Wales politics

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan calls for unity in 2012

Cheryl Gillan
Image caption Cheryl Gillan does not want the UK and Welsh governments' shared ambitions undermined

Political differences need to be put aside if fortunes in the Welsh economy are to be changed, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan has warned.

In her New Year message, she urged the UK and Welsh governments to work together in tackling unemployment.

She also said the Welsh government needs to deliver its new legislative powers to back up the £15bn budget it has been given.

Ms Gillan said the current legislative programme was "underwhelming".

"Our joint and immediate challenge in 2012 must be to tackle the scourge of unemployment," the Welsh Secretary said.

"There are signs that the employment market is stabilising but unemployment is still rising.

"Uncertainty in the global economy reinforces my belief that the interests of our country are best-served when the two governments representing Wales work together to prevent recovery at home being blown off course by events abroad.


"Improved training and education - the responsibility of the Welsh government, for example - will equip young people and job seekers with the skills they need to get into work - while the UK government's Work programme will provide tailored support for those looking for a job."

The number of jobless people in Wales has jumped by 11,000 in the last quarter, taking the unemployment rate to 9.1%.

It brings the number of those unemployed between August and October up to 133,000, 8,000 higher than the same time last year.

Ms Gillan described the last 12 months in Welsh politics as "remarkable" but said the Labour-led Welsh government can work with the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition UK government.

"Wales has two governments working in the national interest, not one," she added.

"I do not believe the political divide is so wide that we cannot share common goals - to help people who want to get ahead and who want their children to get ahead, to support those most in need, and to grow the economy so that wealth creation and prosperity spread across Wales.

"I also do not believe the interests of Wales will be fulfilled in 2012 if the UK and Welsh governments allow a war of attrition and blame to cloud judgment or undermine these shared ambitions."

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