09/06/2013 The Wales Report


09/06/2013

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

:00:15.:00:20.

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

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

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

:00:29.:00:39.
:00:39.:00:42.

schools? -- new .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:01:34.:01:41.

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

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

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Politicians' voices have been reverberating around the South Wales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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backed up by this report, compiled by economists from Stirling

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

:03:13.:03:19.

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

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

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

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

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

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young people have been particularly badly affected by underemployment.

:03:53.:03:57.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that job sharing, zero hours contracts, and diminishing shiftwork

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are commonplace in labouring, cleaning, catering and many other

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sectors. But employee representatives say that staffing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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But most accept that the official figures mask the growing financial

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struggle that many families currently face.

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Well, we asked the Welsh Government minister charged with tackling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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not enough energy and enterprise going on here and the Welsh

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Government has not done enough over that period to generate that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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London and South East focused British economy. There is a

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

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

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Successive governments have recognised that. Do I think we have

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:10:22.:10:27.

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

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

:10:33.:10:39.

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

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

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

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bedroom tax is iniquitous and is punishing the most vulnerable people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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loans, we will incentivise businesses to pay higher amounts of

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

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

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

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

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active industrial strategy, with the Government working in partnership

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

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

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that works with business and understands that industry and

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Government is far more intertwined than the current Government would

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have us believe. The current Government believed they could cut

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

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was a fundamental economic mistake on their part and unfortunately we

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are reaping the rewards in higher unemployment and public sector job

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

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to talk about relationships and in particular our relationship with the

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European Union. The Prime Minister has been coming under increasing

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

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

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

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

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

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:13:17.:13:30.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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funding which really makes a difference to the basic quality of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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things like this project here and the development of infrastructure,

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

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

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

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

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

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:16:21.:16:24.

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

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

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

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with conditions. There was a desperate need for infrastructure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:17:27.:17:35.

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

:17:35.:17:41.

European Union. The whole point of these convergence and structural

:17:41.:17:46.

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

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

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German states, there was a deliberate plan to the distribute

:17:55.:18:01.

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

:18:01.:18:07.

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

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

:18:14.:18:24.
:18:24.:18:24.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wales needs rather than bureaucrats in Brussels who are putting

:19:08.:19:17.

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

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

:19:22.:19:28.

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

:19:28.:19:34.

but through the agricultural industry. What will happen if

:19:34.:19:40.

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

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

:19:50.:19:54.

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

:19:54.:20:03.

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

:20:03.:20:07.

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

:20:07.:20:17.
:20:17.:20:21.

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

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

:20:26.:20:31.

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

:20:31.:20:38.

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

:20:38.:20:48.
:20:48.:20:53.

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

:20:53.:21:02.

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

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

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

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

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criticism with services in five local authorities in special

:21:26.:21:32.

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

:21:32.:21:40.

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

:21:40.:21:46.

Merthyr are functioning illiterate. From seven Ember literacy and new

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

:21:52.:21:56.

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

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

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

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

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

:22:19.:22:26.

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

:22:26.:22:33.

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

:22:33.:22:35.

Morrissey skills can you use today to help solve this particular

:22:35.:22:45.
:22:45.:22:48.

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

:22:48.:22:52.

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

:22:52.:22:57.

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

:22:57.:23:02.

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

:23:02.:23:12.
:23:12.:23:13.

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

:23:13.:23:18.

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

:23:18.:23:24.

literacy framework it will be a sharper and tighter form of

:23:24.:23:34.
:23:34.:23:38.

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

:23:38.:23:42.

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

:23:42.:23:47.

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

:23:47.:23:54.

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

:23:54.:24:02.

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

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

:24:09.:24:12.

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

:24:12.:24:22.
:24:22.:24:23.

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

:24:23.:24:27.

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

:24:27.:24:34.

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

:24:34.:24:38.

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

:24:38.:24:47.

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

:24:48.:24:53.

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

:24:53.:24:58.

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

:24:58.:25:02.

good schools, quite good local authorities, wonderful teachers.

:25:02.:25:07.

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

:25:07.:25:14.

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

:25:14.:25:20.

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

:25:20.:25:25.

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

:25:25.:25:34.

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

:25:34.:25:36.

literacy and new Morrissey programmes so every teacher got

:25:36.:25:42.

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

:25:43.:25:50.

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

:25:50.:25:55.

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

:25:55.:26:03.

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

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

:26:10.:26:14.

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

:26:14.:26:21.

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

:26:22.:26:26.

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

:26:26.:26:36.

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

:26:36.:26:46.
:26:46.:26:48.

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

:26:48.:26:55.

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

:26:55.:27:05.
:27:05.:27:06.

small. Two very small local authorities are providing

:27:06.:27:12.

educational services. We have lots of bitty education authorities that

:27:12.:27:21.

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

:27:21.:27:24.

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

:27:24.:27:32.

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

:27:32.:27:36.

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

:27:36.:27:41.

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

:27:41.:27:50.

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

:27:50.:27:55.

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

:27:55.:28:01.

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

:28:01.:28:05.

be examining the controversy surrounding Gypsies and Travellers,

:28:05.:28:15.
:28:15.:28:24.

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