Admittedly the Olympic football in Cardiff is on a small scale in comparison but with visiting dignitaries and press from countries like Brasil in town should the Welsh Government be holding some sort of conference to boost cultural, diplomatic and trade ties to countries Wales has little or no current contact with?
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
While all the sound and fury of the NHS farce was playing out last week in Cardiff Bay, the latest monthly unemployment figures for the UK were released and showed increasingly worrying news for Welsh job seekers with a 2,000 increase on the quarter. The figures reinforced wider business trends over the same period pointing to a flat lining Welsh economy.
The announcement came and went with the usual pre prepared press statements about what the UK and Welsh governments are supposed to be doing to help. However amid the indifference and malaise from both Governments’, we may have seen the first small steps in what could be genuine attempts to spark the economic debate in to life via two new reports.
The first was Plaid Cymru’s blunt assessment of the state of the Welsh economy by Euryl ap Gwilm and Adam Price in a report called Offa’s Gap. As Adam said there are plenty of what’s wrong with the Welsh economy reports, but this did at least challenge the reasons for the well worn narrative of Wales’s economic decline which should over time change the debate about the problems and solutions.
At the launch the party stated “With the launch of this report we are inviting everyone in Wales to participate in this essential process of discovering together the ideas and strategies that will offer our country a better economic future. There can be no monopoly on good ideas in this regard. Indeed only by pooling our intelligence can we hope to begin the task of charting a different course.”
The second was Professor Dylan Jones Evans highlighting the USA's National Governors report on local and regional economic development. An imitative started when the Nebraska Governor challenged his fellow Governors to ‘wishing to promote entrepreneurial activity and business growth to identify the innovation and industrial assets of their region; determine the best policy strategies to take advantage of their assets and strengths; facilitate relationships between groups such research institutions, investment funds.'
It stated the 6 drivers for economic growth were entrepreneurs, high education and skills levels, innovation and new technologies, private capital, global market linkages and industry clusters. However its main finding was State/Regional Government in order to create high wage jobs should focus on businesses that are growing the fastest.
As Dylan said hardly new thinking and maybe didn’t have room in his own article to add his annual Fast Growth 50 list of the fastest growing Welsh companies, which with the right support could be just the shot in the arm the Welsh economy needs to start creating jobs, so will Edwina an her team even read the report after the City Regions Task & Finish Group seems to be the only game in town?
Offa’s Gap has already started some debate among Plaid bloggers, but will either report come to anything among the Welsh economic policymakers in charge of the Welsh economy in Cardiff and London, who knows, but it’s good at last to see the economy moving up the political agenda and some serious attempts at fresh ideas being put forward more regularly.