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MPs launch inquiry to examine population change in Wales

27 Jul 2023 2 minute read
Wales has a larger proportion of older people than elsewhere in the UK.

The Welsh Affairs Committee has today launched a new inquiry looking at population change in Wales with a particular focus on why younger people are leaving, especially in the Welsh-speaking heartlands.

Wales has a larger proportion of older people than elsewhere in the UK – it is higher than all English regions apart from the South West.

The number of 15- to 64-year-olds living in Wales has also fallen by 2.5% between 2011 and 2021.

This is part of a bigger picture that indicates population growth in Wales appears to be slowing.

Between 2001 and 2011, the population in Wales grew by 5.5%, but between 2011 and 2021, this reduced to 1.4%.

Some areas are seeing higher growth rates than elsewhere, with Newport, Cardiff and Bridgend all recording significant rises in population.

However, some local authorities are recording lower populations in 2021 compared to 2011 such as Blaenau Gwent.

Of particular concern is the decline in the Welsh speaking heartlands such as Ceredigion and Gwynedd.

The Committee is seeking to understand the reasons for population change in Wales and its impacts.

It will also examine what measures could be put in place by the UK Government to meet the potential challenges posed.

Spotlight

Welsh Affairs Committee Chairman, Stephen Crabb, said:  “The population of Wales is changing. Growth is slowing overall, while some areas such as Ceredigion are seeing an outright decline in residents.

“The population is getting older across the whole of Wales, and Cardiff, Newport and Bridgend are the only places that have experienced an increase in the number of working age people.

“Our Committee wants to shine a spotlight on these trends and ask what they mean for Wales.

“We are especially keen to understand why younger people appear to be leaving Wales – particularly in areas that are Welsh speaking.

“We will specifically be looking at the impact these trends have on the Welsh economy and labour market, and the implications for public services.”

The Committee is inviting written submissions on the changes by Friday 22 September.


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Cilmeri
Cilmeri
8 months ago

Will they be studying the impact that English retirees are having on the health system? particularly in rural Wales. When I visit my local GP practise it always appears to be full of English retirees. Should they be paying for their medical prescriptions? They haven’t contributed to the Welsh economy.

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
8 months ago
Reply to  Cilmeri

Those English retirees may well have Welsh forebears after all Williams, Jones and Thomas all feature in the 10 most common surnames in England.

Annibendod
Annibendod
8 months ago
Reply to  Cilmeri

Just as many Welsh retirees in England. You’re fighting the wrong battle. The problem is the asymmetric economy of the UK which causes the agglomeration of younger and more qualified workers around particular wealth centres, most notably and significantly: London. A whole different model of govt expenditure is necessary in order to fix this problem. However, given that the current model upholds the hegemonic electoral arrangement of the primary Westminster parties, I wouldn’t hold my breath. The only alternative short of a miracle leading to independence, is for Wales’ communities to figure out ways of “getting rich” without external help.… Read more »

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
8 months ago

Many young people are leaving parts of Wales because of lack of affordable housing, lack of well paid jobs, lack of opportunities. The solution is investment in their futures and a change of direction in policy at both national and local government levels. For example, in housing: on the north coast, where I live, new build houses are going up all over the place. However, they are not being built for our youngsters, but to be sold to the highest bidder (the so-called ‘affordable housing’ is hardly affordable either!). I would also add that any flats or housing that are… Read more »

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
8 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

You’ve hit the problem squarely on the head. These issues are a result of long term neglect. Low investment in our communities leads to our young leaving for better opportunities elsewhere. The way to stop it – independence. If we stay in the union that neglect and decay will just continue, Currently, on its own the Welsh government just doesn’t have the power or the financial means to address the issue. Time for change.

Last edited 8 months ago by Steve A Duggan
NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
8 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

You say lack of affordable housing is one of the main issues- i do not agree as when they move away they are hardly moving to areas that have cheaper housing? The whole of the UKs housing is very expensive and probably cheaper in Wales especially the Welsh heartlands. This arguement is continually put forward by Nationalists who blame the English who move into Wales and allegedly push prices up. Its very easy to blame outsiders however this is not the reason so many are leaving and The Welsh Govt and Plaid need to wake up and deal with the… Read more »

Annibendod
Annibendod
8 months ago

You cannot deny that increasing demand pressure drives up prices which puts housing beyond the means of people who live in areas with lower levels of economic productivity. With little political recourse to develop the requisite economic opportunities, young Cymry do indeed go elsewhere to find said chances in life. You however are approaching this argument from your own chosen “anti-nationalist” stance rather than dealing with the matter as it stands or treating the legitimate concerns of cymunedau Cymreig with the respect they deserve.

Bachgen o Lerpwl
8 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Who is the biggest employer in Wales. DVLC by any chance. Certainly not the Royal Mint or HMSC.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
8 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Yes that is right however what you do not consider is that if the areas with lower levels of economic activity are developed so there are better economic opportunities and wages are high this will increase demand for housing which under the law of supply and demand means higher prices plus will attract yet more outsiders to the area due to the good jobs. When i read proposals from Cymdeithas re property acts etc it is clear they want to control who can or cannot live in parts of Wales however this is hardly conducive to being able to develop… Read more »

Cilmeri
Cilmeri
8 months ago

Social Housing – particularly in rural Wales is a massive problem re: socio – economic problems. Many of those housed are English – moved into communities from urban areas where they have no roots, are often unemployable, have serious problems health problems and become a burden on the local communities leading to added strain on resources be that education, community cohesiveness, medical. They are also undermining the linguistic future of our communities. This is a massive problem

Dave
Dave
8 months ago

lol

Last edited 8 months ago by Dave
George Thomas
George Thomas
8 months ago

-UK government under-investing in Wales (hello HS2 funding) so things slowly get ground down. Managed decline due to continuous reduction in money? -Majority of jobs available are quite low paying so housing naturally taken by retirees -A bad reputation that is hard to shake in terms of old fashioned services which puts experts off coming here -Small communities which means a lot of nepotism which means wrong people being promoted to manager roles and ensuring bad culture -Lack of determination in schools with too many treating it as joke rather than literally live saving -Bad health (20% of Wales still… Read more »

TCup
TCup
8 months ago

Where I live it definitely has become a place for English retirees, locals want to stay but can’t afford to. It feels like i live in a suburb of Surrey, I live in Wales but miss Wales. The new residents don’t favour spending on the local high street and as a result local independent businesses are suffering.

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