the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation for 2011 was published.
This is the official measure of relative deprivation for small areas in Wales and was developed as a tool to identify and understand deprivation so that funding, policy and programmes can be effectively focussed on the most disadvantaged communities.
It is an extremely useful document for both policymakers and academics – I have recently had a paper accepted for the Entrepreneurship Research Journal that uses the data to examine entrepreneurship within the deprived areas of Wales.
Yet, like all datasets, it takes time to collate, analyse and write up.
As a result, most of the indicators used tend to lag considerably. In fact, the only 2010-2011 indicator available relates to fire incidence, with the majority relating to the period 2008-2010 (full details can be found in annex A of the report).
Given this, you would have thought that Labour politicians would have been careful not to rush out any comments on the results of the index. Yet, it would seem that Wayne David, the MP for Caerphilly, has done the complete opposite.
In the Western Mail this morning, he states that he was “extremely concerned” that two areas within his constituency now rank among the most deprived parts of the country.
Worst of all, he then tries to link the WIMD results to current UK Government policy by stating “We are starting to see the impact of central (UK) Government cuts and it’s having a disproportionate effect on the poorer members of society and a number of extremely deprived pockets of Caerphilly,”
Unfortunately for Mr David, the current data has little to do with the current UK Coalition Government. However, most of it does relate directly to a period in which he served the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Wales Office between October 2008 and May 2010.
Does that demonstrate the failure of the UK Labour Government and the Labour-led Assembly Government to deal with deprivation in Wales since 1999? Perhaps the Western Mail should ask Mr David that question next time there is an article on deprivation in Wales.