Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Amazing timing...

Yet further good news for jobs in the Welsh economy today, although firms are still shedding jobs in the manufacturing sector in those areas that can least afford it.

However, the timing seems a little bit too perfect and I cannot help but feel nothing but cynicism at the way these job announcements are all coming the week before the election campaign starts. It will certainly further erode people's confidence in the way politicians manipulate the news for their own ends.

That may sound naive from an apprentice politician but it is exactly the type of comment I am finding from people on the doorsteps of Aberconwy.

Yet again we see a clear example of the growing politicisation of the civil service in Wales. I doubt if we will ever find out whether officials have been told by the Minister to ensure these announcements are to be made this week but the coincidence is amazing.

Also, it is interesting how the Minister’s city of Swansea is the beneficiary, given that there are many poorer areas such as the Gwent Valleys that could have benefited from such an investment (or is that being too cynical even for me?)

Perhaps Labour should learn from the Conservative Party on this one. The LG announcement in 1996 which promised 6,000 jobs did not help our election chances at all in the following year, mainly because the tide has turned against our party.

The same is now true of Labour - their time is past - and they can get the officials to manipulate job announcements as much as they like. It will not help them one bit in May of this year.

2 comments:

Martin Eaglestone said...

It must be really bad if good jobs news hurts this much. Just enjoy the fact Wales has got this announcement. I don't suppose the Tory/Plaid coalition would tell them to go away because they are in the wrong part of Wales.

Dylan Jones-Evans said...

Martin,

I think the recent publicity may have gone to your head!
When you want a grown up debate about economic development, we can do so after May in the chamber.
In the meantime, ask your mate Andrew Davies - who seems to push himself forward for any job announcement - why he wasn't available for the press over the last couple of days when Burberry closed (300 Jobs), Solectron announced a closure (150 jobs) Visteon announced job cuts (175 jobs) and Aeron Valley dairy finally shut its doors (44 jobs).
This is on top of the 5,000 other well paid manufacturing jobs lost under your party's control of the economy since last April.
Any businessperson worth their salt will tell you that is takes ten times the effort to attract a new customer as to keep an old one.
As for your other point - the whole raison d'etre about Government intervening in supporting inward investment is to create jobs where they are needed the most.
If you are giving these companies vast amounts of public funding, then it is only right that they are guided towards locating near areas of the highest deprivation.
The Gwent Valleys has seen the largest drop in relative prosperity since 1997 whereas Swansea has grown in relative prosperity and, indeed, would not qualify for European funding if it was not part of West Wales and the Valleys. The fact that the Minister has been guiding major projects to the city has not been unnoiced by many outside of Swansea.
It also doesn't take too much common sense to realise that Amazon could have been located on a site far closer to the M4 in east Wales or on the heads of the valleys road which is far closer to the major UK distribution networks than this site in Swansea. This could have really helped an area such as Blaeanu gwent or Merthyr which desperately needs new jobs.
It's not a matter of telling them to go away, as you well know, but of ensuring that locations are offered that fit in with the need for public funding intervention.
Perhaps you can also let me know why, since 2003, employment in Wales has gone up by 39,000 but those unemployed/economically inactive has also gone up by 29,000. Doesn't really make sense does it unless most of the jobs are being taken up by people moving into Wales to take up these jobs, as I suspect will happen with the recent jobs announcements. This approach is having no effect whatsover on the 424,000 economically inactive adults in Wales and the 74,000 unemployed (a figure which is up by 21.3% since 2003).