Friday, 11 February 2011

‘At what point are you going to recognise that what you do in terms of delivering business support is bad? It doesn’t work’

Open warfare has broken out between Labour and Plaid Cymru in Cardiff regarding Ieuan Wyn Jones's "mismanagement" of his Economy portfolio. In yesterday's Western Mail, various unnamed "senior Labour figures" are quoted as having said:

“Ieuan Wyn Jones is the One Wales weak link. This is not a party political attack – his handling of the economic brief during tough times has been absolutely shambolic. 
“He has lost the confidence and respect of Wales’ business community. Every businessperson I meet wants [former Labour Economy Minister] Andrew Davies brought back. Andrew understood the business community. Ieuan is out of his depth. 
“We hope his incompetence doesn’t reflect badly on Labour in May. There’s no reason why it should but we are very aware of the problem. Labour will have a strong offer for Welsh businesses at the time of the election.” 
A senior Welsh Labour MP said: “I’ve been very disappointed with the performance of Ieuan Wyn Jones. Even arranging a meeting with businesses in my constituency has proved impossible because he is not in control of his diary and is run by his officials. I hope he’s not in the job after May.” 
Another Labour AM said: “The gist of the criticism, which is widespread, is not about policy, so it is not a political attack in that sense. 
“The issue is with the management of the department: a total lack of engagement and understanding of the business community; a failure to respond to AMs and MPs in good time; a dismissive attitude towards local businesses experiencing problems.”

And its not just unnamed Labour sources who have been criticising Ieuan Wyn Jones' record as Minister for the Economy. South Wales businessman Paul Ragan, who sold his insurance business for £20m in 2008, is also quoted in the same article as saying:

“I’ve had an immense amount of feedback from businesses in Wales. The widespread view is that it’s a shame Ieuan Wyn Jones does not see that fundamentally what is wrong in Wales is the environment in which we provide our business support. The reality is that a majority of businesses do not get the support and are really frustrated. They struggle to understand where and how to access support. 
“We need a mix of large and small investors if the economy is to succeed. Economic renewal plans that reorganise the deck chairs are not what we want in Welsh business – we need action.” 
“I met Ieuan Wyn Jones and asked him, ‘At what point are you going to recognise that what you do in terms of delivering business support is bad? It doesn’t work’. 
“I asked him if he was concerned about the power that might be created – whether he was concerned it might become too dynamic. 
“Wales needs to lead and losing the likes of Bosch, Hoover, Visteon and TRW in the last 12 months must be seen as failing as they feed into small businesses and are the fabric of our economy. It is not about small versus big. Other countries have maintained momentum – consider the success in Scotland. It is like losing your star players and going down the leagues and saying ‘we can’t do much about it’ when we can.”

This morning, Plaid Cymru's Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones (herself the author of the heavily criticised agri-environmental 'Glastir' policy) has come to Ieuan Wyn Jones' defence by attacking his predecessor as Minister for the Economy, Andrew Davies:

“The attempt over the past few months to re-invent Andrew Davies as a competent Minister has been a shock to people across political parties. Since leaving office he has sought to blame his civil servants for lack of progress in his past Ministerial portfolios. 
“In my experience, a Minister who blames his civil servants has failed to get his civil servants to deliver on priorities. A Minister has to take charge of his civil servants and that is what Ieuan Wyn Jones has done since taking over the Economy and Transport portfolio. 
“The one major action of the Labour Assembly Government between 2003-07 was to merge the WDA and Wales Tourist Board into government. They managed to re-arrange the deckchairs but they did not change the Titanic’s course – they carried on in the same disastrous direction. 
“It took Ieuan Wyn Jones taking charge to get the civil service to work to political priorities, to adapt a well-received Economic Renewal Programme and to sort out a horrendous lack of financial control on transport budgets. He did all of this in the midst of a global economic crisis. A crisis that Ieuan is also recognised as have handled well."

So while both Labour and Plaid Cymru blame each other for their poor handling of the Welsh economy, I will leave you with the following chart, which shows how each region's economy has performed compared to the UK average over the past 10 years:

GVA per head indices. 100 = UK in 1989. Source: ONS

As you can see, in direct contrast to the remarkable gains made by Scotland in particular (who's pragmatic attitude to economic development we have previously discussed), the Welsh economy has suffered considerable comparative decline.

