13/11/2013 The Wales Report


With Huw Edwards. Includes a report on the hidden unemployed and a call to end zero hours contracts. And is there a home grown solution to revive Welsh communities' economies?

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Tonight on the Wales report: Is Wales a haven for zero-hours


contracts? Are Welsh workers particularly


vulnerable to being exploited? We have new evidence.


Could the answer to reviving some of our local economies be staring us in


the face? have new evidence.


Could the answer We look at some home-grown solutions.


And, is Wales serious about its iconic buildings? We'll be asking if


the time has come for a national blueprint.


Stay with us for the Wales Report. Good evening and welcome to the


Wales Report, where we examine the issues affecting lives in Wales, and


question some of the decision makers. On tonight 's programme: We


start with the significant task of revising the economies of


communities right across Wales. In the moment we will look at one of


the problems of the alleged exploitation of workers on 0-hours


contracts. Before that let us consider the possibility that the


solution to some of our economic problems is staring us in the face.


Karel Williams of Manchester Business School is calling for a


sharp local focus to reverse the trend that sees Wales lagging behind


other parts of the UK. That means less emphasis on inward


investment and more emphasis on local business initiatives, keeping


money in local areas. Professor Williams has been back to his


hometown of Llanelli to explore the potential benefits.


I have come back to Llanelli. I was brought up here and my father was


they get here for 20 years. I went to the local grammar school and then


a lifetime later I am a professor at Manchester business School and my


research is partly about how places like Llanelli can find a more


sustainable and prosperous future. Coming back to where you grew up is


always a troubling experience because the place you know no longer


exists, it has been rebuilt and upgraded. But this place looks at --


this place looks as if it has gone backwards. I remember this street in


the 1960s, full of affluent factory workers. If the affluence has gone,


what strategies and policies do we need to restore prosperity to


Llanelli? Deindustrialisation is an ugly word and in Llanelli there is


one place that symbolises it. The tin plate Works opened in 1951 and


employed 2000 in its heyday. Now it is closer to 500. The site is not


empty. They built a retail park here and it is sucking the heart out of


Llanelli because the retail spend goes out of town and the community


in return gets low-wage jobs, which is part of a wider British problem.


60% of the jobs created since 2010 in the UK have been in low-wage


retail and hospitality. So, what is to be done? Here we are at a


crossroads. The old response was to crust -- trust in inward investment


which would bring new success in tradable goods. Inward investments


come and go and it is now time to question the idea that our future


can be built on inward investment and exported goods. So, there is a


new interest in managing what is left of the Welsh economy, what I


call the foundational economy, the sheltered economy of services, of


retail and utilities, of health and education. In Llanelli and many


other places in Wales, that is what left -- that is what is left and


managing what is left is the key to better services and better jobs. 15


miles up the road from the tin works is the best of the alternative, a


cafe which is meeting local social services. We put money together to


start a cafe to develop a business for people with learning


disabilities and other disadvantaged members of our community. It is


worthwhile in itself but it is also tackling the problem of scaling


things up so we have a chain and plans to franchise its model. We


have five groups at the moment interested in starting one in their


areas and we thought rather than repeating ourselves over and over


again we thought we would come up with a business in a box that


requires all the policies and procedures that they need to run


from day one. We will not get far until we challenge the business


models of the major players. Think of the supermarkets. There is a


superstar -- a superstore on a roundabout near you. Their business


model means a spend of ?75 per household per week and you can


almost hear the giant sucking sound of money crossing the bridge. We


need to build local supply chains that keep the money here where it is


useful and needed for infrastructural things like social


housing we need to think about keeping pension funds here, not


sending them off to London and we need to think about low, steady,


secure returns on socially useful projects. Let us not argue that the


Welsh government needs more money and more power. What we need to do


is change the limits on what is politically thinkable and


economically doable in Wales. That is how Wales can win.


