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Labour’s economic mission “admission of its own failures”

The Cardiff Bay Labour Government launched its vision for the Welsh economy today which amounted to “an admission of a quarter of a century of failure”, according to the Welsh Conservatives.

In a speech today, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething outlined his vision for recovery from the pandemic, saying young people do not have to “get out” of Wales to “get on”.

He has also spoken about the demographic challenges of an ageing population as the Welsh Government fears as little as 58% of the population in 2043 will be between 16 and 64 years old.

However, his message is being delivered by what many considered an anti-business government in Wales, against the backdrop of the highest business rates and lowest weekly wages in Britain as well as the UK’s lowest levels of disposable household income.

It comes after Mr Gething told the BBC that “the story of devolution [is] a picture of Wales versus the rest of the UK”, something Senedd Conservatives say ignores the economic ties between Welsh and English regions, with half of the population of Wales living within 30 miles of a porous border.

 Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Economy Minister Paul Davies MS said:

“Labour are saying all the right things, but their record shows they cannot deliver on those words.

“After running health, education, and economic development in Wales for a quarter of a century, it is refreshing to see Labour finally admit the problems they have failed to address like the brain drain that has left our businesses and public services falling behind elsewhere in the UK.

“Sadly, they still do not have a plan to stop young people leaving as we see good jobs remain concentrated in Cardiff or outside Wales altogether and road building put indefinitely on hold rather than give workers the infrastructure they need to grow the economy.

“At the same time, Mr Gething is obsessed with shoehorning Brexit into the conversation as a negative, but his government’s failure to translate its addiction to EU money into substantive and valued change demands the new approach for which people voted.

“If Labour were actually interested in creating a strong Welsh economy, the least they can do is stop obsessing about the constitution, focus on priorities by engaging in levelling up through road improvements, cut outdated business rates, and strengthen cross-border economic links.”