09/06/2013 The Wales Report


An examination of the hidden toll of under-employment in Wales and should there be a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union? Presented by Tim Rogers.

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Wales Report, the toll being taken on Welsh workers and why they find


it so hard to make ends meet. And calls to re-examine Britain's


relationship with Europe, but what would be the cost BT Wales? And what


can we do to raise literacy and numerous week standards in Welsh


schools? -- new .


Welcome to The Wales Report. You find as high above the Rhondda


Valley for the start of a series of programmes coming from different


locations across Wales. It is also the start of a special season on the


economy, called What Is Wales Worth? We will be looking at the


issues behind the statistics. In the valleys, once the cradle of


industry, we begin by talking about the world of work. A recent study


found that one in ten of us would like to and might need to work


longer hours but while there is a will there is often not the way. We


have been examining the whole issue more in work than there were a year


ago. The economy is growing. That is positive...


Politicians' voices have been reverberating around the South Wales


valleys for some time. A familiar tune. There is work for those that


want it badly enough. Unemployment figures are dropping, so they argue


that there is reason to be optimistic. But on the ground in


Merthyr Tydfil and in many other places across Wales, ask anyone if


you think those figures reflect the true picture, and nearly everyone


will tell you the same answer. A resounding no. This woman does not


want to be identified. She has a job in a call centre. As she puts it,


she has half the job. 24 hours a week, to be exact. She has asked for


more but she cannot get a longer contract or overtime. In an ideal


world I would be working full time hours. Over time has been stopped.


People want to do more hours. The wages do not correspond with what


you pay out, the mortgage and the rising cost of living. There may


well be jobs in Wales, but full-time work with wages that you can live


on, those sorts of jobs are harder to come by, it would seem. That is


backed up by this report, compiled by economists from Stirling


University. In it, they find that of all the UK regions, Wales now has


the largest net balance of desired longer hours. So more of us want and


need many more hours. In fact, one in ten of our workforce is


underemployed. And it is a growing problem, the report concludes. In


2008, 6.8% of the working age population was deemed to be


underemployed. In 2012, that figure rose to 11.3%. Of those workers,


young people have been particularly badly affected by underemployment.


David is 27 and he is one of them. He said his bar work in carefully is


so a regular he never knows what his weekly wage will be. It would be


nice to work a proper week, 30 hours, get a decent wage and afford


a flat. It is tough not knowing exactly how life will be week to


week. It would be nice to know that I am getting this number of hours,


equating to this amount of money, so I can afford this. It would appear


that job sharing, zero hours contracts, and diminishing shiftwork


are commonplace in labouring, cleaning, catering and many other


sectors. But employee representatives say that staffing


decisions are not easy in this current economic climate. I am sure


employers would like to give full-time jobs where that is


possible. The number of these contracts is very small in the


economy across the UK and in Wales. Ultimately it is better to be 50%


unemployed than 100% unemployed. -- 50% employed. We would like people


to be able to get meaningful jobs and contribute to the economy.


Analysts say that and implement can have a terrible effect on society. A


few hours and less take-home pay means that people will have to


borrow and get into debt, or just stop spending. Currently employers


are not offering people longer hours, so they are taking a cut in


living standards. Some individuals have taken up to a 10% cut in their


living standards, even though they are still in work, because prices


have increased at three or 5%, with wages increasing by 1% if they are


lucky, or not at all. Looking forward is rather grim for many


people. Nobody pretends there is a short-term easy solution to hand.


But most accept that the official figures mask the growing financial


struggle that many families currently face.


Well, we asked the Welsh Government minister charged with tackling


poverty to take part in this programme. He was not available.


Joining us now is Owen Smith, the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales,


and the Labour MP for Pontypridd. Thank you for joining us. Do you


recognise that image of Wales as being a low income, part-time


economy? Well, it is a reality that we have the lowest minimum wages in


Britain in Wales, and we know that we have significant underemployment


and part-time employment. There are perhaps 11% of people working in


Wales that are underemployed, not working as many hours as they could


do all would like to do. We have to recognise that reality. Who is


responsible? I think the broader economy and the history of Wales is


in part responsible? But who will do something about it? The Welsh


Government is trying to do something. Jobs toggle macro -- we


are doing something about getting more jobs but we clearly need to do


more. We know about our history and we lived with our history, but the


Labour Government has really not done as much as you claim it has


over the last decade or so. Many of the jobs that you referred to are in


fact, as we have shown, low-grade jobs. People working in call


centres, who are actually underemployed in many cases. I think


we need desperately to do more to recognise that we need more jobs and


better jobs and decent wages, which is why I am so pleased that the


Labour Party across Britain, led by Ed Miliband, is saying that work in


the living wage and decent quality jobs have to be at the heart of the


next Labour Government's efforts. And it will be the central plank of


the next Labour manifesto, if you like. The GDP in Wales is way behind


the rest of the UK, meaning it is largely dependent economy. There is


not enough energy and enterprise going on here and the Welsh


Government has not done enough over that period to generate that


enterprise, and to bring in real jobs. That is what people want.


do and they are right to want that. This is not a quick fix. We have a


100 year decline in the reason for the communities like the one we are


sitting in right now being here. These communities were here because


of coal. That is gone and our economy has changed there. We cannot


magic jobs out of nowhere. So we do not have the energy or enthusiasm or


drive? I did not say that. We need a Government that sets itself


targets. The Labour Government would set a target of full employment and


would create living wage loans to make sure that their wages that


people are ringing, irrespective of the work, were ample to meet their


needs. The reality is that we have got a bottom heavy, if you like,


London and South East focused British economy. There is a


long-running deep-seated well-established pattern of regional


inequality and poorer jobs the further away you get from London.