The truth behind the current mudslinging is that both Labour and Plaid Cymru have failed -- and failed badly.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

They are very poor representatives for Wales that's why I worry about the referendum, if they have more power I don't think they can cope with it looking at the past and current record.
As for IWJ he's just poor all round, get rid of it all and save some money

kp said...

We need to maintain our focus on the language .... who cares if businesses don't like it, it's our history, our culture and our future!

Photon said...

"We need to maintain our focus on the language"

We do, but we should be able to do this without banshee-ism. I would argue we've reached a point where we no longer have to feel Welsh is under imminent threat. We can make it a normal part of political life, rather than the central part. We also need to quickly teach our kids other languages - a miserable failure in the UK.

It would be useful if Paul could suggest a few ideas of his own as to how he would refocus the approach to economic development.

Glyn Pritchard-Jones said...

KP, please refrain from anti Welsh comments. Such comments here are not welcome; ok?

About IWJ;

Since his tenure as AM, Ieuan Wyn Jones has displayed zero business acumen, has shunned business in Anglesey and failed to procure a project in 2009 that was "handed to him on a plate" that would have created 250 plus jobs in Holyhead. This was a new "clean tech" manufacturing business viz; the future.

About IWJ: There is no interest, no enthusiasm, no guilt and no inclination on his part to do ANYTHING to push business in Anglesey. His attitude, body language, follow up and keeping tabs on matters is just a disaster....he seems to be preoccupied with other things.

A prominent Llangefni business man (employing 25 staff) said to me yeaterday, (about IWJ) He's never even dropped in for a cup of tea and a chat. Why should we support him when there is apathy on his part. We need a new man for the job, a guy with his head screwed on who can fight for Anglesey"

----------------------------------
We need "jobs, homes and prosperity" not FAILURE (due to mismanagement) MIGRATION, BENEFITS CULTURE.

Paul Williams said...

Photon - I am currently preparing my local manifesto for Ynys Môn - based on the People's Manifesto. This will concentrate heavily on how we can begin to improve the Island's economy. Watch this space.

Anonymous said...

Dear Druid,

For years we have watched employers leave this Island, we have watched our children struggle to find work, we have seen watched as our children have struggles to find a home, while we struggled our political leaders have played games, they have enjoyed the benefits of being well paid, while our children have struggled on a life of benefits.
It seems to me that it is illegal to better yourself and illegal to complain, because no one listens, no one cares, no wonder we are all facing extinction.

Disgusted voter, disgusted with the fools we have as leaders, they have betrayed us all.

Anonymous said...

The BIG story from this is the amount Scotland has clawed back- amazing, and fair play to them!. But what have they done to do this? that is what we in Wales needs to say, not look back and condemn the past.

The climb in Scotland has been amazing in the past 4years, perhaps this is because of the Nationalist Government??


I, too am almost amazed that Wales is always lower than N.I. Has this always been the case?- what Wales like in the 70's?

I agree the Assembly has failed, almost year on year. But I just can't blame Plaid. I really think Labour is a massive problem in Wales. And my vision would be to see a Rainbow Coalition in Wales of anybody bar Labour. I think it would do no harm. However it seems unlikely.

As for IWJ I personally don't like him, however he's done 'alright' as a Minister- certainly not the worst.
BTW I am almost going to vote for you Paul, just to get rid of him, but then Plaid on the party list (to stop Labour gains).

Just out of interest, what are the figures of 2010- has Wales taken 'advantage' of the recession.

Anonymous said...

It is illegal to moan and complain to IJ and AO because they won't do anything to help you, your better off banging your head against a brick wall, however, if they were to moan and complain, because the people are having a go at them for being so helpless and useless, they would be writing to th press and spinning out tales of how hard they work, if they don't want the job, they should piss off and gives someone else a chance, someone who CARES about us, anybody is better that these two wasters.

Paul Williams said...

Anon 11:56

"I, too am almost amazed that Wales is always lower than N.I. Has this always been the case?- what Wales like in the 70's?"

I don't have the figures for the 70s, but Wales was ahead of N.I. until 1998 in terms of GVA per head.

"Just out of interest, what are the figures of 2010- has Wales taken 'advantage' of the recession."

As soon as I have the 2010 figures I will post them.

Anonymous said...

