Aimless Austerity Risks a Generation


Former Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain has today condemned the Tory-Lib Dem government after economic data from the Office for National Statistics indicated that real-wages have fallen for the seventh consecutive year.

His comments came after the Bank of England slashed its growth forecasts for the British economy as the debate about the health of the economy continues to rage on.

The MP for Neath said: “We’re seeing a lot of news about this being a “surprise” to some, if the Chancellor had listened to the shadow cabinet it would not be. My own research indicates that in Neath people are close to being £3,000 worse off than they were in 2008 because of the erosion of real-wages by inflation and austerity.”

He continued, “frankly I think we’re approaching a watershed in our society because the Chancellor refuses to accept his long-term economic plan is long-term economic pain to most people. A recent report released by the Children’s Society and Step Change revealed on Tuesday that there are tens of thousands of children in Welsh families trapped in the debt spiral.”

“One of my proudest achievements was to be a member of the last Labour government where we saw the number of children in poverty reduced by 800,000. The latest figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that under this government that number will have increased by 300,000 by next year.”

The report from Step Change and the Children’s Society built upon research done by the Rowntree Foundation conclusively showing that that almost one quarter of Welsh families were trapped in poverty, this estimated to effect 148,059 children in Wales.

Mr Hain said: “the writing is on the wall, the Welsh Government is fighting an uphill battle against austerity. So long as the Chancellor continues to push this austerity agenda Welsh families will suffer as we are consistently forced to bear the brunt of unfair policy, this risks the welfare of a generation of young people in Wales, it is tragic.”