13/11/2013 The Wales Report


13/11/2013

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

:00:15.:00:17.

contracts? Are Welsh workers particularly

:00:18.:00:19.

vulnerable to being exploited? We have new evidence.

:00:20.:00:22.

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

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the face? have new evidence.

:00:25.:00:26.

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

:00:27.:00:28.

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

:00:29.:00:31.

the time has come for a national blueprint.

:00:32.:00:36.

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

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

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

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start with the significant task of revising the economies of

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

:00:57.:01:02.

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

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contracts. Before that let us consider the possibility that the

:01:07.:01:09.

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

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Karel Williams of Manchester Business School is calling for a

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

:01:18.:01:22.

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

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investment and more emphasis on local business initiatives, keeping

:01:26.:01:27.

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

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hometown of Llanelli to explore the potential benefits.

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

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

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

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

:01:57.:02:01.

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

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always a troubling experience because the place you know no longer

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

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

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

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what strategies and policies do we need to restore prosperity to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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which would bring new success in tradable goods. Inward investments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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start a cafe to develop a business for people with learning

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disabilities and other disadvantaged members of our community. It is

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

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

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

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areas and we thought rather than repeating ourselves over and over

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

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requires all the policies and procedures that they need to run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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useful and needed for infrastructural things like social

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

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

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

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

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is change the limits on what is politically thinkable and

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

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Professor Karel Williams in Llanelli. That was plenty of food

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for thought. Joining me now is the businessman

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

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

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

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responsible for a successful business model. Does it make sense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:07:23.:07:27.

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

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

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

:07:39.:07:43.

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

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not really focusing on the local economic opportunities that there

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

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

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

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

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

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

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mixture of the larger economies and the supermarkets but also promoting

:08:23.:08:26.

and supporting the smaller businesses. I think he was maybe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:09:04.:09:07.

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

:09:08.:09:11.

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

:09:12.:09:15.

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

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

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

:09:25.:09:28.

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

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

:09:33.:09:36.

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

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

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

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

:09:49.:09:55.

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

:09:56.:09:58.

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

:09:59.:10:04.

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

:10:05.:10:08.

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

:10:09.:10:13.

economic development in Wales. For business to flourish funding sources

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

:10:21.:10:27.

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

:10:28.:10:31.

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

:10:32.:10:36.

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

:10:37.:10:42.

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

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

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

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

:10:59.:11:02.

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

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

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

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

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

:11:20.:11:23.

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

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

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

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fears that more Welsh workers are being exploited by a

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highly-controversial type of employment contract which doesn't

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

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

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workers vulnerable. Some experts warn that the number of people

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

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

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

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Callaghan reports. They are the contracts causing

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controversy all across the UK and affecting the lives of many

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

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

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

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

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uncertainty was hugely stressful. You could be shopping or anywhere

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

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

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

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

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

:13:16.:13:22.

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

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

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

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sector, many believe that workers in Wales are disproportionately

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affected. At the moment no one is really sure

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

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

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

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

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better protection for workers. I hope the leaders and chief

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

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

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

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employment charity believes that when councils use private firms to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:15:07.:15:13.

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

:15:14.:15:17.

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

:15:18.:15:23.

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

:15:24.:15:27.

guidelines which could advise local authorities not to employ people and

:15:28.:15:32.

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

:15:33.:15:37.

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

:15:38.:15:40.

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

:15:41.:15:45.

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

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

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

:15:57.:16:01.

present climate of spending cutbacks, money will be saved by

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

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

:16:10.:16:17.

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

:16:18.:16:22.

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

:16:23.:16:27.

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

:16:28.:16:31.

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

:16:32.:16:42.

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

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

:16:49.:16:55.

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

:16:56.:16:59.

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

:17:00.:17:08.

someone would describe some supply jobs as not being exploited.

:17:09.:17:17.

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

:17:18.:17:21.

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

:17:22.:17:25.

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

:17:26.:17:29.

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

:17:30.:17:35.

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

:17:36.:17:39.

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

:17:40.:17:42.

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

:17:43.:17:50.

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

:17:51.:17:53.

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

:17:54.:17:59.

contracts, where they will require exclusive performance. We should

:18:00.:18:04.

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

:18:05.:18:10.

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

:18:11.:18:15.

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

:18:16.:18:18.

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

:18:19.:18:22.

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

:18:23.:18:28.

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

:18:29.:18:31.

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

:18:32.:18:38.

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

:18:39.:18:40.

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

:18:41.:18:46.

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

:18:47.:18:54.

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

:18:55.:18:59.

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

:19:00.:19:07.

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

:19:08.:19:18.

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

:19:19.:19:22.

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

:19:23.:19:25.

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

:19:26.:19:28.

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

:19:29.:19:33.

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

:19:34.:19:37.

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

:19:38.:19:41.

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

:19:42.:19:45.

