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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Missed promises

As the current Assembly term passes the halfway mark and we start to move towards the next elections the chickens are coming home to roost on the many ambitious targets and aspirations in the One Wales coalition document.

Already we have seen that the pledge to build a net 6,500 new affordable homes is off target, being 1,100 short at the halfway point, but also some of the other pledges such as free laptops have not yet got off the ground, whilst the first time homebuyer's grant has mutated into something else altogether.

Something that deserves much greater scrutiny as we approach the elections is the myth that is being spun by Plaid Cymru and one or two media commentators of the Deputy First Minister as some sort of economic guru, helping Wales to buck the trends and pulling us out of recession.

I have already looked at this on Freedom Central where I pointed out that the figures that show that there was a quarterly fall in the number of people out of work in the three months to June do not add up. That is because the actual number of people in real jobs as opposed to those registered as officially unemployed, fell by nearly a whole percentage point in the same quarter, whilst those who are economically active (meaning they are over sixteen and contributing to GDP) also fell, by 0.8% leaving Wales the third worst place in the UK.

It is a point taken up by Dylan Jones Evans on his blog two weeks later. He points out that the statistics being relied on by Ieuan Wyn Jones' supporters do not measure the actual level of employment or unemployment and are merely extrapolations from a sample of respondents to the Labour Force Survey. He says that in contrast to Labour Force Survey unemployment, the number of those registering for Jobseekers Allowance in Wales continues to rise and is 35% higher than a year ago.

Now the BBC report that a One Wales pledge to get 80% of adults of working age in Wales into employment is unlikely to be met. A cabinet report identifies that schemes to put more people in work will meet only half the shortfall as the employment rate stands at 69.7%. Only now is the government considering the need for a strategy with the Department of Work and Pensions.

The Welsh Government has been rightly praised by many people for its ProAct training scheme for companies in danger of making redundancies. At times it has seemed as if this is the only policy that they have to combat the recession. The BBC however points to an independent report commissioned by the Wales Employment and Skills Board, which advises the Welsh government, and which concluded that many employers in Wales were confused about the various schemes to put unemployed people back in work.

Once more the One Wales Government have been caught out working to random targets without any clear action plan as to how they are going to achieve them. If there is an economic guru there then maybe it is time he or she made themselves known.
What is it with you and Vaughan Roderick. You have been at each others throats recently. Lembit, Welsh language, the economy. He keeps calling you out and you keep biting back.
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