Successive governments have recognised that. Do I think we have


done enough? Do I think the last Labour Government did enough to


change it? Clearly not because we still have a problem but the next


one will, you mark my words. Well, you mentioned Ed Miliband, and he


told us only this week, because this is a largely dependent economy as we


have heard, that he will put a cap on benefits. But the main thing in


that speech, if you have read it, was work. We are Labour, and the


clue is in the name. The party of work and not welfare. The party of


support? Of course but we want to get people working. There are many


vulnerable people and you have had a lot to say about them, particularly


on the subject of the bedroom tax. Would you scrap that? I would love


to turn around and get rid of it. To do that today, two years outside the


election, without knowing what the economy will look like... I cannot


commit to scrapping the bedroom tax. You have said historically that we


should. I think we ought to. There is no question in my view that the


bedroom tax is iniquitous and is punishing the most vulnerable people


in our society. I would love when we get to the election in two years


time for us to pledge to reduce or get rid of the bedroom tax. But you


cannot promise that you will get rid of it? I am not the leader or the


Chancellor, so I could not promise it even if I wanted to. But even if


I was, I could not guarantee to keep that promise two years out from the


election. So what are you going to do that is significantly different


from what Wales has seen from Labour so far? We will have living wage


loans, we will incentivise businesses to pay higher amounts of


money, we need to work harder to encourage business, incentivise


business to move out of London and the South East and in two parts of


Britain like Wales in particular South Wales and the valleys, in


order to provide better jobs. Ultimately we need a much more


active industrial strategy, with the Government working in partnership


with business, in order to try and create jobs. So Labour have to be


the businessman's friend in the future? It have to be the Government


that works with business and understands that industry and


Government is far more intertwined than the current Government would


have us believe. The current Government believed they could cut


the public sector and the private sector would flourish. Instead it


was a fundamental economic mistake on their part and unfortunately we


are reaping the rewards in higher unemployment and public sector job


losses in Wales and elsewhere. you very much indeed. Now it is time


to talk about relationships and in particular our relationship with the


European Union. The Prime Minister has been coming under increasing


pressure recently to give the go-ahead to a referendum on


Britain's future within the EU. Many MPs say we should opt out. Others


say that we should stay in. But what would this mean for Wales? We asked


Doctor Martin O'Neill from Cardiff University, who works with projects


across Wales funded by the European Union, to tell us what the EU has


European funding is that we are in media that used to produce call, we


used to provide you look with iron and steel. We are no longer in that


position. When you look at some of the communities here in relation to


poverty and health, we are suffering some of the biggest problems in the


whole of Europe. As you can see, this is an sorry state of disrepair.


The Lydall has attracted money from European funding which will make a


difference to the way people experience it. -- the outdoor


swimming pool. Part of the community of year, if we would lose something


like that, it would make a significant difference to the way


people live here everyday lives. European funding is very abstract,


what it means to people, they ask what it means. This is what it


really means to people, being able to come out and enjoy time in the


park, having decent housing and decent roads. It is that European


funding which really makes a difference to the basic quality of


life. One of the things that makes a difference is when people ask what


the European Community has done for us and we see the development going


on, the little blue flag with the cold stars on it. We think of the


number of people who are employed in European projects or projects which


have some from Paul and in European funding. It is local businesses that


benefit a lot of the time, that is the real difference it will make. If


Wales wasn't part of the EU it with the utter disaster. I can state that


strongly enough. The whole argument against being part of the EU strikes


me as Jonny Fordham argument. When you look at the practicalities,


things like this project here and the development of infrastructure,


the road networks, the towns, they would be in a lot worse state


without European funding. Now I am joined by the reader of Plaid Cymru


and the conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan. Wales with the inner


terrible mess without European money? I do not accept that. I would


like to remain a member of the European Union under the right


terms. The terms in which the UK is a member right now is not the best.