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

:19:46.:19:48.

contracts where there are flexibilities and benefits for the

:19:49.:19:53.

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

:19:54.:19:58.

how you do something about these exploitative contracts, there should

:19:59.:20:01.

be a discussion involving trade unions, employers and the

:20:02.:20:05.

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

:20:06.:20:10.

these contracts across the UK. Is Wales actually suffering more

:20:11.:20:13.

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

:20:14.:20:17.

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

:20:18.:20:21.

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

:20:22.:20:26.

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

:20:27.:20:31.

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

:20:32.:20:37.

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

:20:38.:20:41.

their work. The circumstances are less favourable and employers will

:20:42.:20:46.

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

:20:47.:20:51.

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

:20:52.:20:56.

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

:20:57.:20:59.

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

:21:00.:21:03.

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

:21:04.:21:07.

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

:21:08.:21:11.

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

:21:12.:21:18.

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

:21:19.:21:23.

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

:21:24.:21:26.

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

:21:27.:21:32.

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

:21:33.:21:36.

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

:21:37.:21:41.

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

:21:42.:21:55.

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

:21:56.:21:59.

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

:22:00.:22:05.

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

:22:06.:22:08.

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

:22:09.:22:10.

Patrick Hannay, editor of Touchstone, Wales' only architecture

:22:11.:22:12.

magazine, says the current commissioning system does not set a

:22:13.:22:15.

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

:22:16.:22:18.

Government's job to demand and set higher standards.

:22:19.:22:23.

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

:22:24.:22:27.

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

:22:28.:22:33.

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

:22:34.:22:40.

many missed opportunities for excellence? But there is promise

:22:41.:22:44.

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

:22:45.:22:55.

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

:22:56.:22:58.

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

:22:59.:23:02.

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

:23:03.:23:08.

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

:23:09.:23:15.

insufficient aspiration and little public promotion of talented

:23:16.:23:19.

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

:23:20.:23:25.

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

:23:26.:23:33.

architects have not picked up a single substantial commission since

:23:34.:23:40.

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

:23:41.:23:44.

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

:23:45.:23:48.

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

:23:49.:23:54.

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

:23:55.:23:58.

insufficient judgment about architectural design, and therefore

:23:59.:24:03.

will take no risks. Good architecture receives very little

:24:04.:24:06.

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

:24:07.:24:13.

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

:24:14.:24:18.

architects to create these great buildings are really named in

:24:19.:24:22.

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

:24:23.:24:29.

not an original concept. In Scotland, there architectural

:24:30.:24:34.

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

:24:35.:24:41.

Design Commission for Wales, actually act more aggressively in

:24:42.:24:44.

promoting in the public good architecture and being critical of

:24:45.:24:49.

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

:24:50.:24:55.

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

:24:56.:24:57.

Government for putting sufficient architectural judgment and

:24:58.:25:02.

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

:25:03.:25:07.

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

:25:08.:25:11.

an exciting future landscape for Wales.

:25:12.:25:18.

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

:25:19.:25:23.

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

:25:24.:25:27.

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

:25:28.:25:31.

have proper safeguards for architectural standards? I think

:25:32.:25:39.

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

:25:40.:25:43.

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

:25:44.:25:48.

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

:25:49.:25:53.

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

:25:54.:25:58.

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

:25:59.:26:03.

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

:26:04.:26:09.

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

:26:10.:26:15.

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

:26:16.:26:18.

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

:26:19.:26:24.

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

:26:25.:26:29.

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

:26:30.:26:32.

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

:26:33.:26:36.

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

:26:37.:26:45.

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

:26:46.:26:49.

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

:26:50.:26:55.

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

:26:56.:26:58.

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

:26:59.:27:03.

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

:27:04.:27:07.

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

:27:08.:27:12.

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

:27:13.:27:17.

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

:27:18.:27:22.

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

:27:23.:27:27.

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

:27:28.:27:34.

then tested professionals unpaid throughout the whole of Wales

:27:35.:27:39.

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

:27:40.:27:45.

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

:27:46.:27:47.

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

:27:48.:27:52.

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

:27:53.:27:56.

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

:27:57.:27:59.

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

:28:00.:28:03.

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

:28:04.:28:09.

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

:28:10.:28:15.

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

:28:16.:28:20.

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

:28:21.:28:27.

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

:28:28.:28:33.

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

:28:34.:28:39.

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

:28:40.:28:43.

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

:28:44.:28:48.

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

:28:49.:28:53.

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

:28:54.:28:59.

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

:29:00.:29:03.

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

:29:04.:29:06.

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

:29:07.:29:13.

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

:29:14.:29:19.

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

:29:20.:29:26.

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

:29:27.:29:30.

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

:29:31.:29:39.

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

:29:40.:29:42.

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

:29:43.:29:49.

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

:29:50.:29:56.

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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