Leanne Wood has criticised the Labour Government in Wales after latest figures shows the Rhondda has the highest unemployment figures in the country.
The Rhondda AM said the unemployment rate in her constituency was an indictment on both the Tories in Westminster and Labour in Cardiff Bay.
Figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) show Rhondda has an unemployment rate of 9% - which is higher than anywhere else in Wales apart from Cardiff Central which also has an unemployment rate of 9%.
This means unemployment is more than double than the UK rate of 4.2%. Leanne said it was time for a major job creation programme for the Rhondda and other former coalfield communities left behind by successive Governments.
“The unemployment rate in the Rhondda is not acceptable,” said Ms Wood, “nor is it surprising. We have Tories in Westminster that have neglected people in the Rhondda and we have a Labour Government in Cardiff that didn’t even pay any significant attention to the Rhondda in its Valleys Taskforce.
“Both governments have failed the Rhondda.
“I’ve repeatedly asked Welsh Government ministers – including the First Minister - the question ‘What about the Rhondda?’ when it comes to economic development. The First Minister’s response was to list expenditure and initiatives earmarked for Ebbw Vale.
“People in the Rhondda have been getting a raw deal for too long. We have been neglected. We need to create jobs in significant amounts if we are to reverse the decline that set in following the deliberate dismantling of the coal industry.”
She added: “Eight years ago I wrote a policy paper called ‘A Greenprint for the Valleys’ that would, if implemented, have created jobs here in the Rhondda. I updated that last year with a new paper called ‘The Change We Need.’
“After three decades we are still waiting for that boost to our local economy. In the meantime, austerity has come along and eaten into the incomes of many families and eroded many local services.
“We need bold, ambitious policies from Government to reverse this decline.
“Judging by the actions of both the Tories in Westminster and Labour in Cardiff, we will not be seeing something like this anytime soon.”
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