April 2, 2009 12:00 AM

Today the Office of National Statistics released figures showing that the annual gross disposable income per person in Wales has risen by just 2.2% since 2006, a smaller rise than England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The Welsh gross disposable income was already lower than Scotland or England but now stands at £12,574 per person - £1,982 below the English and £1,013 below the Scottish. Northern Ireland, which saw the greatest increase in gross disposable income of 3% is now just £102 below the Welsh.

Commenting, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"Labour is not only failing to close the poverty gap, but they are also failing allowing regional inequality to grow, and Wales is the victim.

"It is simply shocking that the gap in disposable income across the UK is still widening. Not only is Wales falling further and further behind England and Scotland, but we will soon be overtaken by Northern Ireland too.

"We already know that Wales is one of the areas most severely hit by the recession so this situation is only likely to get worse.

"The Government needs to scrap their useless VAT cut and use the money in a forward looking economic recovery plan that will allow Wales to become a centre of entrepreneurship again."

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