A RADIO programme which tried to understand rural de-population has sounded alarm bells with Powys councillors.

It was discussed by the Audit Committee, when members believed it was a risk to the county’s reputation

Radio 4 programme, “No County for Young People”  which aired on Sunday, February 10, was narrated by comedian Sarah Breese – who grew up in Powys.

In the programme sixth formers from Llanidloes spoke about why they were looking forward to leaving the area.

And why mostly, they would not return to Powys later in life.

Experts explained that this was one of the issues with rural areas – traditionally, people returned to where they grew up to raise their own children.

But with couples waiting longer to start families and with a lack of “higher paid” jobs in Powys, there is little to bring people back to the rural idyll.

Cllr William Powell (Liberal Democrats – Talgarth), said “I wanted to flag up a reputational risk to the county that was in the form of a very high profile radio broadcast I heard.

“No County for Young People was a well crafted programme discussing the challenges, and the county was Powys.

“There was rather serious wild allegations within it, that it can take  that you can’t see doctors for two or three months, that went unchallenged.

“It’s a catastrophic risk, our reputation is in danger because of pressure on culture and the range of jobs and career promotion.”

Cllr Michael Williams (Independent – Machynlleth) added: “Clearly if we are going to have problems recruiting doctors and nurses to work in GP surgeries, this will have an impact on our social services  and increasing risk.

“We do need to have discussions with other bodies to see if we can have joined up thinking  approach.”

Cllr Tim Van-Rees (Independent-Llanwrtyd Wells) said: “My feeling is that members of the Welsh Government, Assembly Members should be compelled to listen to this every hour on the hour!

“The fundamental problem is we have received an appalling settlement from the Welsh Government. We are at the bottom of the heap again.

“Until things improve financially we are going to be in difficulties.

“This was an objective report after listening to that, any young person seeking employment in Powys will say blow it, the scenery is attractive – but I  would  do better in Wolverhampton and go there!”

Cllr Roger Williams (Liberal Democrat – Felinfach) said: “I thought some of the research was poor, it did paint a depressing picture of Powys.

“This is a comms issue as much as anything to paint a brighter picture or it will get more and more difficult.”

Cllr Williams added that there was a need to look at the factors that mean PCC receives a poor financial settlement.

“We have 200 people less living in Powys. We have less children going into our schools, that’s why the settlement is primarily moving down.

“We need to find ways of dealing with this.”

Committee chairman, John Morris, said that they needed to find out more on how the Mid-Wales Growth Deal was progressing as it could help change the situation.

Anti-Poverty campaigner Cllr Joy Jones (Non-Aligned – Newtown East) took part in the programme highlighting the issues due to a lack of doctors in the county.

Cllr Jones, said: “It was really interesting what the young people had to say why Powys isn’t the place they see themselves staying.

 “It’s a shame , we will end up with a large elderly population but no doctors to care for them.”