October 22, 2008 12:00 AM

Today, the Welsh Liberal Democrats called on the Government and Assembly to bring forward radical proposals to tackle increasing unemployment and rising fuel poverty together.

The Welsh construction industry has shed 12,000 jobs in the last year alone, more than any other part of the UK while over 250,000 Welsh households are expected to be living in fuel poverty by the end of the year.

At Welsh Questions today, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, urged the Government to create thousands of green jobs in the Welsh construction industry and cut household energy bills through an unprecedented skills retraining, home insulation and micro-renewable package.

Commenting in advance, Jenny said:

"The Government and Assembly have a golden, green opportunity to simultaneously tackle fuel poverty and rising unemployment in Wales.

"Over the last year, the Welsh economy has shed more jobs than most other areas, especially the construction industry. Meanwhile, Welsh households have seen their yearly fuel bill risen to an average £1,300 - well over double what they were in 2003.

"It is staggering that the Government hasn't yet put two and two together. Through skills retraining and increasing home insulation and micro-renewable funding, we could create thousands of new green jobs for out of work construction workers and reduce fuel bills for Welsh households.

"With the economy sliding towards recession, unemployment in Wales will only get worse, leaving more and more Welsh families struggling to make ends meet. A green revolution would kill two birds with one stone and we need it now more than ever."

During Welsh Questions, Labour's Betty Williams MP's, call for the Government to "share the joy" that the minimum wage is bringing to people in Wales, was warmly greeted by the Welsh Minister, Paul Murphy MP.

Meanwhile the Minister ignored the question from Jenny Willott MP, about how to tackle the problems facing the growing number of unemployed, poor and elderly in Wales who will not benefit from the rise in the minimum wage.

Commenting after Welsh Questions, Jenny said:

"If the Government thinks that people in Wales are really sharing in the joy of the rise in the minimum wage, they must be living on another planet.

"The Minister seems to be oblivious to the fact that 12,000 Welsh construction workers have lost their jobs over the last year and clueless about how the Government can help.

"People in Wales would expect the Government to be looking into every possible way to create new jobs, not playing party politics and ignoring suggestions from other parties when they could benefit tens of thousands of people across the country."

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