Priority Sectors “spreading the jam too thinly” to be effective
Recent figures have revealed that over two-thirds of all VAT/PAYE registered companies (68%) in Wales are now designated as in a Welsh Government ‘priority sector’.
Welsh Conservatives have accused the Welsh Government of “spreading the jam too thinly”, while the policy has also come under fire from business leaders in the past for including too broad a range of sectors.
The statistics show that economic productivity in priority sectors is dwarfing those outside them – with GVA per hour at £30 in priority sectors, versus £17 per hour in those sectors outside.
Meanwhile, the Financial & Professional Services sector had the highest GVA per hour (£58), with the Creative Industries ranking lowest at just £13 per hour.
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Russell George AM, said:
“With well over two thirds of all firms designated within priority sectors, it’s pretty clear that the Welsh Government is spreading the jam too thinly.
“Designating almost everything as a priority has the opposite effect, with almost nothing ending up as one.
“We have long called for a more targeted approach to economic development, and it is hugely disappointing that the Welsh Government has been so reluctant to offer Welsh SMEs the support they need to expand and grow – business rate relief.”
Mr George also called for a more rigorous model of statistical analysis, complaining that much of the data is long out of date.
“Most, but not all, of this data is long out of date which makes it very difficult to know how effective this approach has been – and almost impossible for the Welsh Government to respond to any emerging difficulties in time.
“The landscape has changed profoundly since June 23rd, never mind since 2014, and these statistics lack robust, contemporary data.
“Sadly, the Welsh Government’s priority sectors are too woolly, too broad and failing to have any beneficial impact on the Welsh economy.”