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Voters split over whether a UK Labour government will improve the Welsh economy

02 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Photo Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Martin Shipton

Voters in Wales are fairly evenly split between those who believe the nation’s economy would improve after five years of a UK Labour government and those who disagree.

A poll carried out for Nation.Cymru by Welsh polling firm Beaufort Research showed that 47% of those interviewed are hopeful that the economy of Wales will be better off in five years’ time if Labour wins the next UK general election and forms a UK government, while 45% feel the opposite and are not hopeful of any improvement.

After years of austerity involving severe cuts to public services, many believe that an incoming Labour government should increase public spending in order to boost the economy.

But senior members of the Shadow Cabinet, including party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor, have sought to dampen expectations about public spending increases, suggesting that some desirable “Labour” policies cannot be afforded because of the economic mess they say will be left by the Tories.

Those participating in the Beaufort Research poll were told: “A UK general election is very likely to take place later this year. If Labour wins and forms a UK government, how hopeful are you that the economy of Wales will be better off in five years’ time? Those answering had five options: very hopeful, fairly hopeful, not very hopeful, not at all hopeful and don’t know.

Hopeful

Across Wales as a whole, 18% of people were very hopeful that the Welsh economy will improve after five years of a Labour government, with a further 29% being fairly hopeful that will be the case. Some 24% are not at all hopeful that the economy will improve, with a further 21% being not very hopeful. The rest didn’t know.

Men were more hopeful that the Welsh economy will improve than women. Some 21% were very hopeful that would be the outcome, with a further 31% fairly hopeful. Meanwhile 24% of men were not at all hopeful, with a further 18% not very hopeful.

Meanwhile just 15% of women were very hopeful and a further 28% fairly hopeful, with 23% being not at all hopeful and a further 24% not very hopeful.

Regional variations

There were regional variations too. Three of the five polling regions had more people hopeful than unhopeful (The Valleys – 52% hopeful, 42% not hopeful; Cardiff and South East Wales – 50% hopeful, 43% not hopeful; North Wales – 48% hopeful, 44% not hopeful; against Mid and West Wales – 43% hopeful , 49% not hopeful; and West South Wales – 41% hopeful, 51% not hopeful).

There were marked differences in response among age groups. People aged 16 to 34 were much more likely to be hopeful about the Welsh economy’s potential improvement over the five years of a Labour government (62%) than not hopeful (28%). Those aged between 35 and 64 were still more likely to be hopeful (53%) than unhopeful (37%). But people aged 55 or over were more likely to be not hopeful (61%) than hopeful (33%).

In terms of social grade, members of the more affluent ABC1 social groups were more likely (50% to 43%) than those from the less prosperous C2DE groups (44% to 46%) to be hopeful.

Welsh speakers were also more likely to be hopeful (54% to 40%) than non-Welsh speakers (44% to 47%).

Decline

Labour’s Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens, the MP for Cardiff Central, said: “The economy has been growing at the slowest rate for two centuries under the Tories, and we face the biggest decline in living standards since the Second World War.

“It should be the case that if you work hard and play by the rules, you will get on. But for millions of people that is simply not the case. People are working harder than ever for less.

“With tough rules on public spending, a genuine partnership with business and the creation of new jobs that make work pay, Labour will kick-start growth in all parts of the country.”

* Fieldwork for the online survey took place between February 26 and March 17. A total of 1,000 interviews were completed and analysed. The sample is designed to be representative of the adult population resident in Wales aged 16 and over.


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Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
7 days ago

As far we in Wales are concerned the London government are concerned its the same horse with 2 different Jockeys they will both treat Wales with contempt

Why vote
Why vote
7 days ago

Their at it again, a poll of a 1000 is supposed to represent the adult population. No it does not it represents the opinions of 1000 people. The damage to the welsh economy by a labour Westminster government cannot compare to the destruction already done and continues to be done by the senedd labour led government.

CapM
CapM
6 days ago
Reply to  Why vote

The sample is designed to be representative of the adult population resident in Wales aged 16 and over.

