28/05/2014 The Wales Report


Bethan Rhys Roberts asks how poverty is being tackled in Wales. Has a Welsh Government flagship scheme made the promised difference? And the fall-out from the European elections.

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As the dust settles on last week?s European elections, we speak to


the victors, UKIP, who narrowly missed topping the poll here.


Where next for the Liberal Democrats in Wales?


And is a flagship Welsh Government scheme aimed at tackling poverty


in the most deprived communities in Wales working?


Good evening and welcome to The Wales Report.


On tonight?s programme, the results of last week?s European


elections are still being digested across Wales.


On the surface, there?s no change, the same four parties,


the Conservatives, Labour, Plaid Cymru and UKIP, still have one


seat each representing Wales in the European Parliament.


But the political landscape here has been radically altered,


with UKIP narrowly missing the top spot in Wales.


It was a very different night for the Liberal Democrats, who


performed badly across the board, losing all but one of their MEPs.


For the first time in Wales, the party was pushed into sixth


In Blaenau Gwent, the party was beaten by the BNP.


So, what does all of this mean for the future of the party?


The Liberal Democrats are bruised and battered and in need of a fight


to get them back into the general election. Imagine what Wales' most


famous liberal would have made of this.


David Lloyd George - a radical, a reformer and the only Welsh


politician to make his home in Number 10.


But despite his successes, his coalition partnership played


Falling to sixth place in the European election shows their


support has shifted elsewhere. They will need more of the courage their


leader in Wales spoke of last year. We took a courageous decision back


in 2010. But will they be attempting their fightback with Nick Clegg in


charge? He is adamant he will not walk away but is that a wise choice


when voters seem to be running from the party?


Joining me now is the party?s leader in Wales, Kirsty Williams.


Is Nick Clegg the right man to lead you? Yes, he is. He has had the


courage of his convictions to make a positive case about what the Liberal


Democrats and the Welsh Liberal Democrats believe in. He had the


courage to do what was right for the country by taking the party into a


coalition government. The voters don't buy it. In this election, the


results show we have not been successful in getting that message


across to people but it is going to take more than one election talking


positively about why we should be part of Europe. Perhaps we should


have talked more about how we want to change you rip to make it work


better for Wales. But he is the person to take us forward. He is a


friend. Have you spoken to him? I have not spoken to him but I have


exchanged text messages. He is tired and disappointed, as disappointed as


I am to see the results coming from the European elections, but he is


determined to stick to his guns and continued to play what is a very


important role. Is he listening? A 4% share of the vote in Wales. How


bad does it have to get for him to listen? He is listening, he


understands that these are bad results. But simply walking away


would be to undo all the hard work of being the Deputy Prime Minister,


being in a coalition government. It is one thing to walk away from the


leadership, but you would not have to leave the coalition. There is no


leadership issue. What we need to do now is acknowledged that it has been


a very difficult week for the Liberal Democrats and we have to get


back on track, speaking quite clearly to the British and Welsh


public about what the Liberal Democrats are for. Just to be


absolutely clear, he has said he has never considered his position.


