After 10 years of Labour, Welsh children are still the poorest in Western Europe. With this latest report that more than 10,000 children - including some as young as five - are arrested by police in Wales every year. Youngsters have committed some of society's most serious crimes, including robbery, violent crime, vehicle theft and sexual offences. With children as young as nine have been arrested for offences as serious as violence, criminal damage and theft. There is a lack of respect and a lack of parental control, also I believe that most of the crimes were due to the consumption of alcohol. The worst mistake this Labour government was the relaxation of licensing laws and the longer opening times. Kids get drunk on cheap plonk, while their parents drink it up the local pub and clubs.
Depressing figures published yesterday show Wales still languishing at the bottom of the UK’s economic performance league table. The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, also suggest that the £1.3bn Objective One European aid package has had little impact on improving Wales’ performance in comparison with the rest of the UK. In terms of GVA (Gross Value Added) per head – the preferred means of measuring economic performance – Wales as a whole was running at 77% of the rate for the UK in 2006. At one time, the Assembly Government hoped the Welsh rate would rise to 90% by 2010. The ONS also released provisional regional and local figures for 2005 that show the Objective One area of West Wales and the Valleys – an artificially created region covering about two-thirds of Wales – had a GVA per head rating which was only 65% of the UK as a whole. That is actually 1% lower than the region’s rating in 1999, immediately before the Objective One programme began. There are shocking figures at a more local level too. Anglesey, represented at the Assembly by Deputy First Minister and Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, had the lowest GVA per head figure in the whole of the UK, at only 53%, with a cash equivalent of £9,392. In a shocking illustration of regional disparity, the richest locality in Britain – Inner London, West – had a GVA per head figure more than eight times higher than Anglesey at £78,285. The Welsh economy grew by 4.9% during 2006, less than England (5.1%), Scotland (5.4%) and Northern Ireland (5.6%). Overall, the UK economy grew by 5.1%. Wales also provides three of the five lowest local GVA-per-head ratings in the UK, namely Isle of Anglesey (53%), Gwent Valleys (58%) and South West Wales (61%). Anglesey is the only locality in Britain with a GVA per head of less than £10,000. David Melding, the Welsh Conservatives’ shadow economic development minister, said, "It is clear that Labour policies over the last eight years are responsible for this serious decline in our nation’s wealth compared to the rest of the United Kingdom. "It is little wonder that a government which has been so hostile to the private sector is now seeing a further fall in prosperity levels. Only a radical change of approach which makes Wales a business-friendly place to be can turn around these worrying figures. "Particular responsibility now falls upon Plaid Cymru, who have inherited the Labour Government’s devastating record. As minister for the economy, Ieuan Wyn Jones has a pivotal role to play in turning around this depressing trend. This is what his success or failure will be measured against." Kirsty Williams, the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ spokeswoman on the economy, said, "These figures show that Wales has the lowest levels of economic activity in the UK. Without real investment in infrastructure and education, this decline will continue. "Under a Labour Government, business activity has suffered. Now Plaid Cymru also have to work to improve this poor record. "This Government must overcome its fear of working with the private sector, and prioritise better transport links to open Wales up to new opportunities. If failure to open the long-awaited Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line is anything to go by, the Plaid-Labour Government has a long way to go. "The time of large industry has gone – Wales needs to identify niche markets to excel at, such as scientific research. But budget cuts in health research funding do nothing to assist this." In his column for today’s Western Mail, economist Professor Dylan Jones-Evans states, "The most worrying aspect of this data is that the two regions above us in the ‘relegation zone’ of wealth creation, namely Northern Ireland and the North East of England, have increased their GVA at a far higher rate than Wales, thus growing the gap between our nation and the other regions of the UK." Deputy First Minister Jones said, "The One Wales programme commits us to seek a strong and enterprising economy, and as minister I recognise that it is business supported by government that delivers the goods. So it is my objective to streamline business support and set businesses free to get on with the job of ensuring a strong and competitive Wales. "That is the reason we have enhanced the business rate relief scheme and taken measures to introduce a simplified system of grants which will take effect during the new year. "I believe our One Wales programme will provide the right approach for encouraging the growth of successful businesses in every part of our country."
Lady Kinnock MEP has "huge concerns" over a Plaid/Labour coalition government in Cardiff Bay; well her little outburst comes as no surprise. Together with the Tories she and husband Lord Kinnock fought with the rest of the no campaigners. Also with her husband they were anti European, but both made a very good living out of European gravy train. Well Lady Kinnock two points to chew over; the people of Wales have huge concerns over your ability to call yourself socialist. Moving to the Vale of Glamorgan doesn’t do your credibility any good. Secondly Wales needed a stable government and at the time the Liberal party was dithering. Thankfully the membership of both Plaid and Labour choose a coalition together because both didn’t want Tory ministers and being in charge of the NHS. It however seems Lady Kinnock would have rather that, as well has having Labour in opposition to the current set up.
The Labour government has paid £60m of tax payers money to bail out Northern Rock The total publicly funded budget for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games will be £9.3 billion.
To date £5.3 billion has been made available to the Olympic Delivery Authority. This budget is only to meet the construction/infrastructure costs.
The £5.3 billion is split as follows: £3.1 billion for the construction of the Olympic Park and Venues; £1.7 billion for the wider regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley £0.5 billion for project contingency.
Additional budget lines are: A further £2.2billion project contingency VAT £800m Wider security (in addition to ODA security budget) £600m Elite Olympic and Paralympic Sport as announced at time of bid £400m
The budget is comprised as follows: £6.1 billion from the UK Government (64%) £2.2 billion from the National Lottery (23%); and £1 billion from the Mayor of London and the LDA (13%)
Wales will suffer a double whammy thanks to a decision to divert large amounts of lottery funding to the London Olympics. Research by Alliance, the coalfield communities’ campaign representing local authorities in former mining areas, suggested projects in Wales would lose £107m as result.
Statistics compiled by Alliance suggest Blaenau Gwent will lose £2.1m in lottery funding, Bridgend £4.7m, Caerphilly £6.2m, Flintshire £5.5m, Merthyr Tydfil £2m, Neath Port Talbot £4.9m, RCT £8.4m, Torfaen £3.3m, Powys £4.8m and Carmarthenshire £6.5m. When Labour MP’s in Wales supported the Olympic Games coming to London should have considered the implications to Welsh communities. Sadly they got swept with this British mentality that their Scottish leader is using. Why should Wales suffer so that London can be regenerated?
Labour Schools Secretary Ed Balls has hailed Margaret Thatcher and the Spice Girls as inspiring role models for young girls. And he predicted Gordon Brown would take a leaf out of their books by overcoming his troubles to stage a winning general election comeback. The unlikely endorsement of two Tory icons by the Prime Minister's key ally came as he prepared for tomorrow's launch of the Government's ten-year Children's Plan. It is a key part of Mr Brown's fightback strategy after two torrid months which have left his credibility in doubt. Mr Balls's vote for Geri Halliwell, Victoria Beckham and the other Spice Girls came only days after they started their sell-out reunion tour. In September Mr Brown startled Labour MPs by inviting Lady Thatcher to tea in Number 10 in what critics said was an attempt to reinvent himself as a "conviction politician". Since then a succession of disasters have seen Labour's poll advantage wiped out, leaving MPs predicting defeat for Mr Brown at the next election.
What has Lord Ashcroft for the Conservative party, property developer David Abrahams for the Labour party and convicted perjurer Michael Brown for the Liberal Democrat party got in common? The answer is large discrepancies over their donations.