are a citizen entitlement and it is therefore about politics as much as economics. From a foundational view point, the distinctive role of public policy is not to boost private consumption by delivering economic growth but to ensure the quantity and quality of foundational services.

Therefore it prioritises individuals, families and communities rather than capitalism.  Therefore getting the best out of what we have instead of cutting mercilessly.

Transition Network [86] Networking within communities for the benefit of the commumnity, learning from examples that have worked in other places.  It is a movement that has by now taken hold in over  50 countries.  There si alot of useful information on the website.

“Transition is a movement that has been growing since 2005.  It is about communities stepping up to address the big challenges they face by starting local.  By coming together, they are able to crowd-source solutions. They seek to nurture a caring culture, one focused on supporting each other, both as groups or as wider communities.

In practice, they are reclaiming the economysparking entrepreneurshipreimagining workreskilling themselves and weaving webs of connection and support.  It’s an approach that has spread now to over 50 countries, in thousands of groups: in towns, villages, cities, Universities, schools.” 

An example of one town taking such action is Totnes in Devon.[87]  We will discuss efforts in our areas in more detail again, like Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog and Antur Ogwen.

“Wales and the Circular Economy [88]  A paper by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and Welsh Government.  The idea of a Circular Economy is a response to the realisation that the end of the process of using natural resources is upon us.  Therefore not only is it possible to safeguard our resources by following the principles approved, but also it can revive the economy.

“A circular economy denotes an industrial economy that is restorative by design, and which mirrors nature in actively enhancing and optimizing the systems through which it operates. Capital assets (for example clean rivers or diverse ecosystems) are maintained and rebuilt, and the waste of one process is eliminated as it becomes the ‘food’ for another.”

“Gwaith i Adfywio Iaith” [89] by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society).  The following, among other things, are proposed: establishing local banks; giving more power to communities over economic development; decentralising hundreds of jobs out of Cardiff; establishing a National Energy Company. From the perspective of the continuation of the language, the document notes:

“If we look at Ynys Môn, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire over the past decade, 117,000 young people between 15 and 29 have left these areas, which corresponds to over 55% of all the outward migration for all ages.”

“Ymddiriedolaeth Adeiladu Cymunedau (Community Building Trust)” [90]  This is what the Trust wants to achieve;

“The aim of the Community Building Trust is to give people the chance to develop their strengths and talents available in their their community in order to amke that community a better place to live. The intention is to do so by offering money and support for communities, as well as opportunities to share from learning, and a chance to influence other bodies which make decisions that will effect communities.”

“Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog[91]  Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog is a completely grounbreaking dvelopment in Wales; namely a network of fourteen successful social enterprises that have come together to co-operate under the banner of one cwmni bro.

The Cwmni Bro works in the commnunities of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Trawsfynydd and Phenrhyndeudraeth and the nearby villages which, between them, have a population of about 8,000. Blaenau Ffestiniog was the seconf biggest town in north Wales in 1900 with a population of about 13,000 but as the slate industry declined the popualtion more than halved by the year 2000. By today Bro Ffestiniog is one of the poorest areas economically in Britain. Despite the de-industrialisation, the industrial legacy survives to a great extent and is a precedent for the holistic and integrated model of community development pioneered in the area today.

The Cwmni’s objectives are to promote co-operation between the enterprises, foster new social enterprises and also to work with small private businesses anchored in the community. All of this for the environmental, economic, social and cultural development of the area.

“Mentrau Bro`r Eifl”, where Antur Aelhaearn (45 years old this year)[92]  was set up as the first Community Co-operative in the UK is also significant because several other enterprises were established following it. The book `Cryfder ar y Cyd`[93] published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch in 2012 records the history of five enterprises in the area – Antur Aelhaearn as well as Tafarn y Fic, Siop Pen-y-Groes, Llithfaen, Garej Clynnog and Nant Gwrtheyrn.

This is what Dr Carl Clowes, who pioneered and spurred Mentrau Bro’r Eifl onwards says about that time and what is needed now:

“The book (“Cryfder ar y Cyd”) refers to the need for horizontal co-ooperation – something at the core of the `foundational economy`.  In  our strategy, we need to co-operate `vertically` as well, with the public and private sectors – but with leadership within the community!  There is general reluctance to co-operate at this level but, but by keeping control locally, it can be advantageous with the resources and experience that come in its wake.

“The need for an `Action Programme`, say 5-10 years, is vital showing who should be leading on the different elements; linked to that, it would add to the credibility of the document if it were possible to include ‘indictaive costs’ for these elements.  Strategaeth Llŷn[94] offers important leadership on this.

“The work of W.F. Mackey[95] [96]fr f from Canada is relevant; he is a language specialist, and in his words:  ‘A langauge flourishes in a sacial system, it could be called an eco-system, where all the elements, home, work, school and commumnity interwork; any language policy not taking theses factors into consideration is doomed to failure’.

