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)
Further cuts to First Cymru bus services due to ongoing driver shortage
Bus operator First Cymru has announced another raft of cuts to their services in Swansea and Llanelli due to an ongoing shortage of drivers.
The move follows earlier cuts to services in Swansea, Carmarthen and Neath Port Talbot in September.
At the time a spokesperson for the bus company said that despite double the number of drivers it usually recruited, a backlog in applications by the DVLA and the effects of the pandemic meant that it was taking months for licences to come through.
Bus drivers are also reportedly leaving in droves for higher paying HGV jobs as the nationwide lorry driver shortage continues.
The latest round of changes sees cuts to services in Townhill, Mumbles, Blaen-y-Maes, Bonymaen and Morriston. Routes in Llanelli town centre are also affected. Some routes are also being transferred to other operators.
All the changes to First Cymru Services from 24 October
In Llanelli, the L1 and L2 services to Swiss Valley will reduce in frequency to every 2 hours
The Llanelli to Pontarddulais L3 service will now operate every 90 minutes.
Swansea to Newton service 2 will now be hourly, rather than its current 30 minute frequency. Existing hourly services 2B and 2C will allow a 20 minute frequency between Swansea and Oystermouth to be retained, although the times will change.
Townhill circular services 12 and 13 will reduce to operate every 20 minutes, with one service 13 and two service 12’s an hour. With service 11 there will be a 10 minute frequency between Penygraig Shops and Swansea City Centre.
Swansea to Pennard service 14 will no longer be operated by First Cymru. Adventure Travel, who currently operate evening and weekend services on this route will now also run weekday services on the current timetable.
Service 20 between Swansea and Derlwyn will reduce frequency to every 30 minutes. Service 20A and 21A will maintain a 20 minute service between Swansea and Killay, but the times will change.
The Swansea to Morriston Hospital service 24 which routes through Brynhyfryd and Caemawr will no longer be operated by First Cymru. Buses will instead be operated by Adventure Travel.
Service 25 from Swansea to Blaen-y-maes will reduce in frequency from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes from Mondays to Saturdays.
Timetables will change for Swansea to Tycoch services 29 and 39 as a result of interworking services.
Bonymaen and Trallwn will see changes with service 33 being reduced from every 30 minutes to hourly. Services 31 and 32 will maintain a 20 minute service between Swansea and Bonymaen / Trallwn, but the times will change.
Swansea to Morriston service 36 will reduce from every 15 to every 20 minutes from Monday to Friday.
Killay assault investigation stood down as Police find incident ‘not as reported’
South Wales Police have stood down an investigation into an alleged assault of a 15 year-old girl at Killay Shopping Precinct in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
A section outside a number of shops on Gower Road were cordoned off for much of Wednesday which investigations into the alleged assault took place.
While recognising the alarm caused by the alleged assault, South Wales Police have since released a statement saying that they are “no longer appealing for information to locate a suspect”.
“An extensive and thorough investigation has taken place into the alleged incident on Wednesday, October 13, and officers are now satisfied the incident was not as reported”, the statement added.
Detective Sergeant Meirian Evans said: “ We appreciate the alleged incident will have caused alarm within the local community, however I would like to reassure the public that reports of this nature are always taken seriously and are fully investigated.”
(Lead image: Google Maps)
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