Swansea West has the highest unemployment rate in Wales – over double the national average according to new figures.
Figures from the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) research department show that Swansea West had an unemployment rate of 8.3% compared to the Welsh national average of 3.8% and the UK average of 4.5%.
Swansea West covers areas more typically associated with an affluent part of the city including Sketty, Killay and Dunvant, however it also covers more deprived parts of the city including Townhill, and Castle ward – which covers large parts of the city centre.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats said the figures show that the Welsh Government are failing to create long-term jobs in the region and are calling for urgent investment to create new jobs.
Commenting on the figures Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “These figures are absolutely shocking, there is no justification that allows for unemployment in Swansea West to be this high. The city has a strong history of entrepreneurship and innovation, but we need the Welsh Government to increase investment to provide more opportunities to people.
“Swansea West already has a child poverty rate of 32 per cent, the best way to reduce this poverty remains to provide good quality employment opportunities to people living in the area. The Welsh Government must urgently increase job creation schemes in the city.”
Michael O’Carroll, the spokesperson for Swansea West Liberal Democrats added: “These figures are extremely disappointing to see and the people of Swansea West deserve better. Under a Welsh Labour government in Cardiff Bay and a Welsh Labour Council administration in Swansea Guildhall, there has been insufficient focus on creating good quality jobs, especially for young people and graduates.
“We have many excellent, home-grown businesses in the area but do not do enough to attract inward investment. I am glad that the Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to press both the Welsh Government and UK Government to promote investment in the whole of Wales, not just in Cardiff.”
Leader of Labour-run Swansea Council, Cllr Rob Stewart has hit back at the claims however, pointing to the huge amount of investment currently underway in the city.
Cllr Stewart said: “Investment of over £1bn is underway in Swansea at present including £135m in the new Copr Bay Arena development which is part funded by Welsh Government through the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. The Lib Dems had opposed these job creation and investment plans and have criticised the council for borrowing to invest.
“Three new local employment and innovation hubs are planned with 2 already under construction in the city, and we have a significant development pipeline over over £2bn which is a record for Swansea. Together these schemes will create and secure thousands of local jobs. Our local economy is expected to grow at around 8% this year and we are independently rated as one of the best places in the U.K. for investment.
“This is dramatically different to the situation under the Lib Dem administration that ran Swansea from 2004-2012. They crashed parts of the city economy with the disastrous Kingsway redevelopments, outsourced Swansea jobs to Scotland and left the council with record borrowing. We will take no lessons from the Lib Dems, who lets not forget were the co-architects of the failed austerity programme which brought misery to millions when they were in Government with the Tories.”
(Lead image: iStockPhoto)
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