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Entries in Wales (5)


Is Wales really falling behind England?

“A failing airport nationalised, school league tables abandoned to trade union barons who don’t want a light shone on their own under-performance, and a health service where party apparatchiks put dogma before patient safety.

This is what 15 years of Labour misrule has brought to Wales.

A land of free bus passes and prescriptions where a determination to put “clear red water” between Wales and Westminster has seen a wrong-headed rejection of ideas that might have worked here, simply because they have also been deployed over the border.

At least, that’s how London’s Tory-supporting newspapers like the Daily Mail, The Sun and the The Times, are now selling Wales to the world, with just a year or so to go to a general election.

But how much is crude politicking and how much legitimate scrutiny of important failings?” (WalesOnline 31 March 2014 - See the full comparison here )

Pisa ranks Wales’ education the worst in the UK

Wales has fallen behind the rest of the UK (BBC) significantly in reading, maths and science for the third time, an international study has shown. (PISA OECD 2012)

The tests in science, maths, and reading were taken by 500,000 15-year-olds in 68 countries.

In Wales, there were lower results on average in the three subjects than in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Scotland leads the way in the UK in maths and reading, while England is ahead in science.

  • In maths, Wales fell three places to 43rd of the 65 countries
  • In reading, the nation is now ranked at 41 down from 38
  • The biggest fall came in science where Wales dropped six places to joint 36th

Welsh Household Income Falls, Food Bank Use Increases

The BBC reports

Household incomes in Wales fell by an average of £80 per month in one year, official figures have shown.

Office of National Statistics figures from 2009/10 to 2010/11 say average UK weekly income fell from £373 to £359, with average household income in Wales 12% lower than the country as a whole.

At the same time over the past year, the number given food parcels in Wales has reached a record 23,000.

A report published by The Trussell Trust shows UK food bank use increasing. 

Trussell Trust figures released this week show that foodbanks fed 128,697 people nationwide in the last financial year, compared to 61,468 in 2010-11: an increase of 109%. Many of those helped were families struggling as a result of rising food and fuel prices combined with static incomes, high unemployment and changes to benefits. 45,898 children have been fed in the last 12 months

Fuel Poverty:

In addition the ONS “Measuring National Well-being - Personal Finance, 2012“ report states:

In the UK in 2010, 4.8 million households (approximately 19 per cent of all UK households) were in fuel poverty, a fall of 0.7 million since 2009 


Interactive map of Food Banks in the UK:

View The Trussell Trust foodbank Network in a larger map


Ecodesign Centre (EDC) Recruiting

The Ecodesign Centre are recruiting a policy-focused research assistant to work on ecodesign projects - - view job description 

Research Assistant

Post No: CT7541
Closing Date: 21st August 2012
Salary: £22,475 - £26,779 pa
Hours: 37 hours per week
Tenure: Fixed Term until 30th August 2013
Department: Ecodesign Centre (EDC), Cardiff Business Technology Centre


Guardian: Sustainable development flourishing in Wales's green economy

Wales is fast becoming Europe’s testbed for sustainable development and what the UN would call “the green economy”.

Not only does it have three of Europe’s pioneering solar cell makers –Sharps in WrexhamG24 in Cardiff and Dyesol at Shotton – it aims to be totally self-sufficient in renewable energy, it’s the only country in the UK to introduce statutory recycling and waste targets, it has put a tax on plastic bags, it has the impressive Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth turning out a new generation of clean energy engineers, and its local authorities are investing heavily in renewables.

Moreover, it is one only three nations in the world to have sustainable development enshrined in its constitution, and later this year, it hopes to underline its growing divergence from Westminster by passing one of the world’s first laws to force all government spending to take into account environment and social needs.


Read the complete Guardian piece here