Forget politics, let’s talk about jobs
137,000 people in Wales are out of work and everyone agrees that the situation is going to get worse. Latest statistics reveal that in Wales, there are 4.8 Job Seekers Allowance claimants for every vacancy advertised on the Job Centre system. In the Rhondda the situation is far bleaker. Here we have 17,700 people out of work and seeking employment, and an average of 8.9 claimants per vacancy, most of them women.
I decided to explore the sorts of vacancies that are available. A search on the Job Centre Plus website today, of all jobs in a 5 mile radius of Ystrad, revealed on first glance 54 vacancies. Closer inspection, however, reveals that not all is as it seems. Of these 54 vacancies, only 12 of them were in RCT, and only 7 in The Rhondda, 5 are in Aberdare. Anyone with a basic grasp of the local geography will know that Aberdare is not within 5 miles of Ystrad, unless you can fly directly there perhaps! Of the jobs offered in Aberdare, one was for 4.5 hours a fortnight, at £7.30 per hour, a useful job for someone in Aberdare who is already working and who needs to get more hours, but not viable for someone who has to travel from Ystrad to work.
Of the jobs available in the Rhondda, none of them pay over £8.50 per hour, and two require a CRB check that the applicant is required to pay for, one is temporary for just 4 weeks. Clearly, job seekers in the Rhondda are at a huge disadvantage in both the number of vacancies, and the potential these jobs have for lifting them out of poverty.
The local council, traditionally the biggest employer in RCT, offers no better hope. Currently there are 5 jobs advertised on their website, and one of those is for casual work, not really a viable option for, say, someone with childcare responsibilities – the work might be flexible, but it is pretty much impossible to find flexible childcare.
Out of 54 advertised vacancies brought up in the search, the rest were ‘Regional’ vacancies. A random check through some of these revealed jobs in Yorkshire, London and Shropshire, hardly within a 5 mile radius of the Rhondda! Are people from the Rhondda really expected to apply for these jobs? Applying for, and getting these jobs would simply deprive people in those areas of the scant opportunities that are available to them.
It would seem obvious, that despite the drive to ‘get people into work’, the simple fact is that there is a massive lack of work for people to ‘get into’
Plaid Cymru will not sit on our hands and let the Conservative and Lib Dem cuts take their toll in Wales in the worst possible way. It’s time to put Wales first.
This is why Plaid is campaigning to see the Labour Welsh government prioritising jobs and helping our local businesses in these tough times by Investing in building projects which will help our construction industry and giving greater help to our small, local businesses.
We believe that despite the cuts, more can be done to protect jobs and communities. Plaid has a plan that really could make a difference to you, your family and your community. We would urge you to join us in saying that now is the time to make protecting jobs an absolute priority. Like you, we want a better future for Wales.
Please see this attached leaflet and share with your friends and family