Friday 26 January 2007

The Cost of Dependence - by Ted Jones

Another good post for you, this time by Ted Jones a political boffin and keen fisherman who is looking forward to his retirement. :-)

The Cost of Dependence

Unionist politicians always try and talk down Wales with their scaremongering about our dependence upon subsidy from Westminster. Peter Hain comes up with a rounded figure of £1000per head, conveniently neglecting the fact that if Wales had grown at the modest rate of UK growth over the last generation, then each person would be £1000 richer in terms of GVA. If we had matched EU growth, then each person in Wales would be £4000 richer. And if Wales had matched the Republic of Ireland each person would be an astonishingly £19,000 richer.

The reality of the situation is somewhat different of course. In real terms wealth levels in Wales is in free fall. GVA in the European Objective 1/Convergance Funding areas is only 65% of the UK average. In hard figures this means that in most of Wales GVA per head is £11,126 whilst the UK average £17,677. Most worryingly, the trend is downward.To put things in context two hours down the road in London GVA is at 140% compared to the UK average – clearly portraying the wealth inequities caused by the prioritisation of the service sector of the South East of England by the London parties, and their clear failure to compose let alone implement a genuine regional economic policy.

Labour despite a decade in power, far from addressing the infamous north-south divide has exacerbated the divergence. So when the London parties harp on next about how Wales is to poor and weak to achieve its potential – ask them exactly what are the economic benefits for the people of Wales in being ruled by a fiscal and economic strategy that works against the key components of our economic make up. Ask them how after ten years most of Wales continues to be amongst the poorest regions of the whole of the EU – despite the inclusion of 10 new member state, most of which had to endure half a century of Soviet totalitarianism.

1 comment:

David Thomas said...

While it is true that the St Athan development is only happening because Wales is part of the UK it is incorrect to keep looking at it as some gift by a kind benefactor. This is not private enterprise but simply public money i.e. our own taxes that we are "having back".

Wales contributes about £1.6bn a year to the UK Defence budget of £32bn but gets nothing like that amount back in terms of wages or procurement. In fact the £58m a year to be spent in St Athan constitutes only 3% of what should be spent by the MoD each year in Wales.

It may seem that some feast has been spread out before us but only because we've been living on scraps for so long.