Shirley Williams says he has. You are adamant that he should not


consider his position, he should carry on, business as usual. I could


not be any clearer. I think Nick Clegg is the right man to lead this


party into the general section. We need to redouble our efforts in


explaining to this country what the Liberal Democrats are achieving as


part of this government and what we are for. You have been trying to do


that for years. It is not working. What we need to do is to be


absolutely clear with people about what they get if they support the


Liberal Democrats. In the past we have been the repository for many


protest votes. We can't be that now that we have taken the step of being


a party in government. We have to demonstrate that we have taken that


responsible decision, we are capable of being a party in government, we


stick to our values and do the things we want to do, which is


making sure there is a strong economy, which means people get back


to work and we can use the proceeds of that to help the poorest in


society. And that is your mantra. I suggest it has not worked. Was it a


mistake to go into coalition with the Conservatives? You were not keen


and in Wales you did not fancy the rainbow coalition on the table which


did include the Conservatives. You were far more keen to go with


Labour. Have you been proved right? It is not a question about who has


been proved right. The party was faced with a very challenging


decision. The public had decided not to give one party and overall


majority. The easy choice and the safest choice for the party would


have been to have walked away. But let's be clear what would have


happened, the economy would have been in even more serious trouble,


they would have been a snap election. So why aren't voters


thanking you? We would have been decimated. We took the responsible


choice to go into a coalition government to try and sort out the


economy. And you have paid heavily for that choice. Was it the wrong


choice? No, because what would have happened would have been disastrous


for the country. It would have been a disaster to go with Labour? If you


look at the Sims, it did not add up. We would not have had a stable


government which could have lasted five years. The Labour Party were in


no position to enter into that agreement. I was in London and the


behaviour of the likes of Ed Balls demonstrated they were not taking


that option seriously. Would it help you going into the next general


election to say, we will not renew this deal with the Conservatives? We


cannot rule in or out any coalition because that is not our choice, it


is the choice of the people of this country. When you next text Nick


Clegg, what will be your word of advice? We have got to get out there


and we have got to be clear and distinctive in our message about


what the Liberal Democrats are for. We are a party capable of being in


government, taking the tough decisions to make sure our economy


gets on track, but we need to be clear about how the recovery is


there, which is how we can invest in public services to make sure


everybody has a decent education and a decent health services and


services they can rely on. Thank you.


The fall-out from last week?s vote is still far from clear.


Big questions are being asked of all the parties as we approach


For UKIP, those questions concentrate


on the party?s ability to replicate their European success both


The party?s Welsh representative, Nathan Gill, says that the results


prove that Wales is ?just as Eurosceptic as the rest of the UK?.


If UKIP have caused a political earthquake, where does


their performance in Wales register on the Richter Scale?


Well, the ground hasn?t opened up and swallowed the other parties,


but Farage and friends have certainly shaken the status quo.


The single most remarkable result last night was in Wales.


With 28% of the vote, UKIP have galvanised support


across the country, picking up more than 114,000 votes since 2009.


Politics dressed in purple taking votes from those in more tried and


tested colours. ?The Valleys are ours


for the taking?, say UKIP, and in their sights, a handful


of AMs with seats in the Senedd. But will their anti-EU


and anti-immigration platform be what voters are looking for in next


year?s General Election and beyond And as the focus shifts away


from Europe, will UKIP have answers on education,


on the economy and healthcare? I?m joined now by Wales? newest MEP,


UKIP?s Nathan Gill. You are heading to Brussels, we know


what your long-term aim is, to abolish that institution. In the


meantime, how will you be fighting for the people of Wales? I am going


to have to take a period of bedding in when I find out what my role is.


But it is important for me when I get there to find out exactly what


it is that is being done there for the people of Wales and what is


being done with our money and what the institutions are going to be


putting on to us with regards to legislation and all those things and


bring that information back to the people of Wales so that they can be


informed as to what is going on in these institutions. What about jobs


for Wales? How are you going to secure more jobs? I fail to see how


an MEP can secure more jobs for Wales. The reality is, MEPs have


very little power, this is something we have been saying all along, when


people understand how the institutions work in Brussels, the


MEPs are just a veneer of democracy. So this is a pretty expensive


fact-finding mission because it does not sound as if you are going to be


doing anything. This is a very expensive layer of government we


want to get rid of. Every MEP costs the British taxpayer ?1.25 million.


Will you take your whole salary? We want to get rid of this. Why not set


an example and say you do not need these allowances, you do not need


this salary? With regard to allowances, every time you turn up


to Brussels, there is a 304 euros daily allowance they are claiming.


We personally donate from our net wages towards the cause that we


believe in, towards getting us out of that eat you. The focus now


shifts because we know where you stand on Europe, we know where you


stand on the institutions. The focus very firmly switches to domestic


issues. We know where you stand on immigration. Health and education,


bread and butter issues, are your big challenge. We know you won't go


into specifics until your manifesto is out in September, but is the NHS


a good thing? Absolutely, and we support it 100%. One of the sad


thing during this campaign was that the Labour Party, funded with the


help of the unions, went out and basically spread a lot of lies about


UKIP policy. What about private sector involvement in the NHS? You


need to wait about September to our manifesto. In principle? If we can


make the NHS provide a better service for the people of Wales


crossed it --, that is what we want. Testing in education in principle,


are children tested enough? In principle it is always good to test


and find out where we are and where we stand. On the economy, posterity,


is that the right road for the British economy? As with any


household, you have a budget and you have got to live within your means.