Professor Karel Williams in Llanelli. That was plenty of food


for thought. Joining me now is the businessman


and co-founder of Hiett Denim, David Hieatt, and the chair of the


Assembly's Enterprise and business committee Nick Ramsay. Thank you for


coming in. David, to you first ball as someone who is famously


responsible for a successful business model. Does it make sense


to you to talk almost exclusively in terms of local solutions to local


problems. I think what that film touched on was a doughnut town where


the supermarkets create a hole in the middle. I have been thinking


about this on the train on the here today and in Cardigan town the way


they have worked out to beat that is by being better. We will not change


habits by the sentiment alone. A town house to have a vibrant culture


business, new businesses because old businesses have died there. The


biggest employer in Cardigan, the old jeans factory, closed in 2001


and many jobs went. We have created just a few jobs so we are just a


small part of the answer as so we need many other companies to get


back to where we were in 2001. Partly the answer is local. You


cannot deny that the supermarkets and chains will not go away. And


what do you think, the model simply is not working, life is being sucked


out of these town centres and Llanelli is just one example. We are


not really focusing on the local economic opportunities that there


are. You can understand the anger. If you look at what has happened to


many town centres across Wales in the last decades then, yes, things


have got to change. I liked a lot of the ideas. The idea of more localism


is a good one and the idea that it is not constantly about saying that


we need more powers, but to shut the door on inward investment, I


certainly would not do that. You need a balanced economy, it is a


mixture of the larger economies and the supermarkets but also promoting


and supporting the smaller businesses. I think he was maybe


saying not about shutting the door but that we were over dependent on


that notion of inward investment. That has made us blind to


opportunities that were there. That cafe talked about the business in a


box that you can franchise easily. Could that translate into a more


successful model on a bigger scale, not just to do with cafes? What


scales really well is when someone does something very well. In Bristol


Bay have a Bristol pound. That currency can only be spent with


independent shops and it is actually very successful. You cannot spend


that money outside of Bristol and I think it is a really clever way of


trying to keep the money into the town because it makes a lot of sense


and creates a lot of jobs. A big controversy in the last few days to


do with finance, Finance Wales is supposed to be helping businesses in


Wales and there is criticism of how it has been run and how it is


operating. Do you share those concerns and think that in the


context of trying to help business, lots of them are desperate for


funding source and do you think the picture in Wales is healthy enough?


Businesses have been telling me and other assembly members for a long


time now that they had big concerns about Finance Wales and concerns


about their interest rates. Some of them are up to 12%. My party and I


think, and the wider community thinks, that although Finance Wales


might have been fit for purpose once, it is not now. It is not


addressing the needs of businesses. There was scathing criticism of it


in that it was giving out loans but it did not have an eye or focus on


economic development in Wales. For business to flourish funding sources


are crucial. What is your take on the easel difficulty of getting


funding? Ideas need funding. I can only talk about Finance Wales in


terms of my experience and actually they helped to fund me and it was


very successful funding and they were very good to work for so I can


only say I found. But if you are an ideas person, new need an idea and


you need to build a team and get funding. The access to funding, not


just in Wales, but in Britain is tough. Finance Wales has been to


distance. In the report there is a recommendation that there should be


a new development bank and whatever form that is, and the committee have


not looked at this yet, what ever form it takes there is a strong


argument to somehow localise Finance Wales and make it more public facing


and more business friendly so that in the same way if you went into a


bank in your high street and ask for a loan then the business should be


able to access that information locally. A lot of businesses are


made to go to talk to a faceless bureaucrat and that puts a lot of


companies off at the early stage. Thank you for coming in. There are


fears that more Welsh workers are being exploited by a


highly-controversial type of employment contract which doesn't


specify any hours of work. It's called a zero-hours contract,


and it's seen by many as powerful tool for employers, which leaves


workers vulnerable. Some experts warn that the number of people


working on these contracts could be much higher than previously thought,


and they seem to be particularly prevalent in Wales. There are calls


for the Welsh government to step in and review the practice, as Helen


Callaghan reports. They are the contracts causing


controversy all across the UK and affecting the lives of many


thousands of Welsh workers. Anyone on a 0-hours contract is not


guaranteed a minimum amount of work. They do not know when they will be


working or for how long. This woman who wants to remain anonymous was


employed on one of these contracts by a Welsh council and says that the


uncertainty was hugely stressful. You could be shopping or anywhere


and get a call asking you to work that afternoon. She was working in


the care sector and says that the 0-hours contract was not bad for her


but it was also bad for the vulnerable children she was helping


to look after because there was no continuity of care. I do not think


it does any good for the service user, irrespective of what the


service is. They can put people at risk. These contracts tend to be


more common in the public sector, in areas like air, catering, cleaning


and labouring and since one quarter of Welsh jobs are in the public


sector, many believe that workers in Wales are disproportionately


affected. At the moment no one is really sure


how many people in Wales are working in this way. Recent estimates range


from 40,000 to 55000 and many think the true figure could be much


higher. The public service union has contacted every council in Wales in


order to arrange an urgent meeting about these contracts. It wants


better protection for workers. I hope the leaders and chief


executives agreed to discuss the situation we are facing so that we


can have some compliance and control around the use of these contracts.


