Daily Post: Peter Hain - saviour of North Wales
Another flurry of activity by Peter Hain is dutifully reported in the Daily Post today. This time he has apparently "unveiled" 240 jobs in Anglesey and Gwynedd. "Unveiled" is a rather strange word to use thought the Druid, generally jobs are said to be "made" or "created" - so what's going on here? Well it turns out that they are being "unveiled" rather than "created" because they are not actual "jobs" - they are better described as "work opportunities" for 18-24 year olds who have been out of work for nearly a year and are funded by the government's Future Jobs Fund. And they are not with an "actual" company - i.e. one which meets customer's needs and makes a profit - but with a charity based in Wrexham called Groundworks which "supports communities in need, working with partners to help improve the quality of people's lives, their prospects and potential and the places where they live, work and play". Despite these vague aims I'm sure Groundworks does sterling work, but I think its fair to conclude that Peter Hain's 240 "jobs" are not going to be the long terms solutions we need to replace the thousands of "real" jobs which have been lost in Anglesey and North Wales.
What is interesting though is the timing for all this sudden activity from Peter Hain; yesterday Hain trumpeted that an unnamed company was interested in creating hundreds of jobs in the old Anglesey Aluminium plant and today Hain waves his magic wand and "unveils" a further 240 jobs in North Wales. We haven't seen so much of Hain in a long time - a cynic might almost think he was trying to distract us from something...
Oh, guess what - the latest unemployment figures were released yesterday…
Here's how the press have reported the unemployment figures:
Daily Telegraph: Long-term unemployment highest since 1997
The Times: Number of people on the dole hits 13-year high
Guardian: Unemployment claimant count rises again
Daily Post (not online): Jobless total falls by 2,000
The Daily Post really isn't doing its readership any favours by so cravenly following Peter Hain and the Welsh Office's official line. So for the benefit of Daily Post readers everywhere here are the actual figures for Wales in comparison with the rest of the country:
Click to enlarge
- Economically Active: Wales: 75.7% - the lowest figure in the UK apart from Northern Ireland
- Employment: Wales: 68.9% - the third lowest figure in the UK after Northern Ireland and London
- Unemployment: Wales 8.6% - almost a whole percentage point higher than England as a whole
- Economically inactive: Wales 24.3% - the highest rate in the UK apart from Northern Ireland
And overall the number of people claiming benefit is at an all time high, the number of economically inactive people is also at an all time high and unemployment is higher than when Labour came to power in 1997.
So now the real reason for Peter Hain's sudden news blitzkrieg is apparent. And its also worth noting that the Cabinet are meeting in North East of England today - coincidentally the only place with higher unemployment than Wales. Strange that.