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Reckless Government Must Clarify that Wales is Still Open for Business

October 13, 2009 4:01 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling upon the Welsh Assembly Government to urgently clarify its position on inward investment, following a week of conflicting and confusing messages from Senior Government ministers to the business sector.

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: "In a highly competitive global market Wales cannot afford to send mixed messages to investors. To announce there will be no more grants for inward investors is reckless in the extreme. There may well be no more grants, or far less but it' s not a message we should be screaming from the rooftops.

If the alternative 'offer 'was in place the skills, the low-carbon energy and the transport infrastructure, then a mid-recession change of course would have merit. The sad reality is Wales'offer is not in place and the Deputy First Minister wants 6 months to 'bring about change'. The Minister says he wasn't focused on the economy in his first year in post and perhaps if he had been, we wouldn't be fixing the roof, in the middle of a storm."

"Yesterday, the Minister for Economy and Transport signalled an end to grant incentives for investors and a new focus on skills. But Last week Government slashed the post-16 education budget by 5%, cut £7m from business start-up funding, and slashed infrastructure budgets. Tomorrow Rhodri Morgan will speaks to UK investors and is billed as outlining the incentives on offer in Wales. These conflicting messages will leave potential investors with little confidence that Welsh Government has a clear strategy. When confidence is low, clarity is vital. "

Notes * Ieuan Wyn jones, Deputy First Minister (& for Economy and Transport) quoted from Western Mail leader and P5 12/10/09. " ..this is just one way in which we can bring about change. I think it needs to be deeper and more fundamental even than even this. That will be my priority over the next six months - making sure that we are fit for challenges we face in changing the economic fortunes of our country. " " I have been in this role now for 27 months. Much of the first year was spent on looking at the transport element of the department … We were then hit by recession … " * Rhodri Morgan is due to speak in the ' Invest UK ' virtual conference, 13/10/09: http://investuk.propertyweek.com/programme/ 12.30 Spotlight on Wales Rhodri Morgan, First Minister of the National Assembly of Wales speaks on the opportunities and benefits of relocating and investing in Wales. Hear about the initiatives in place to encourage inward investment and the impressive work already taking place. Understand what incentives are being offered to businesses looking towards this region and the commercial opportunities they present. An opportunity to discover the huge and competitive offering that Wales provides for business. Rhodri Morgan, first minister of the National Assembly of Wales