Wales

Economy in parts of Wales falls further behind despite EU aid

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Media captionPolitical reporter Daniel Davies reports

The economy of west Wales and the south Wales valleys has fallen further behind the European average, new figures suggest.

Latest figures show GDP per capita was 64% per head of the EU average in these areas in 2011, down from 65% in 2010.

Over £4bn of EU funding has gone to to help build the Welsh economy since 2000.

A Welsh government spokesman said the figures were three years old and did not reflect economic improvements.

The GDP figure for the whole of Wales fell from 75% to 74% - the lowest of the UK's nations and regions.

"Wales is now outperforming the UK average in many key economic measures," the Welsh government spokesman added.

'Going backwards'

"The most recent regional employment figures show a fall in claimant count in all Welsh regions over the past 12 months and Welsh employment is near a record high."

He said youth unemployment was also below the UK average, with a 22.5% reduction in the number of 16-17 year olds without work in Wales over the past 12 months.

"Inward investment to Wales increased by 191% last year, compared to a 10% rise in England," the spokesman added.

"These figures are clear evidence that our policies to create jobs and growth are working."

But Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said: "These funds should see the position of the valleys improve. Instead, we are going backwards.

"Serious questions must be answered as to why the allocation of structural funds and other anti-poverty measures have not led to the economic growth that was predicted."

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