“I would like to see the area’s assets – human reources, physical, cultural and financial training – having prominent attention. By selling the`cause to the world`, it raises the confidence of the community to see so much that they have to offer – (asset-based approach) – i.e. The pot is half full!

“Presenting Schumacher’s ‘ intermediate technology’[97] as a basis for many possible developments in the north west – is so much more sustainable than the crazy plans which have misled us over the past decades”.

“New Lucas Plan” [98], “Shadow Defence Diversification Agency” [99], “Arms to Renewables” [100] and “Arms Industry in the Clyde and Renewable Energy Options” [101]  These are attempts to offer alternative work to workers in the arms industry.  We can consider for our purposes that thses ideas can be relevant to nuclear industry workers as well.

“Arms industry personnel are highly skilled science, engineering and technology workers. If the UK government transferred support from military industry to socially-useful enterprises, such as renewables, there could be good sustainable jobs and a more peaceful world.”

“Re-energising Wales [102] by the Instsitute of Welsh Affairs.  A particularly relevant document to the communities of our areas.

“Wales has set ambitious targets for renewable electricity generation, community and local ownership. The Welsh Government has shown political will and put these targets and policies in place because they recognise the value a thriving renewables sector can bring to communities, businesses and the public sector in Wales.”

“Zero Carbon Britain” [103] by the Centre for Alternative Technology.  These are substantial and thorough reports by those who have been innovating for years. We can learn a lot about technology that is relevant to our communities.

“Our integrated approach explores all aspects of climate solutions, from renewable energy and energy efficiency to diets and land-use, looking at how these can work together to help us build a zero carbon world.”

“Energiewende [104]  Green energy has received extensive support and investment for years in Germany, where the Green movement is strong.

“Germany has decided to switch its entire energy supply to renewables and to become increasingly energy efficient. In this way, Germany is playing a major role in climate protection. The Energiewende is our answer to the question of how we can make the energy supply secure, affordable and sustainable. This unique opportunity for Germany as a location for business and investment will open up new business opportunities, foster innovation, create jobs, boost growth and make us less dependent on oil and gas imports.”

“Maniffesto Mon”[105] mainly the work of Dr Carl Clowes, published by PAWB (Pobl Atal Wylfa B) in 2012.  It is an attempt to look outside of the Wylfa box and to ensure alternative employment based on the native resources of the island.  The document warned that the economic case for nuclear was fragile – and that years ago by now.  Although the document was sent to Members of Parliament, Assembly members and County Coiuncillors they decided mostly to ignore it.

“The climate for investing in the nuclear industry has changed and, in particular, since the disaster in Fukushima, as a result, thr likelihood of another investment in a new station at Wylfa is very small.There will be campaigning but the hopes are very slim and other possibilities have to be considered.”

“In the only survey carried out on the subject and that before the Fukushima disaster, researchers from the Social Sciences Department, Bangor University discovered that Renewable Energy got the support  of 74% of the island’s  and part of the mainland’s population comapred with  25% for nuclear power.”

“A Greenprint for the Valleys”[106] A consultative document by Leanne Wood from 2011, with an emphasis on community action and sustainability.  ‘It isn’t necessary to support one political party more than another to see that the ideology of this quote is one we can approve of in our areas:

“This ‘Greenprint’ suggests ideas for the development of a plan that aims to bring togethert the natural, human and communal resosurces that are readily available in every community throughout the valleys. By pooling our collective skills and resources, we have the potential to create job and training opportunities, better homes, more transport options, cheaper energy and food as well as stimulating the local economy and cutting our green-house gas emissions, thereby helping Wales’s contibutions to thr future wellbeing of the planrt.”

“The Tragedy of Growth”[107] A report by Positive Money that explains why we must give up on GDP growth in order to improve wellbeing and avoid an environmental disaster.  It explains that a lack of growth under the present system leads to unemployment and inequality.  Different waya are offered to discuss finance to counteract this.  A basic income for everybody and public banks are seen as important weapons to be used.  GDP should be abandoned and other measures used, such as the length of life, carbon emissions and education.  A basic change in policies will be needed to achieve this.




























































































[92] Antur Aelhaearn : Cyhoeddiadau Mei, 1982

[93] Cryfder ar y Cyd – Hanes Mentrau Cydweithredol yr Eifl :Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2012

[94] Strategaeth Llŷn : Antur Llŷn, 1990

[95] W.F. Mackey – Sefydliad Ieithyddiaeth Iwerddon, 1977

[96] Strategaeth Iaith 1991-2001 – Fforwm Iaith Genedlaethol, 1991

[97] “Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered” (cyhoeddwyd gyntaf 1973)