The unions are not the only ones calling for more to be done. One


employment charity believes that when councils use private firms to


do work for them, they should ensure that those on the these are not


using anything resembling zero-hours contracts. I know of organisations


where they are using these contracts, but they do not want to


be, and the only reason they feel forced into going down that road, is


because that is the only way they feel they can compete for public


contracts. Recently, the Labour Party leader said that if they win


the next general election, they will immediately move to restrict the use


of zero-hours contracts. We know we have an epidemic in this country of


zero-hours contracts. Exploitation at work. We should say yes to


flexibility, but no to exploitation. And nowhere is that more true than


when it comes to zero-hours contracts. But many are now saying


that the Welsh Labour Government could take the lead here by issuing


guidelines which could advise local authorities not to employ people and


zero-hours contracts, or report contracts to companies which use


them. What we would like to see, and what we will be asking the Welsh


governments to do, is to issue a statement confirming that they will


look at zero-hours contracts and they will look at ringing in some


form of control around zero-hours contracts. -- bringing in. The


concern is that, without such intervention in Wales, and in the


present climate of spending cutbacks, money will be saved by


using more and more casual zero-hours contracts, with the


result being more and more people facing the worry of not knowing if


they have a secure job. I generally have a good 37 hours per job. Then


my father had a brain haemorrhage. Iranian to explain the situation and


I did not get any more shifts -- I rang him to explain the situation


and I did not get any more ships even though I said I was available.


Joining me now is Assembly member Vaughan Gething. Thank you for


coming. Are there any circumstances in which these zero-hours contracts


can be justified? Yes. You see, some of these contracts are generally


flexible and they do not exploit the worker themselves. For example,


someone would describe some supply jobs as not being exploited.


Sometimes there is a requirement to accept work, and the real problem


comes when there are especially low-paid workers, because regardless


of the legal ins and outs, if that is work that you rely upon, and if


you are called to do it at short notice, you may be afraid to turn it


down. I accept there are real issues of exhortation that take place,


especially in care work in retail and cleaning, so we realise this is


a present challenge facing many workers in Wales and the rest of the


UK. And the response should be? I think we should have legal reform,


and that requires Parliament to act. We should have a ban on zero-hours


contracts, where they will require exclusive performance. We should


then contracts like this at do not have a mutuality of obligations, so


that's work must be provided in that sense. We should see a band on a


situation where you are required to take these types of contracts when


you actually worked much more regular hours. That is difficult,


because giving people right is one thing, having them enforced is quite


another. What do you say to local authorities in Wales about


guidance, are you actually being as rigorous as you should be in terms


of using these contracts customer -- contracts? The West Government has


been pretty clear that we do not support the use of these types of


contracts. The calls from the unions are interesting, because the forum


to have discussed is part of a Council -- is involved in part of a


Council in which these issues that discuss the strap broke -- a Council


in which these things can be examined. Do you think this issue is


being examined as energetically as it might be? You are talking about


partnerships and all the rest of it. Is there something more proactive


you could be doing? The guidance that could come from the Council is


guidance from the Government, which would meet the call made by the


councils, but it is important to have the voice of the trade unions


in the debate and discuss with them players where they can use these of


zero-hours contracts, because there is an exploitative end of these


contracts, which I recognise, but there can be other forms of the


contracts where there are flexibilities and benefits for the


worker. For example, the NHS is a good example. To deal properly with


how you do something about these exploitative contracts, there should


be a discussion involving trade unions, employers and the


Government. Ed Miliband says there in -- says there is an epidemic of


these contracts across the UK. Is Wales actually suffering more


heavily in terms of these contracts in other parts of the UK? I could


not say whether there is a bigger problem here in Wales, because this


is not just restricted to the public sector, but we note from figures


that we have seen that there has been a rise in these types of


contracts as there has been wider -- wider unemployment. This should not


surprise anyone. There is a large pool of Labour that is worried about


their work. The circumstances are less favourable and employers will


often exploit that. When you think of in work poverty, which is a


particular concern of ours, you can see that the growth of the number of


people being employed, but the problem can also be people who are


working in part term hours and zero-hours of work as well. There is


a really big issue here in Wales and across the rest of the UK. But


basically, if people are expecting action, as in meaningful action, any


time soon, what are you saying to them? Do not hold your breath? I do


not think that is fair. I think the Council should take seriously the


concerns of the trade unions. It is unfair to prejudge what that body


will do. It would be wrong for me to say that I can't guarantee a change


in a certain period amid -- I can guarantee a change in a certain


period of time. We are very clear that we do not support the use of


exploitative contracts. Thank you very much. The Millennium Stadium.


Caernarfon Castle. St David's Cathedral. The Senedd building. Each


one has a claim to be the most iconic building in Wales. We all


have our favourites. But for one of our leading experts on architecture,


Wales isn't serious about increasing the number of exemplary buildings.


Patrick Hannay, editor of Touchstone, Wales' only architecture


magazine, says the current commissioning system does not set a


consistent national standard. And as he explains, it's the Welsh


Government's job to demand and set higher standards.


