NEWPORT suffered the most private sector job losses of any city in the UK in percentage terms between 2011 and 2012, with 3,400 positions lost.
Over that period, Newport lost 6.5 per cent of its private sector jobs.
The shocking statistics are revealed in a report from think tank Centre for Cities, analysing the most recent government data about the 64 largest UK cities.
It also outlines how Newport had the eighth highest percentage of the population receiving Jobseekers’ Allowance in November 2013.
Newport also had the eighth largest reported life satisfaction decrease from 2011 to 2013 according to data from the ONS.
In March 2011, Yell closed its Newport call centre at the cost of 40 jobs, followed by defence firm Cassidian shedding 157 jobs in July 2011. Carpetrite closed its Newport store that year and TJ Hughes went into administration, resulting in the closure of its Newport branch.
In 2012, Duffryn-based Panasonic outsourced 164 jobs to Vietnam.
The public sector has also been hit, with the Passport Office downsizing in April last year. The statistics show 48,000 people were employed in the private sector in Newport during 2012, down from 51,400 in 2011.
Paul Swinney, senior economist with Centre for Cities, said: “Given Newport’s larger reliance on public sector employment I would expect that the next couple of years will be more challenging than for some other cities.”
“In the ten years before the downturn, Newport tended to perform more poorly than Cardiff and Swansea in terms of private sector job creation. During the recession and recovery Swansea has also been hit relatively hard, so it’s more difficult to rank one above the other. Cardiff, however, has been much less impacted.”
A spokeswoman for Newport council said: “We would advise caution as the statistics refer to a time when we were still deep into the recession of 2011/12. Since that time there have been plenty of positives.
“The redeveloped Cambrian Centre will open later this year with new office space potentially bringing up to 1,200 private sector jobs and Friars Walk, the new retail scheme, is progressing well.
Jessica Morden, MP for Newport East, said: “We know how difficult it is for businesses which makes it important to protect our public services which have a knock on effect for the private sector.”
THE report also reveals that Newport had the second highest carbon emissions per person of the 64 largest UK cities in 2011, the most recent data available.
“Just seven cities had CO2 emissions per capita above the national average of 6.9 tonnes,” the report said, but Newport clocked up 10.2 tonnes per capita in 2011.
Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West, said: “The emission level is puzzling as we have lost much of the past polluting heavy industry. One possible explanation is that the motorway runs right through the heart of the city. There are areas at road junctions where high levels of pollution are recorded.”
He added that congestion in the city, especially when traffic is snarled up at the Brynglas tunnels, could be a factor.
Pippa Bartolotti, leader of the Wales Green Party, said the figures were no surprise as Newport had recorded high emissions previously.
She said: “It’s a tragedy. It’s everything: traffic is a huge amount of course, domestic heating is also a huge amount.”
Newport Council should improve public transport if it wants to see reductions in carbon emissions, she said, criticising the lack of bike racks in the city centre and the difficulties getting from one end of the city to the other by bus without having to change in the centre.
She would also like to see planning regulations tightened to ensure buildings conserve heat as efficiently as possible.
A spokeswoman for Newport City Council said: “Newport does have high CO2 emissions. However, this is in part due to the motorway running through the city and the fact there are still heavy steel industries in Newport. The need for a motorway relief road around Newport is being considered by Welsh Government.”