Industrial Wales 'behind' in British economic recovery

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Media captionFlintshire is bucking the trend in Wales

Former industrial areas of Wales have been left behind by some parts of Britain in the economic recovery, a new report shows.

Employment in London and England's south east rose by 6.7% between 2009 and 2013, while it increased by 1.5% on average in industrial Wales.

The rise exceeded the 0.9% fall in jobs across older industrial Britain.

Earnings in ex-industrial areas of Wales remained 8% lower than the British average last year.

Professor Steve Fothergill, director of the Industrial Communities Alliance (ICA), which compiled the report, said: "Many people have suspected that the recovery is primarily a 'London & the South East' phenomenon.

"The new report is the first to confirm that this is indeed the case."

ICA featured Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Carmarthenshire, Flintshire, Merthyr Tydfil and Neath Port Talbot among Britain's lagging older industrial areas.

Long-established divides

The wider group - which represents 18m, or 30%, of the working British population - also included Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Torfaen and Wrexham.

"Long-established divides in economic well-being are widening still further," Professor Fothergill said.

Of the Welsh areas, Newport and Bridgend had the worst proportionate decline in employed jobs between 2009 and 2013, each with a drop of 4%.

By contrast, Torfaen enjoyed an increase of 6% - or 2,300 jobs - with Flintshire boosted by a 5% uplift of 3,500 extra employed positions.

Across all of older industrial Wales there was a total of 10,500 extra jobs created between 2009 and 2013.

ICA found that employment in defence and public administration in Wales fell by 3,100, or 5.6%, between 2010 and 2013.

But this was lower than London and the south east, which saw a 13.4% drop in these sectors. It was also a smaller decrease than the 13% British average.

The average weekly earnings in Wales in 2014 were £479 - 8% lower than that across Britain, the ICA study said.

That was versus £595 in London and the south east, which was 14% above the British average.

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