THE ‘super-prison’ in Wrexham will not deliver the expected jobs boost, according to an economic thinktank.
The Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA) has published an evidence review into the devolution of policing and justice to Wales.
Robert Jones of the Wales Governance Centre points to evidence that the prison will not deliver the 1,000 local jobs anticipated by the UK Government.
The selection of Wrexham as the site of Europe’s second largest prison was hailed by UK Justice Secretary Chris Grayling “as a massive boost to the Welsh economy” in June.
But research for the IWA by criminal justice researcher Mr Jones casts doubt on the claims.
Mr Jones said: “Evidence unearthed for the project suggests there will be fierce competition for prison jobs between locals and those from a much wider area. It will be a particular problem in Wrexham given the site’s proximity to the motorway network.
“Newly-created roles could be filled by staff who currently work in prisons across the North West of England, as well as former prison staff once employed at the now-closed HMP Shrewsbury.”
Mr Jones took evidence from a similar situation at Malone in New York State, where a prison was opened in 1999.
In spite of residents being promised 750 jobs as a result, most of the jobs created by the prison went to people from outside the area, with locals not even getting 100 jobs because of its travel connections.
The MoJ says the jail on the old Firestone site at Pentre Maelor will generate about 1,000 jobs.
Wrexham was the preferred site for the £250m prison, potentially housing more than 2,000 inmates.
In September Mark Read, director of estates for the Ministry of Justice, told the Leader he anticipated a “significant proportion” of the new jobs at the prison would be go to people from Wrexham and the surrounding area.
He said: “We’d expect this type of development to give significant economic growth in the area.
“Our analysis shows around 1,000 permanent jobs at the end of this process.”
The prison is currently going through a planning process although no date has yet been set for it to go before Wrexham Council’s planning committee.