New building projects in Blaenau Gwent could prompt reverse in county’s declining population

A COUNCILLOR expects to see a reverse in Blaenau Gwent’s declining population due to the number of building projects going on in the county borough.

At a meeting if Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Corporate Overview and Performance scrutiny committee on Thursday, April 27 councillors were having a first look at the council’s Finance and Performance report for 2022/2023.

Performance and democratic service manager, Gemma Wasley said: “It’s a key improvement tool for the council and provides us a reporting framework against our performance.”

Census figures contained in the report show that the Blaenau Gwent population has fallen by 4.2 per cent from 2011 to 2021, this is a drop from 69,800 to 66,900.

Overall, Wales saw a 1.4 per cent increase in the population from 3,063,000 to 3,107,000.

Cllr Tommy Smith said: “I can see the information has come from the census; the population has reduced by 4.2 per cent is that figure reflective across similar areas in Wales?

Commercial and customer chief officer Bernadette Elias believed that the declining population trend isn’t seen in other Welsh local authorities.

Ms Wasley said: “The decrease is something we have discussed with the (ONS) census people.

“We do have a breakdown of the age bands across our authority it might be helpful if I provided some of that detail to the committee.”

She added that this would show the situation as it stood in 2021 and compare it to 2011.

Ms Wasley said: “The census is every 10 years; it is a key piece of data that’s utilised across all local authorities as it gives a breakdown of the whole of our population.”

Committee chairwoman Cllr Joanna Wilkins: “Thank you that would be helpful.”

Cllr Tommy Smith: “We note the slight decline but just bear in mind the data is slightly out of date, with a lot of building going on I would have thought there would have been an increase in the population.

“I look forward to the next lot of information or census.”

The data on Blaenau Gwent from the census shows that the residents of the county borough are getting older, with the average age of a resident rising from 41 years old in 2011 to 43 years old in 2021.

This is higher than the average for Wales which is 42 years old.

The number of residents over 50 years old has also risen from 37 per cent in 2011 to 41.9 per cent in 2021.

The ONS data also shows that Blaenau Gwent is not alone in seeing a declining population with six other council’s seeing a decrease in 2021 from 2011, these are: Caerphilly, Ceredigion, Conwy, Gwynedd, Swansea, and Ynys Môn.

Blaenau Gwent suffered the second highest population decrease behind Ceredigion who lost 5.9 per cent between 2011 and 2021.

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