Monday, 1 March 2010

Is this why Economic Development is a disaster in Wales?

As the Druid wrote last week, the Welsh Assembly spends more per head on economic development than any other region in the UK - yet despite this sustained investment Wales still lags at or near the bottom of various economic indicators such as GVA, unemployment and business failures.

There is no wriggle room here - the Assembly's economic development polices are failing - and failing badly.Why should this be so? Well, policies will of necessity reflect the beliefs, value systems and experience of the politicians who formulate and vote for them. Accordingly the Druid decided to take a look at backgrounds of all 60 of our Assembly Members to see what life and work experience they had before becoming full-time politicians. Here are the results for the ruling coalition of Labour and Plaid Cymru Assembly Members:

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Of 39 Labour and Plaid Cymru AMs, only 10% of them have ever had any private sector business experience. The overwhelming majority (62%) have worked in the public sector all their lives with the remainder coming from voluntary-sector, law, religion, media and politics backgrounds. When looked at through the lens of wealth creation - a staggering 87% of the Labour / Plaid coalition have never had a wealth-creating job (the Druid is using Adam Smith's definition of 'wealth creation' whereby materials, labour, land, and technology are combined in such a way as to capture a profit, i.e. excess above the cost of production). Is it really any surprise that Economic Development polices in Wales are not working when only a very tiny fraction of the government have ever had any wealth creating experience themselves? 

Here are the breakdowns by party:


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The Lib Dems are frankly the worse of a very bad bunch - not a single Lib Dem AM has ever been anywhere near a business, comprised as they are of four ex-teachers and two ex-civil servants. But at least they are not in power - coalition partner Plaid Cymru on the other hand is almost equally bad with just one AM (Alun Ffred Jones) ever having had any wealth creating experience. As you might expect, most of the Assembly's business and wealth creating experience is concentrated in the Conservative block being populated by mostly bankers, businessmen and farmers.

Anyway, the Druid would suggest that a country, like Wales, struggling with high unemployment and a dwindling industrial- and business-base needs to have more private-sector and wealth creation experience in its national legislature. Furthermore all parties need to look deeply at themselves and ask why it is that they are attracting so few people from business backgrounds when there is such an obvious need for their experience.

1 comment:

A Change of Personnel said...

a good post Druid

I fear the 47% endorsement for Gordon and Carwyn means things are even less likey to change on the economic front here in Wales despite the real and pressing need for change.