Only Growth Can Stop Standards of Education, Health and Civil Life from Falling; Western Mail

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 29, 2011 | Go to article overview

Only Growth Can Stop Standards of Education, Health and Civil Life from Falling; Western Mail


* HE recession, the acidic anxiety which has seeped through the economy and the lack of growth have brought uncertainty and austerity to homes across the country.

In Wales' poorest communities, the downturn has intensified poverty and hardship and thwarted efforts to bring a new measure of hope and prosperity to 21st century Wales.

Nearly all (95%) of areas in Wales have experienced an increase in people claiming income-related benefits since 2008.

The evidence of economic woes is coupled to signs of deteriorating levels of health and worsening educational performance.

An analysis of indicators used to build the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation shows that the percentage of the population who have been convicted of a crime has increased in more than half of the nation's Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs). Many areas have seen a rise in burglary rates.

The downturn is not only having a negative impact on the lives of families today; the seeds of future distress have also been sown.

The educational performance of Year 6 pupils has fallen in 45% of areas across Wales.

There are also concerns about babies being born underweight. Research by Public Health Wales has shown people from affluent areas generally enjoy 19 more years of healthy living than those in deprived areas.

The evidence suggests that in Wales the wealthier are likely to be healthier while the erosion of economic prosperity results in the poorest people leading even tougher lives. …

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