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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Drawing lessons

There is an interesting article in today's Western Mail, which is based on research carried out by Labour's Shadow Welsh Secretary, Owen Smith. 

Mr. Smith has discovered official figures that show that living standards in Wales have gone down further than in almost every country in Europe over the last two years.

He has revealed that a comparison of salaries against inflation across the EU between the third quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2012 has shown that real value of pay in the UK declined by 3.2%. Only three of the 27 member states – Greece, -10.3%: Cyprus, -4.6% and Netherlands, -3.8% – did worse.

He argues that the fact that wages in Wales were on average £32.10 per week lower in 2012 in real terms than in 2010, the equivalent of a £1,699 fall in yearly pay means that we are relatively worse off than the rest of the UK.

Mr. Smith naturally blames the UK Coalition Government for this but that does not follow at all. If Wales is doing comparatively worse than the rest of the UK, then surely the place to look for an explanation is in the differences between the two. Fourteen years of Labour Government, over a billion pounds of European money and different micro-economic policies appear to have served Wales very badly indeed.

Labour have been operating the economic levers in Wales and have let us down. Owen Smith should be asking Carwyn Jones to change course, not George Osborne.
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