Concern grows over impact of UK cuts on Welsh economy and jobs

By staff writers
October 14, 2010

A new report from PriceWaterhouse Cooper has highlighted the scale of challenge presented to Wales' economy and Welsh workers by UK government cuts.

A detailed study published by the major accountancy and auditing firm show that cuts due to be imposed by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition could lead to an estimated 52,000 public and private sector jobs being lost in Wales.

The report's headline figure equates to 4.3 per cent of all jobs in the country being slashed.

In recent months, Wales has been experiencing a small but significant economic recovery from recessionary conditions.

The number of jobless people in Wales has dropped to its lowest level in over a year, according to the latest Labour Market figures.

These show unemployment as currently running at 118,000. However, the unemployment rate in Wales now stands at 8.2 per cent, compared with a UK average of 7.7 per cent.

In the light of the PriceWaterhouse Cooper analysis, trades unions, community groups and opposition political parties say they fear that the fragile improvement will be imperilled.

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards commented: “We have consistently argued that the speed and depth of these savage cuts are not only unnecessary but completely unacceptable."

He continued: "The scale of the retrenchment proposed by the Westminster government will disproportionately affect Wales. The fact that Conservative and Lib Dem MPs representing Welsh communities seem content to see 52,000 workers sent to the unemployment line is a disgrace."

"The figures estimated by PriceWaterhouse Cooper show clearly the impact of the slash and burn attitude of the Con-Dem government. It is evident that the Westminster government are far more interested in appeasing the city of London whilst real jobs in Wales are nothing more than an afterthought,” said Mr Edwards.

In relation to the latest figures, the Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones, declared: "Any increase in employment must be welcomed and these latest figures show the number of people in work in Wales has gone up by 12,000 over the previous quarter and 28,000 over the previous year."

"However, this is a fragile recovery and we must look at the long term," he added. "Only this week we have seen 300 jobs under threat at the Passport Office in Newport and 180 posts cut at Tata in Shotton."

Wyn Jones called on the UK government "to re-think their approach and not cut too deep and too soon and risk the slow progress we are making".

There is also concern about the impact of the UK-level cuts on Scotland.


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