Saturday, March 12, 2011


Having just arrived back from Finland, I am finally catching up with yesterday's business news.

Of course, I am not surprised at all by the headline in the Western Mail business section regarding the Economic Renewal Programme which suggests that only 15% of businesses are positive about Economic Renewal Plan. In fact, more than 30% of businesses believe the Welsh Assembly Government’s flagship economic policy will have a ‘detrimental impact’ on the economy, a new survey suggests.

The ‘Welsh Economic Barometer’ unveiled by business services firm PwC was unveiled today at an Institute of Welsh Affairs conference held in Cardiff. The straw poll of Welsh businesses found that two thirds of businesses questioned admitted they had not read the government’s Economic Renewal.

Of the minority that had, 40.6% thought it would have no impact, while only 15.6% felt it would improve the competitiveness of the Welsh economy.

Whilst this seems of little surprise to those of us outside of WAG, it would seem that those working within the corridors of power have also extreme doubts about the direction of travel by the Department of Economy and Transport.

A couple of weeks ago, I was passed a note that had been sitting within the Western Mail offices since November. It purports to come from a group of dissatisfied (but anonymous) managers from within the Department of Trade and Economy and its contents are, frankly, dynamite.

Having read the detail over the last week, it is clear that it could only have been written by someone with an intimate knowledge of the department and I have no reason to doubt its provenance.

Next week, I will publish the details of these notes, most of which are still relevant. I am sure WAG's response will be a combination of denial and attack. Nevertheless, the analysis is detailed and is not only an indictment of the ERP and its development, but of the way that the Welsh economy has been run by Cardiff Bay for the last few years.

It shocked me and I am sure it will shock you as well.