Rhun ap Iorwerth’s column for the Holyhead and Anglesey Mail 07.12.16

So many people on Anglesey have been felt let down by NatWest’s announcement last week. Banks are being ripped out of our high streets at an alarming rate. It’s not just Anglesey, this is a UK-wide problem, but there’s no doubt that it’s rural services and services in small towns in places like Anglesey that are being hit hardest. Somehow we’ve got to shift the balance back in favour of customers. If that means government action in some way, then so be it.

We just have to develop a way of ensuring that banks remember who their customers are, that are helping them to make their profits. I’m meeting NatWest bosses this week and although the record of banks in overturning closure decisions isn’t great – let’s be honest about that – we’ve got to continue to make the case of protecting rural services.

Thanks to everybody who turned up at the public meeting opposing new pylons across the island in Llangefni last Friday. With the end of National Grid’s consultation on December 16th, it’s time people made their voices heard. Visit http://www.northwalesconnection.com/ to let Grid know why you’re opposing.

I met head of energy regulator Ofgem last week to argue the case for investment in alternatives to pylons, not least because of the impact on our visual environment and on our hugely important tourism industry.

This week, I’m meeting the Environment Secretary to discuss idea of an Anglesey Food Park. Fantastic investment has gone into initiatives like the Food Technology Centre at Coleg Menai in Llangefni. I believe we need to make further investment now in helping companies move to the next step – increasing production, increasing employment, and developing Anglesey’s food industry. Welsh Government has been positive in its response to the case I’ve made in the past. Let’s hope now that we can move closer to the point of making an investment.

Other Assembly business that has been keeping me busy have included a debate I jointly arranged on tackling obesity, quite timely with Christmas excesses almost upon us.

Let’s remember how important it is to look after those less fortunate than ourselves at this time of year. I had a warm welcome at Holyhead Tesco last week when I popped along to support their annual food bank collection. Let me also remind you about the reverse advent calendar collection – please bring your contributions to my office by December 20th if you would like to take part.