Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Wales and the Autumn statement.

George Orborne in his Autumn Statement has seemingly declared war on public sector workers in general and on the Welsh public sector workers in particular. 
His freezing of pay packets to one per cent will hit all workers in the sector but his proposal to introduce regional wage rates  will particularly hit those in Wales. Public sector workers in the country will see their future wage packets considerably smaller  than those doing the same job on the other side of Offa's Dyke. 
The Chancellor's appeal to the unions to call off tomorrow’s strike can hardly be taken seriously after such announcements.  Proposing to cut wages is hardly likely to get public service unions in a reasonable frame of mind to negotiate a deal  over pensions. 
Why he should set about to alienate the unions without any real gain for the economy is difficult to comprehend? One can only deduce it is ideological rather than a practical economic step.
To dampens UK household expenditure and consequently growth, particularly in the retail sector at such a time makes no practical sense at all. Especially when the Chancellor was forced to concede that the UK risks falling into recession in the coming months and the economy will barely grow next year.
This freeze and the prospect of regional wages will have a disproportionate impact on Wales. A large number of workers employed in the public sector in Wales.
Wales has not done well from George Osborne’s statement. Out of the £30bn UK ‘National’ Infrastructure Plan Wales will only get £216m.   
Worryingly the changes to the growth figures in the short term show the the Government’s economic policy is just not delivering. The OBR is now predicting that Britain will expand by just 0.7% in 2012 (down from 2.5% in the March forecasts). 
With such low growth figures in Britain, it is almost inevitable that Wales will either be  or, maybe is, already in recession.  The economy in Wales has always lagged behind the rest of the UK. Last month's unemployment figures showed us as the country that topped  this miserable league in the UK
What’s to be done? Well, if the Chancellor has not seen Wales has a high priority, the Welsh Government needs too.  
The Welsh government needs to up it’s game. It needs to be far more proactive than hitherto. 
Ways have to be found to get more infrastructure development in Wales. If Merseyside can get the Chinese to invest in an Atlantic gateway and other parts of England getting Middle Eastern countries and Asia countries investing in infrastructure projects, why not Wales? Why does Wales seem to miss out on large infrastructure developments? 
Look at our record. No Severn Barrage. Not a mile of electric railway track in the country. Abysmal transport links between  north and south of the country. No decent airport. The list is endless.
C’mon Carwyn lets get a list of major projects that Wales can take to investors. Let’s not be limited by our lack of ambition. After all your manifesto was “to stand up for Wales.” Now is the time to deliver. 


  1. Good to see that you are, at last, beginning to understand the roles and responsibilities of devolution.

    If Wales wants something Wales must find a way to get it. The days of looking to England for largesse are long gone.

    Now start to work on the next problem. What makes Wales such an unattractive investment location to the rest of the world?

    Think language and think education.....

  2. Are you suggesting the Welsh language is a disincentive?

  3. Yes, it is, and especially so up here in North Wales.

    Like most, I am more than happy for us to keep the language going. But, in return for so doing, the south needs to provide us with more funds.

    If our role is to keep the language going, your role is to pay us handsomely for so doing.

    It's a fair trade.