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Is Wales under Labour really falling behind?

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Welsh Labour gathered in Llandudno for their Spring Conference at the weekend, and it seems that much of their time was spent complaining about the Tories attacks on how poorly Wales is doing under Labour.
First Minister Carwyn Jones and Shadow Secretary of State and Pontypridd MP Owen Smith were both indignant about these 'attacks on Wales.' Yet in fact the Conservatives are not the only ones who have been critical of Labour's mishandling of the economy, education, housing and of course health. We have been pretty scathing ourselves.
Today's Wales Online carried an article headed "Is Wales really falling behind England?" which included some interesting facts and figures - most of which are obviously being ignored by Smith and Jones.
It shows quite clearly that in many important aspects we are indeed lagging behind our colleagues across the border. Whilst it is difficult to make exact comparisons in many instances then it is difficult to argue with a statistic which says that whilst we are not quite at the bottom of the league table regarding people who have no qualifications at all then we are some way behind when it comes to the percentage of pupils gaining 5 A* to C GCSEs. Ceredigion and Flintshire are the only parts of Wales where more than 60% of pupils achieve that goal.
A to C grades
The health statistics as ever make shocking reading. As stated in the article
"On waiting times overall, though different targets are used over the border, Wales is struggling to treat people in a timely manner - in England 94.6% of people are treated in 18 weeks, in Wales 65.2%.
"The Welsh Government target is to treat 95% of people within 26 weeks, and though it performs better on this measure (86.8%) it's still some way behind England (98%)."
The difference in ambulance response times is stark, as this graph shows. RCT fares even worse than most other areas of Wales - here only 41% of emergency calls were responded to within the target time of 8 minutes in February.
ambulance times
The Wales Online article quotes Pontypridd Am Mick Antoniw as saying
"Nobody wants to get into a dry debate about figures on a page, people care about having a great local primary school for their children or an excellent GP surgery in their community."
For once something we can agree on. But instead of just coming out with bland statements why doesn't Mr Antoniw and his Government get on with the very serious business of delivering just that. Could it be that they just don't know how?



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