Thursday, 18 February 2010

The real reason for Peter Hain's visit to North Wales

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.


Anonymous said...

Nah not strange, connived I would say
Its almost like a Coffin Chaser syndrome
While I think we have a farce with what happens at the Welsh Office at the moment I am even more fearful of the outcome we will have if that very Tory lady Cheryl Gillian gets into post

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Mam, could it possibly be any worse...?

Anonymous said...

Labour cuts or Tory cuts they're all British cuts. Useful piece in the FT today on the UK as a failed state. "What, again!" I hear you say.