It is about time that the British government learned to do what the


British housewife and house and families have had to do all along,


live within their means. Quite frankly, we are a party of, we have


been saying all along, we have got to get things under control. We have


got to stop borrowing money off our grandchildren to pay for things


today. Way to you stand on devolution these days? Do you want


to scrap the assembly these days? Our policy has unfortunately has to


change and I say unfortunately because I was involved in the


anti-assembly movement but what we have said as a party is that we


believe in referendum. If the people of Wales, as they have now spoken


into referendum, they say they want the assembly, it would be very


hypocritical of us to say they are wrong and so we now support the


people of Wales. 's immigration is your big theme but


people of Wales. 's immigration is your big this is a different kind of


immigration. You live on Anglesey where Welsh is the language of the


street and it is changing to English. Should that they are


concerned, the integration of English into Wales? I am originally


from England and my wife is from America but our children go to war


Welsh language: They are learning Welsh. I spend an hour every night


listening to them reading their books to me. We fully support the


Welsh language but we think if you constantly use a stick to get people


to speak Welsh or use Welsh it will not work. We need more carrots to


encourage people to use this wonderful part of our heritage. How


will we measure the success of you as an MP over your first term?


Hopefully we will have a referendum and we will lose -- and leave the EU


and I will be out of a job. Is a Welsh Government flagship


scheme aimed at tackling poverty across Wales


delivering the changes it promised? Communities First was set up with


the aim of improving health, education and the economy of Wales?


most deprived areas. But over a decade on,


and nearly ?400 million later, As part of a BBC Wales season


looking at poverty in Wales, David More than 40 years ago, as a junior


reporter on the local evening paper in Swansea, I was acutely aware of


the effects of poverty and deprivation on a place they called


the hill. It had sprawling estates on the outskirts of Wales's second


city and it is still there. So other problems. Over the years it seems


there has been an insidious creep of an unwritten policy to lump and some


would say dump together the poor and those in need in places like this.


Mayhill is cut off from the rest of the world in subtle ways. An island


of deprivation surrounded by areas of welfare and well-being. According


to the statistics you will not see much of the good life here and you


never did and you will not any time soon. And yet, and yet, millions of


pounds of public money has been poured into black spots like this...


At this point a young man living on the street happened to hear what I


was saying, right outside his house, and initially came out to


remonstrate with me because he was understandably offended by the


thought that I was deliberately stood with -- deliberately


stigmatising people like himself. When you hear people like me walking


past your house and calling it an area of deprivation and poverty,


doesn't upset you? -- upset me? Yes, that definitely upsets me. I do not


smoke, I smoke cigarettes. Well, that is smoking! I thought you were


saying about drugs. Unpalatable though they may be, the latest


statistics relating to this area paint a grim picture. The gulf in


life expectancy between the richest and poorest areas remains one of the


biggest in Wales. Statistics suggest that the Mayhill community is one of


the poorest in Wales and the least healthy. The average life expectancy


of a male here is just 69 years, that is eight years left than the


average for Wales. 38% of households here have one or more people living


in them with long-term illness. The Wales averages just 30%. Stephen


Ellis is a statistic, although in reality he is much more than that.


Now volunteer at the local community centre, at the age of 14 he suffered


a major back injury which has left him permanently disabled. He is


often in pain and unable to work. Life is not easy for a disabled


person on an estate like Mayhill but Stephen remains remarkably positive.


