‘No show’ Business Minister sending out wrong message about Welsh economy- Eluned Parrott

September 15, 2011 10:00 AM

Eluned Parrott portrait (Stephen Radford)Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Minister, has hit out against Welsh Government Business Minister, Edwina Hart, for refusing to appear to give evidence before the Welsh Affairs Select Committee inquiry into Inward Investment in Wales.

A group of MPs from the Welsh Affairs Select Committee will today come to Wales to take evidence from Assembly Members about the decline of inward investment to Wales and its affect on the Welsh economy.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and a backbench Labour Assembly Member will give evidence to the Select committee.

Eluned Parrott,Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Business Ministersaid:

"I find it utterly deplorable that the Business Minister refuses to attend to give evidence on something vitally important to the Welsh economy.  The Select Committee has travelled across Wales taking evidence and accommodating busy schedules. The list of experts who have given evidence so far is notable, from successful business leaders, renowned academics and representatives of foreign investment in Wales.

"However, the most striking absence from this list is the Business Minister herself. The Minister does have past form is refusing to attend this Select Committee, so her refusal this time must not have come as a surprise to them, even after the committee said that they would travel to Cardiff.

"I appreciate that she has only been in post for the past few months but she has been making collective decisions about the direction of our economy in the Cabinet since the Assembly was established back in 1999.

"Inward investment into Wales has declined in the past twenty years and it must be addressed. Wales' relatively poor infrastructure and relatively low skills base are a visible source of competitive disadvantage which must be overcome. As well as this, the UK and Welsh governments need to identify Wales' key selling points, and use them to improve the impression of Wales abroad, showing investors that Wales is a nation in which investment will be rewarded.

"My fear is that when the Welsh Business Minister fails to show her commitment to this important agenda, it sends out the signal that Wales is closed for business."

ENDS

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