The latest release from the 2011 census findings covers those with more than one address.The Office for National Statistics has conveniently broken down the findings into seven Tables covering the different categories. So here they are, each with a brief comment. (Click on Tables to enlarge.)
Although I’m concentrating on the Welsh figures you will find it rewarding to make comparisons with the figures for the English local authorities. Particularly those that show up the relative poverty of Wales; for example, the ownership of foreign holiday accommodation. The Tables below can be found on the Office for National Statistics website, along with lots of other interesting information, and by clicking on an area you will get the exact figure.
The figures quoted by the ONS are “per 1,000 of the LA’s usual residents”. Clear?
These first two Tables are worth taking together. The first shows those living in a local authority (LA) area with a permanent address elsewhere. For Gwynedd the figure is 99. For Merthyr the figure is 16.
Students will account for some of this number, as will those working in these areas temporarily; maybe also other categories, such as those who have been placed in care homes but retain an address somewhere else. Three things worth remembering in relation to these figures: military personnel will not affect the Welsh figures;the areas of Wales with the highest findings did not have major construction projects in February 2011; tourism jobs will have had very little influence on a census taken in February.
This second Table is the one that I know many readers will be interested in, as it shows the percentages of holiday homes. Predictably, the problem is most pronounced along the western seaboard, with Gwynedd the worst affected with a rating of 64. The figures for Merthyr and Caerffili are both zero!
Obviously, there are few holiday homes in the Valleys, but as the population runs down and the region is tarted up holiday homes will appear. Particularly along the Heads of the Valleys, already attractive due to the close proximity of the Brecon Beacons, and house prices being very low. The dualling of the A465 will bring this sub-region within two hours driving time of most English conurbations.
This third Table links to some extent with Table 1, seeing as it shows those with a working address in one LA area and a home address in another. Though I suppose it also shows up again the ‘managed decline’ of the Valleys.
When we look at Powys and the west coast, this seems to suggest that when the census ‘snapshot’ was taken in February last year there were quite a few working in these areas, presumably temporarily, but living elsewhere. Most, one can safely assume, in England; which seems to be another example of locals losing out in employment. The figure for Pembrokeshire was 7, Neath Port Talbot 1.
The major influence on this Table is students. For the LA with the highest percentage having an address elsewhere is Ceredigion, influenced by the universities at Aberystwyth and Lampeter. Gwynedd also shows a high figure, in the same bracket as Cardiff, with Swansea in the next lower bracket. That Rhondda Cynon Taf shows up is due to the University of Glamorgan (or whatever it’s now called) in Pontypridd. Comparative figures: Ceredigion 107, Swansea 47, Torfaen 12.
The high percentage of students in the population of Ceredigion is a reminder of how the student vote can – and has – influenced elections in this constituency. And is surely an argument for students to vote only where they live permanently.
Table 5 is another that doesn’t immediately set the pulses racing, but is nevertheless interesting. It shows those with a second address used for work. Predictably, the urban areas have the lower ratings, with the rural areas higher. Gwynedd again tops the Welsh chart but the figures are low. For example Gwynedd is 7 and Bridgend 4. In the case of Gwynedd, I can only attribute this to people living in Gwynedd having business premises or offices outside the county; in Llandudno, Newtown, Wrecsam, Aberystwyth and other places. I know people myself who fall into this category.
Returning to holiday homes . . . this next Table tells us where those people live who own holiday accommodation elsewhere in Englandandwales. It will be noted that Ynys Môn, Pembrokeshire and Swansea come bottom of the Welsh listings, which would normally be taken as an indication of poverty. But Rhondda Cynon Taf has a higher rating than Wrecsam or Newport, so what’s going on here? In fact, RCT scores 5 while Monmouthshire scores only 4!
My interpretation . . . many Jacks have a chalet or caravan on Gower – in Swansea, the same might apply to a lesser degree in Pembs and YM; as for RCT, the call of the sea still draws Valleys’ people to Trecco Bay and similar locations even though the mines are gone.
The final Table, 7, takes us to a genuine (if unacknowledged) indicator of wealth, or otherwise, at an Englandandwales level; for this tells us where we can find those rich buggers with holiday accommodation overseas. (No, not a 20-year-old caravan in Amlwch!) In Wales the figures range from 1 (per 1,000) in Merthyr to 5 in the Vale of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. Yet no matter how wealthy we may consider the Vale and eastern Gwent, they cannot compete with those areas of England shaded dark purple. It says something that the Englandandwales mean is 4, yet only 2 out of our 22 local authorities reach that level.
And something else . . .something the ONS will not tell us, but I’d bet my house on it. If we take Powys, Ceredigion, Denbighshire, Conwy, Gwynedd and Ynys Môn, then I guarantee that very few of those living in these areas owning foreign property are Welsh.
If pressed on these figures I‘m sure most of our politicians, at all levels, would try to make a virtue of our poverty and turn the exploitation and colonisation of Wales into a parable of selfless concern for one’s neighbour, to be held up as an example to all humanity . . . Bollocks! These figures show what all the other figures show – we are being shafted! And the worst, the most damning figures, are yet to come.