With the EU without this investment which has been a huge positive thing


for the valleys? It is our money, it just comes back, but it comes back


with conditions. There was a desperate need for infrastructure


projects in large parts of Wales, particularly the Valleys. The


conditions that came back from the European Union at that time was that


they did not want money to go into infrastructure but other community


type projects. He has got a point, there is money coming in but it is


not being spent wisely, we need to spend it in a way that helps create


jobs and the economy. I accept that has not happened but I do not have


much faith in the UK government to redistribute wealth within the rest


of the UK. I do not think that is going on now like it is in the


European Union. The whole point of these convergence and structural


funds was to try to spread wealth throughout the European states. If


you look at what happened when the Wall came down between the two


German states, there was a deliberate plan to the distribute


wealth across the two countries, to reunify them as one and now we can


see the success coming from there. Do you really want to make that


comparison? Germany is the European powerhouse, what they have done is


investing jobs. That is what should be happening in Wales. It can happen


with investment from the European Union. We can use that money better


but without it we would be in dire straits. That is a point, it is a


largely dependent economy? The only way the German model exists is on


trade and I want to Europe in relationship that exists on trade,


not one that comes with the inhibiting rules that it comes. We


have a better understanding in Wales and Westminster of what the UK and


Wales needs rather than bureaucrats in Brussels who are putting


conditions on our on money. Who are we in this case? I will speak and


Plaid Cymru will always speak in the interest of wheels. It is a


different Europe and we received the funds we get not just through that


but through the agricultural industry. What will happen if


Scotland votes to stay in Europe against the lead -- the rest of the


UK? Scotland have talked about joining Europe off their own backs


if they get independent but some have said they might not want


Scotland to be a member of the European Union. This is a UK, this


happens before demolition of an existent. The point is quite clear


it is not a UK government. Let on that point to Leanne. If the rest of


us decide to stay in Europe we should not allow a no vote in


England to get us out. In all likelihood it would cost us an awful


lot more. We would still be bound by many rules without having a sea. We


would have less of a C. -- say. could become the gateway for all


these international investors. want us to stay in Europe and the


Prime Minister does so why are we having this conversation? I want to


be primarily focused on trade which is why we joined in the 1970s.


will leave it there. The Welsh education service has come under


criticism with services in five local authorities in special


measures. He then the Valleys some local schools have failed to meet


the great with shocking statistics showing four out of ten children in


Merthyr are functioning illiterate. From seven Ember literacy and new


Morrissey will form the basis of all lessons, not just English, Welsh and


maths. We went to a school in Cardiff where the head teacher was


recently voted the Welsh head teacher of the year, to see what she


and they are doing to improve standards. All children who come


here are expected to work to the best of their potential. We will


track a child from a very young age, from starting nationally we analyse


the data and test scorers and try to help and support the children with


their particular needs as they arise throughout the school. What new


Morrissey skills can you use today to help solve this particular


Robson? We use it to thrive, we want the children to thrive. We cover the


same points as the child progresses through the school. I feel this


could help schools but it does depend on the leadership of the


schools as to how they manage to support their staff and framework.


What was your favourite? This.There are still differences in the way


teachers assess ripples so we hope that by having the new national


literacy framework it will be a sharper and tighter form of


assessment. Just one page. Just one page. Just like any new initiative


the tests will have to be evaluated, perhaps this year when people have


been through the cycle once or next year after they have had time to go


through the framework. We have two insure it gives the best possible


life chance to every child. Joining me now is a leading academic and


adviser to the Welsh government. In these valleys minders used to walk


behind banners that said knowledge is power, he understood the benefit


of education. What has gone wrong? think when devolution started


everybody was very complacent about education. There was a great test of


the of love and idolatry of education in the Valleys. People


thought we were OK because we were doing better than England but we got


a shock in 2007 with the first national survey and in 2010 we were


much worse. We started to ask ourselves see these questions. It is


not that we do not know how to educate children in Wales, we have


good schools, quite good local authorities, wonderful teachers.


What we do not yet is get the knowledge around about what they did


people do to all our parts of the system. Have we worried too much


about added value over the years rather than the basics? I think


working around the world we have missed many tricks in the 2000 is.


The skills developed capacity among the teachers to teach. Scotland did


literacy and new Morrissey programmes so every teacher got


trained. If you look at Australia, Canada, most American states, most


countries resourced the teachers and see that the best thing for the


children is when the teachers teach well. We did not do that. We slept


on the international league tables. -- slight down the international


league tables. Now what we are trying to do is ensure everybody


knows what is good practice about teaching, how to run schools and


local authorities. It is the same administration that has largely been


in charge of that time, how can we have confidence they can fix a


problem that has caused such kiosks in our education system? -- caused


such chaos. There is certainly no complacency now. One point that the


Labour government want to pursue in Wales is that certain groups are too


small. Two very small local authorities are providing


educational services. We have lots of bitty education authorities that


do not necessarily have the knowledge in depth. Across the piece


we have not necessarily got the talent there in depth to help


schools. We do not know what is coming out next week but I am sure


there are changes coming to local authorities in an attempt to make


them better and better. Bigger with be better in the case of our local


authority. Thank you very much indeed. Next week we will be in


North Wales where we also hope the sun will be shining. I will be back


before then on Tuesday night on BBC One in Wales where this week we will


be examining the controversy surrounding Gypsies and Travellers,


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