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Public Expenditure Reductions

Volume 515: debated on Wednesday 8 September 2010

7. What recent discussions she has had with the First Minister on the effect on levels of employment in Wales of proposed reductions in public expenditure. (13139)

My right hon. Friend has regular discussions with the First Minister on a range of topics, including the reductions in public spending necessary to tackle the deficit.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his interesting and brief response. Will he actually answer the question more fully by commenting on the fact that the latest employment outlook survey says that employers in Wales expect to decrease staffing levels in the next few months by 8%, and that the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales has said that

“it’s not surprising that small firms might be planning staff reductions”,

and that is due to major public service cuts? Will he for once speak up for Wales and accept responsibility for the situation that his Government are creating for communities in Wales?

I am glad to see that the hon. Lady recognises the appalling financial legacy of her Government. Under the last Government, unemployment in Wales increased by 60%, from more than 82,000 to 130,000 in the last 10 years. We can restore the Welsh economy and return life to it only by allowing the private sector to grow. On that basis, we have introduced measures, such as the national insurance holiday, that will stimulate significantly the private sector in Wales. Wales cannot rely on the public sector alone.