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This report is taken from PN Review 210, Volume 39 Number 4, March - April 2013.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
The recent release of data from the 2011 census reveals trends in Wales following those in England, though at some distance. The population has grown from 2.9 to 3.06 million in the decade since 2001, immigration accounting for 90 per cent of the increase, and the proportion of 'white' people has dropped from 98 to 96 per cent. Seventy-five per cent of the present population were born in Wales; of the remainder, twenty per cent were born in England and five per cent were born outside the United Kingdom (compared with three per cent in 2001). One set of data makes grim reading: a quarter of Welsh residents suffer from 'life-limiting' illnesses; the counties/county boroughs (or unitary authorities, as they are formally termed) of Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil and Neath-Port Talbot, together a substantial part of the old industrial heart of south Wales, have the highest proportion of chronically sick in England and Wales. With the social needs come economic imperatives (for instance, there are more carers in Wales than in any English region), which continue to be largely ignored by a UK government with its mind on other matters.

While we digest what these sad statistics mean in terms of human pain and the depression of expectation and opportunity, it may be instructive to consider how we have arrived at the present administrative system, with unitary authorities bearing names, such as Blaenau Gwent, which are unlikely to mean much beyond Offa's Dyke, and even here mean little outside ...


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