‘Hard Data’ on Welsh Economy must be avaiable for policy and decision-makers
Plaid Cymru economy spokesperson Alun Ffred Jones has repeated calls for a Welsh GDP measure, as experts estimate that the UK will suffer a triple-dip in Friday’s 2012 Q4 figures.
This week’s unemployment figures showed that inactivity and jobseekers in Wales remain stubbornly high – with Wales topping inactivity figures across the UK and the number of unemployed still 50,000 higher than before the crash in 2007.
Mr Jones said that it was important for economic policy makers in Wales to have a greater understanding of the economic performance of the Welsh economy in order to make decisions to benefit the Welsh economy.
Mr Jones said:
“Friday’s figures on GDP will be used a barometer for the success or otherwise of the Westminster government on the economy, but we have no comparable figures for Wales.
“Plaid Cymru is ambitious for Wales but there is limited information available about how our economy is performing.
“We need to have that information provided accurately and promptly so that policy makers have a better idea of how to get to grips with the economy and make changes when problems arise.
“As it stands, the jigsaw puzzle of the Welsh economy is not complete meaning that estimates and guesses have to be made when hard data should be available.
“The Silk Commission made a number of recommendations that Welsh economic data was essential for forecasts and for fiscal devolution.
“We see no reason to wait and if the Office for National Statistics were to collect and publish this data on a Welsh level then it would make it possible to hold the Welsh Government to account for their performance on the economy.
“Unemployment in Wales remains stubbornly high, with 50,000 more unemployed now than five years ago before the recession.
“That is why Plaid Cymru is working hard to create more jobs and increase skills in Wales – through apprenticeship training schemes which could create up to 10,000 new training places, our ‘buy local’ procurement policy and the Build for Wales capital investment scheme.”