NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ... THE GREAT DEBATE: You're Doing a Bad Job for North Wales; Survey Shows Damning Verdict on Our Assembly, but First Minister Is Still `Encouraged' by Findings

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Byline: STEVE BAGNALL and DAVID ANDREW

NORTH Wales people last night delivered a stinging rebuke to the Welsh Assembly's performance in the region.

An exclusive Daily Post survey revealed more than 70pc believed the Assembly serves South Wales better than the North. Less than a third of people questioned across the region thought life had improved since devolution.

Forty-one per cent disagreed with any assertion life had improved since devolution. And more than 33pc thought the Assembly was doing a poor job compared with almost a quarter who thought it was doing a good job.

But the poll of more than 300 people,of which only a third voted for devolution, revealed almost half now wanted to see the Assembly continue.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan last night said he was ``encouraged by the survey but not complacent.''

He said: ``We do have to face the fact of the geography of Wales with the capital in the south, mountains in the middle and communities living on the edges.

``We are gradually getting towards full employment and I know in my mind that there is a very good level of trust towards me and my ministers.

``I hope that when our office in North Wales opens in a few years we can turn the mouth-watering prospects into realities in the economy.''

Only 14 people out of a survey of 334 believed the region was better served by the Assembly than South Wales.

Almost half of those came from Flintshire which benefited from a pounds 20mhand-out to build a new Airbus plant in Broughton. Only 8.4pcof all people quizzed thought the Assembly served both regions equally.

In all six North Wales counties, more people wanted to continue with devolution -49.4pc in total, than get rid of it -33.8pc.Again the strongest support was found in Flintshire with 55.1pc.

The highest level of disillusionment was in Gwynedd where 43.9pc of people questioned said they would scrap the Assembly.

Encouragingly, young people are among the keenest supporters, with 60.4pcof 18-29 year-olds saying they want to keep the institution.

People aged 50- 59 appear to be the most disillusioned, with 57.6pc of those asked wanting it scrapped compared to 35.6pcin favour.

There was a mixed response to the question of whether living in Wales has improved since devolution.

Again young adults aged 22-29 were among the most positive with more than 42pc of those asked agreeing it has improved.

The most disgruntled were again those aged 50-59 and 60-69 with 42.4pcand 34.6pc of those asked disagreeing respectively.

Nobody in Wrexham we spoke to thought the Assembly was doing a very good job. This contrasted with Conwy where 10pc of those asked thought this to be the case. The majority of people thought it was doing an average job -26.9pc.

Assembly leaders were encouraged after it emerged many North Walians feel an affinity with Cardiff. …