I am optimistic and I believe that if people get off their bums and


make an effort and do things and manage their lifestyle better, food,


exercise, etc, what we need is people to take charge of their


lives, take charge of the hill that they live on. I am hoping that this


is a look of the past. The local surgery for the GP has a look and


feel of a place under siege, not just because of the external


security wire. Inside the medical staff are firefighting on a whole


range of fronts. As GPs we have got to tackle what we can tackle and we


can do better is to do more of the stuff like having more appointments


with bigger buildings and more consulting rooms and more staff and


more worker bees and giving people as much time as it takes because now


we are stretched. I see 50 or 60 patients a day and that whittled


down to having ten minutes to see me and saw the problem out and that is


all. That is why we need more of us. There have been various attempts to


change the depressingly repetitive position at the bottom of clinically


calculated health tables. Publicly funded schemes like Communities


First, aimed at reducing inequalities was launched 13 years


ago by the Welsh government as a flagship programme to reduce poverty


and inequality. It is being trumpeted by successive


administrations and almost ?400 million of public money has been


poured into supporting the policy. The focal point of this scheme used


to be this community centre and this was the man who steered it for it --


through its formative stages. More recently it has been taken over by


Swansea City Council. Now there is real concern that the move has added


an unnecessary level of bureaucracy at the very time when the scheme


seemed to be working well. We have been working with a large


bureaucracy with the Welsh government through many tears all


the way down to grassroots level and that is a big issue that we have. We


need to see the will of the ministers and their policies in the


big policy documents and then we need as few layers as possible to


get down to the grassroots so we need to be looking at really


targeting resources at the front line and not taking that tiered


bureaucratic approach to changing someone's life at a grassroots


level. 18 months ago Swansea City Council took over the running of the


community's first project here. I wanted to speak to somebody down


there about how they were getting on up here. Or not. It would seem that


there was plenty to talk about. Swansea has been given health city


status by no less an outfit than the world health organisation. The aim


is to improve health for all in this city. Despite our repeated requests


for an interview nobody from Swansea City Council was prepared to talk to


us on camera. What they told us off camera was that they had only been


running the first initiative -- in the Communities First initiative for


ten months and it was impossible to reflect the true impact of their


work on health inequalities in the areas concerned. Any comment on


health inequalities the council people told us should be taken up


with the health board. So we did. The health board is confident that


it is influencing communities -- Communities First by supporting big


projects instead of a lot of smaller ones and focusing on communities


finding their own solutions to their own issues. What about the big


picture? The overall responsibility for the running of Communities First


projects in this area? The council said that that is a matter for the


Welsh government. Those who know, those who deal with the problems


associated with poverty and health inequalities on a daily basis, tell


me that it is not just a question of money and it is certainly not about


adding another layer of bureaucracy in the hope that it will do the


trick. If there is to be any change in the depressingly familiar cycle


poverty and deprivation in places like Mayhill then people here need


to to be listening to what people out there are telling them.


David Williams reporting. Joining me now is Vaughan Gething from Labour.


Are you listening to places like this? Yes, since I was appointed I


have been given primary responsibility for the tackling


poverty action plan that draws together all of our resources.


Communities First is one of those and it covers the deprived


communities that make up one in four people in Wales. It is a big


footprint. Communities First is not the only agent and cannot be solely


responsible for tackling poverty. Let us look at Communities First. We


are talking about ?400 million in the last four years, what is to show


for it? It will not tackle poverty on its own. What has it done? The


most important thing it can do is to change the life chances of people so


we are getting big services into our poorest communities, for example the


way that health and education work in these particular communities and


the way job opportunities work. It has done a number of things but it


is not just Communities First on its own. We are looking at that this


evening. It used to be 157 partnerships and now it is right


down. You heard in the report the gentleman running the community, who


set it up in Mayhill, saying there is too much bureaucracy and they do


not know who is in charge. Are you listening to people like that when


you are reforming Communities First? It was reformed because of a number


of different concerns about having too many different organisations


running a Communities First partnership which is why bigger and


more robust clusters are in place and some have a model like Swansea


where the local authority is the lead delivery body and manages the


service and others like Anglesey have the local authority as the lead


body but there was a community interest Company. Effectively the


community are running Communities First directly themselves. There are


a range of different models that are all trying to get to the best


outcome and that is what I am interested in, what is going to


improve out -- outcomes for people and I am interested in what works.


You have to have the health board on board and have services in there to


help people find work and you need a focus on educational achievement as


well. That is why I want a Communities First to have a more


joined up relationship with flying start where they exist together as


well. It is drawing together all of these interventions to make the


biggest difference possible for families and communities. It is only


one pillar, isn't it? Looking at the big picture and this morning we have


a report out from Save The Children suggesting that the target of


eradicating child poverty right across the UK, including here in


Wales, will not happen by 2020, it is not, is it? Isn't it time to


readjust the target? No, we're not moving away from the target, I said


this when I was appointed and I will keep on saying it. We will maintain


the target and the ambition we have to eradicate child poverty. We


recognise it is a huge challenge and what Save The Children were saying


today recognises the impact of tax and benefit reform and the fact it


is making people poorer and not wealthier. We need a significant


turnaround in the economy so that work pays much more and we need to


see a different direction on tax and benefit because the deliberate


policy being followed is actually making people in the lowest bits of


income is poorer and not wealthier and that is a really big challenge


for all of us. Just to be clear, you think that child poverty in Wales


will be eradicated in six years time? I think it is a really big


challenge to reach that and achieve that but I see no benefit whatsoever


in changing the target or removing it. There must be a really collect


-- a real collective will and effort to achieve the target. If we pull


back from the target and say we will not achieve it I think people will


take their put off the pedal and that is abandoning people to their


feet -- fate and we will not do that. I want to get to Twenty20 and


do all that we can to which you that target and if we don't we need to


honestly reflect about what we have not done and what we need to do more


of. Thank you very much. If you?d like to get in touch


about the issues discussed please


On the Wales Report with Bethan Rhys Roberts - tackling poverty across Wales. Has a Welsh Government flagship scheme made the difference it promised? And we discuss the fall-out from last week's European elections.

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