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I am afraid that I do not have much time; I have already taken two interventions.
In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a period of stagnation in my constituency. The gross value added, or the gross domestic product, was among the worst in the United Kingdom. The historical scar is there and people are finding it difficult. Between 1997 and 2007, the number of jobs increased by some 7,000 and many skills were brought back to the area through various schemes. There was a partnership between Government, the public sector, the private sector and the voluntary sector, all working together to help people. That is the way forward.
I accept that unemployment went up in 2007, but it started to come down in 2010, which is important. When this Government took office, growth was increasing and unemployment was coming down. The trend has now been reversed and we are back to what it was like in the 1980s, and once again we are facing mass unemployment. Some 2.64 million people are unemployed, which is a disgrace for any Government. This Government should apologise for the fact that their policies are not working.
The Welsh Assembly Government are introducing additional projects to help the unemployed. Austerity alone will not create jobs; it is getting people skilled up and giving them the necessary experience, growing the economy, and bringing down unemployment that will put increase the GDP and the GVA of every part of the United Kingdom. Wales has been hammered by unemployment. We need to move forward. Today is a bad day for unemployment and a bad day for this Government’s record.