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Welsh Liberal Democrats


Kirsty Williams: Deputy First Minister is wrong to celebrate 'more broadly based' Welsh recession.

June 10, 2009 11:02 AM

Kirsty Williams , the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has slammed Plaid Cymru Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones, for describing the spread of recession to all sectors of the Welsh economy as 'not as bad as it was' when just construction and manufacturing were affected. When asked during June 3rd's Ministerial Questions by Jenny Randerson, shadow Economic Development Minister: "What is your latest analysis of the areas and the types of businesses that are being worst hit by the recession?" The Minister for Economy and Transport, Ieuan Wyn Jones, replied "On the sectors worst hit, it is a changing picture. The original impact was clearly felt in construction in particular, and sectors of the manufacturing sector. We are now seeing in some of the latest figures that it is more broadly based, which in a sense is bad news for those affected but it actually means that the impact on Wales is not as bad as it was in the first months because of that." (Record of proceedings, Plenary, Weds. June 3rd Page 35) Kirsty Williams said: "Ieuan Wyn Jones seems to be saying that it's ok that Wales is now falling further into a broad recession - because a few months ago Wales stood out in the U.K. when our key industries were hit hard. But a broad recession means every sector is affected - it means jobs are being lost in call centres, creative industries, public services and beyond. This is certainly not a good thing - it's ugly and for those losing jobs it's truly terrible. If Ieuan Wyn Jones is happy that Welsh jobs are being lost at the same speed as the rest of the U.K. then he needs a reality check. Every job lost in Wales, in any sector, just ensures Welsh unemployment remains higher than the U.K. average. He says that 'in a sense' broad recession is bad news for those affected - I disagree, it's absolutely, certainly and only bad news." Williams, who has recently raised her concerns at the effectiveness of Ieuan Wyn Jones' management of the department for Economy and Transport, believes it is no time for an economic amateur to preside over the Welsh Economy, saying: "I call on Ieuan Wyn Jones to apologise immediately to those who have lost jobs, in any sector and to seriously consider whether he should continue as Minister for this crucial department at this critical time. This is no time for amateurs - a Minister who makes light of a worsening recession is a Minister out of touch with the economic and human reality playing out across Wales. The first step towards recovery is recognising the reality we face, if Ministers can't do that, then we can't even begin to rebuild a more resilient, sustainable Welsh economy."