“Their at it again, a poll of a 1000 is supposed to represent the adult population. No it does not it represents the opinions of 1000 people. “

Someone doesn’t understand what a sample is.
Think about it. Does a doctor need to drain a patient’s body of all it’s blood to check for a medical condition.
Or can the doctor get a good idea of what ails the patient by taking a small sample of blood.

Richard E
Richard E
7 days ago

It would be churlish not to Hope any incoming Labour U.K. Gvt will not seek to do its best for Wales – equally experience and history show us a mixed picture of great plans with top down & high profile projects that leave little real long term footprints.

Glen
Glen
7 days ago

Whether Labour or Tory it doesn’t matter, the rich will just continue to get richer at the expense of the rest of us.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
7 days ago

“With tough rules on public spending, a genuine partnership with business and the creation of new jobs that make work pay, Labour will kick-start growth in all parts of the country.” Blah, blah, blah, we’ve heard it all before. For me the best hope is that Labour’s hoped for surge in Scotland will not materialise and to such an extent that it puts Starmer’s Labour in the position where it needs to form a coalition in order to form a government with any kind of majority. It would be nice if Plaid Cymru saw some sort of surge in Wales,… Read more »

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
7 days ago

Neither Rachel Reeves nor Jo Stevens, not to say the rest of the Labour Party (and not to forget the Tories) suggest they understand that our economic security requires a well-funded and pro-active public sector. Their ‘fiscal rules’ are just claptrap, spun to give the illusion of competence but in reality concealing ignorance, duplicity and their wholly political choices. Another ‘rule’ will be along shortly when this one inevitably fails. No country can prosper under neo-liberal austerity policies. But selected capital and asset owners within them can only benefit from the redistribution of national income upwards when assisted with a… Read more »

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
7 days ago

The poll could indicate that younger people think a change of government from the Tories makes them feel hopeful of a better future. In other words any party but the current one offers hope. Older people with more experience of the Labour Party when in government, on the other hand, are more sceptical of the idea that the current right wing Labour party offers any hope of a better future.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
7 days ago

Jo Stevens “the economy has grown the slowest…for two centuries” – er, since 1824??????
Aside from this interesting interpretation of economic history, the survey and results totally fail to recognise a real economic issue so far as Wales is concerned.
Economic policy is a statutory duty of the (Labour controlled) Senedd. and has been since the inception of the Assembly in 1999.
Jo Stevens can play knock about all she likes whilst displaying her limited knowledge of economics – the simple truth is that the poor state of the Welsh economy is down to her party, Convenient memory syndrome

CapM
CapM
6 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

“Economic policy is a statutory duty of the (Labour controlled) Senedd. and has been since the inception of the Assembly in 1999.”

Can you elaborate on what you mean by “Economic policy” being a “statutory duty” of the Senedd, and also how it contrasts with economic policy originating from Westminster. Diolch.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
6 days ago
Reply to  CapM

I’d be happy to write a very long note on economic policy but space precludes it. The simple answer is this. The Act that set up the (then) Assembly incorporated the 1975 Welsh Development Agency, the duty of which was clear in that Act “To re-generate the Welsh economy.” Powers to build industrial units, provide finance, business support and training and seek inward investment are therefore clear statutory powers. In addition, the Senedd has other powers that form wider economic development, planing, transport and education. Local authorities, most of which are Labour controlled, also have economic development powers, but limited.… Read more »

CapM
CapM
5 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Diolch yn fawr for that ‘in a nutshell’ explanation. Just what I was hoping for.

Jeff
Jeff
7 days ago

Tory Party greatly increased the wealth of people in the UK. Brexit was a massive success (eh? It wasn’t?)
Truss then, she….Oh, wait, she tanked the economy. OK, Johnson….no, Sunak! Sunak is the greatest ever economist that has increased the wealth of the UK.

Hang on, no, but labour, grrr.

I don’t know what will happen if labour get in but if the Cons remain then you are condemning the next decade to more stripping of UK assets for the very few rich around the world.

CapM
CapM
6 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

“I don’t know what will happen if labour get in”
I think it’s likely that metaphorically the next five years will be like receiving a kick to a testicle rather than having both of them kicked. Similar pain but less bruising being visible.

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