Welcome to Newport. This city once had a proud industrial heritage.


This is a gateway city. People come in from England. What do they see?


And exciting mix of Arctic texture -- architecture, or do you see too


many missed opportunities for excellence? But there is promise


here. This is the city campus in Newport: . -- in Newport. It was


designed by a famous architect. The interior is especially vibrant and


colourful, and after all, it is inside where the staff and students


live most of their life. Why can't this be the minimum standard? The


picture continues across Wales. Too many blunders, too few delights,


insufficient aspiration and little public promotion of talented


architects aced in Wales. Take the wise building at the centre for


alternative technology. It is award-winning, world-class, yet it's


architects have not picked up a single substantial commission since


its completion. Who is making architectural quality? With the rise


of contractor power over the last decade, architects have been reduced


to just simply being subcontractors to the process. Talent slips through


the net. This is all because those at the heart of power have


insufficient judgment about architectural design, and therefore


will take no risks. Good architecture receives very little


coverage in the public media. Our newspapers and television. Has


anybody heard of the most important architectural award in Wales? The


architects to create these great buildings are really named in


national newspapers. This needs to change. -- are rarely aimed. This is


not an original concept. In Scotland, there architectural


policies are and their third reform. Should the body responsible, the


Design Commission for Wales, actually act more aggressively in


promoting in the public good architecture and being critical of


the bad? Whether it be in our high streets or in our housing areas, or


in major public buildings, I am calling for action at the centre of


Government for putting sufficient architectural judgment and


high-quality architectural patronage at the centre of their thinking and


promote architectural debate with the public. It could be the start of


an exciting future landscape for Wales.


Patrick Hannay there. Joining me now is Carol-Ann Davies from the Design


Commission for Wales. Good to have you with us. Thank you very much. Do


you accept his main point, that we are not in a position where we can


have proper safeguards for architectural standards? I think


part of it is insightful. I do not think it is the whole story. We are


in a far better place than we were ten years ago, or even when we were


seeing what we call turning point buildings coming out of the ground.


The Millennium Stadium and other buildings around the rest of Wales.


We have got to remember that it is not just about buildings. It is


about homes and streets and schools and health care buildings and all


sorts of public spaces. Are we in better shape? Yes. Is there more to


be done? Yes. We are working on it. Do you have the Design Commission


have the powers necessary to enforce the kind of standards that you would


like? Lots of comparisons are drawn. He pulsate to look at Scotland.


Would you like to be the Scottish -- people say to look to Scotland.


Would you like to be in the Scott's position, where you can say, sorry,


that is not good enough, we have got better standard than that? I think


we have got a number of tools. Wales has very good design policy, written


into its planning policy, and divine policy was put at the heart of our


decision-making process. -- design policy. What has happened in


Scotland is great, however standards, and force, power, is that


really how you bring back the process of design? Maybe it is. If


you look around Wales and the awful buildings that. -- performed badly


as well, that is what some local authorities are putting up. Maybe


you do need the powers to say, sorry, that is not good enough. We


are happy to say, sorry, that is not good enough. We rent a national


design -- three run a national design service throughout Wales. 37


then tested professionals unpaid throughout the whole of Wales


championing good design. The things we should not forget as well, I


think, is that we have fantastic designers in Wales that the export


across the whole of the world. Is that talent being exported more than


it should be and we are not benefiting from the kind of skills


that are being developed here in Wales? That is a key issue, and it


is also about teams and risk aversion. We might want to look


about how we want to skewer stop that is not -- procurer. That does


not mean you should throw caution to the wind. You have to have value for


money. But, for the long-term, we could be looking at how we manage


risk and how we assess attracting talent and procure it for projects


all across Wales, and let's not forget, attracting some of the best


in the business. Are we rather reluctant in Wales to take risks


with buildings? Are we in Wales sometimes too reluctant to take


risks? I do not think we are more reluctant than anywhere else. There


is a tendency to see that the grass is greener elsewhere. It is


interesting to see one Institute, it is a fantastic building and has been


highlighted at the building of the decade in Wales. With big projects,


you always want them to be high-quality, on-time and on


budget, without question, but there has to be a case for magic. If you


look at the Royal Welsh holly jug music and drama, they are absolute


gifts. -- College of music and drama. We have designed panelists


who are out there working for nothing and championing good design.


We look forward to seeing how things move forward in the future. Thank


you. That's it for this week's programme. We'll be back next


Wednesday. In the meantime you can get in touch with us about the


issues discussed tonight. Thanks for watching. Good night. Nos da.


On The Wales Report with Huw Edwards - the hidden unemployed. Calls for the Welsh Government to take the lead on tackling the often exploitative use of zero hours contracts. And is there a home grown solution to revive the economies of Welsh communities?

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