UK

Romania, Poland And Slovakia 'Richer' Than Some Parts Of The UK

09/04/2013 13:27 BST
Alamy

Parts of Wales and the North East of England are poorer than regions in Romania, Poland and Slovakia, according to statistics from the EU.

West Wales and the Valleys are four-and-a-half times less prosperous than central London and failed to rank favourably against other Eastern European countries, according to figures from EU’s statistical office Eurostat.

Taking 100 as average across the EU, they ranked each region and country according to the value of goods and services produced per head in 2010, with the break down of numbers revealing some surprising results.

While the Romanian region of Bucharest gained a ranking of 111, Wales as a whole only gained 81, with West Wales and the Valleys given 70. The North East of England ranked at 83, and the North West came in at 93.

The Mazowieckie region of Poland was given 102, while the Bratislavský region of Slovakia was rated 176.

The figures may be surprising as surprising growing anti-immigration rhetoric has forced political parties to try and counter perceived anxieties among the public.

Parties on the right, especially Ukip and the Conservatives, have suggested clamping down on immigration is important to prevent a "tidal wave" of foreigners from coming to the UK to abuse services and claim benefits.

However the figures show that if Romanians and Polish workers were to move within their own countries they would find themselves in regions richer than some parts of the UK.

The findings chime with a recent report in which it was suggested Bulgarians and Romanians immigrants are likely to have only a "modest" impact on public services

Research conducted by the independent National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has suggested that while the number of people from the two Eastern European countries who will move to the UK once restrictions are lifted is unpredictable, they will not put an undue strain on housing or healthcare.

Coming in the wake of Margaret Thatcher's death, social media users critical of the former PM highlighted the figures saying they show her continuing "legacy" in these areas.

However, though some parts of these former Eastern Europe communist were richer than parts of the UK, other areas were significantly poorer and perhaps unsurprisingly, inner London had the highest ranking in the EU, with a score of 328.

Bulgaria, one of the countries which some politicians have predicted will attract large numbers of migrants to the UK when border controls are relaxed, is the poorest country in the EU, according to the latest figures.

A Welsh Government source told Wales Online: “Whether in elections or opinion polls, the people of Wales overwhelmingly endorse Welsh Labour’s approach to the economy.

“The people know that, as a government, we’re doing all we can to create more jobs and boost economic growth.

“Our Business Start-up programme has helped establish over 4,980 new enterprises and created more than 10,500 jobs, with 12,000 more jobs to be created by June 2015. Our Jobs Growth Wales programme helps business grow by supporting them to take on young people and recently we announced an extra £30m to help Welsh businesses grow.