Do not complain about the Welsh Assembly and it's authority, it is ILLEGAL, says who? says IWJ, that's who, if he had his way, we would all be wearing white sheets and singing hymns, just like the welsh assembly view us anglesey people, it's this plaid cymru eisteddfod druid vision, that they see, when they deal with Anglesey. It's your fault Druid, your not hard enought to support the people.

The Red Flag said...

"Photon - I am currently preparing my local manifesto for Ynys Môn - based on the People's Manifesto."

All very well and good Paul/Druid, but what if it conflicts with the Tory party's Manifesto for Wales? Which will have primacy? My money is on the latter and as a result things won't change.

A lot of Anglesey's problems are down to the fact that Welsh money tends to gravitate to Cardiff. North Wales relies on English money and that is evident as you move from the border westwards - it just gets poorer and more rundown the further west you go.

The whole of North West Wales needs help and that help is going to have to be huge amounts of grant money. And in these austere times I think we can forget that.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Years ago, we actually thought that the Welsh Assembly would be good for this country we call home, well have I got news for you.

In Anglesey we get the leftovers, the crumbs that are left after Cardiff and the rest of South Wales have had their slice of the Assembly cake, all we want is a little bit, but we get given the crumbs. So, we have got the deputy minister, well we can't call him first minister taht title belongs to the Labour king, with Gibbons his prince charming. If I was IWJ I would say enough is enough, either North Wales gets some of this Assembly cake, or Plaid Cymru will walk, what did he do? he stayed with Labour and ignored us all, we say sod the assembly cake, and get up to Anglesey and explain why we have been neglected and ignored for so long!

kp said...

Glyn Pritchard-Jones, apologies for any offence so caused.

However, I would suggest to you that my comments are far from being anti-Welsh or anti anything other than business, business, proper business, real business, profitable business that this island so cries out for.

The obvious is sometimes quite blinding.

Anonymous said...

Does the term mismanagement really depend on someone actually trying to manage in the first place ? - if so IWJ doesn’t deserve the accusation.
If anyone has had any recent dealings with WAG civil servants locally you will know that most of them have lost the will to live and are just about at their wits end with the incompetent Cardiff Bay leadership.
Referendum – don’t make me laugh it’s like giving the loonies the keys to the asylum.

Anonymous said...

Druid,

As prospective conservative assembly member do you think that we are getting nowhere fast, or is it time for us to turn up the heat and start making more demands from the Welsh Assembly to investigate issues that need addressing, don't tell us that you aren't taking note of certain complaints that have been handled poorly.

Or the fact that political meddling and interference has led us even further down the road to ruin.

Your reflections would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

For anyone that's interested there is a protest march in Holyhead against the closure of Coastguard stations, march will take place on 19th

Anonymous said...

No-one is interested unless you can make it sound interesting to them.

I suspect that it will be a very small protest and you have only yourself to blame!

The Red Flag said...

anon 23.20, before you organise a protest march, make sure that you will have a good turnout. Nothing is more embarrassing than a protest march with no more than a couple of dozen people on it.

Take Tinto. How many people worked there? How many people were on the march? There were significantly less and what's worse, an awful lot were students from Bangor and people like me who didn't even work there but went out of 'solidarity'.

Anonymous said...

What a dramatic shot in the foot for the Druid to claim that Scotland has done so well on the economic front under the SNP (Plaid Cymru's equivalent in Wales) and a party and government that has so much more power than we do here in Wales. Its no surprise to see that most contributors here are either complete idiots, anti-Welsh or anti-devolutionists. What a complete load of rubbish this blog has become since the so called Druid has had to reveal his own so (politically motivated) identity. Absolute crap, in reality, as he cannot now defend his own party's policies in Anglesey or Wales.

Colin said...

You all haven't obviously read IWJ Wikipedia entry. Look at the style section.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ieuan_Wyn_Jones

Colin said...

IWJ as far as I am aware is head of The All Wales Safety Partnership whose work it is slow down speeding traffic in Welsh communities. They are an unaccountable quango who refuse to show traffic speed data that they record in Welsh villages. Gosafe who are part of the above (AWSP) for North Wales consistently underplay speeding in communities allowing North Wales Police to down play speeding when communities know different. In our village of Penyffordd nr Mold the average speed stated by the above is 28mph. This hides over a 1000 speeders a day. IWJ doing a poor job for N Wales communities? There are over 600 communities in N Wales who want Gosafe about 10% actually get their services most are refused.

Anonymous said...

Lets talk about the local economy, not speedbumps and hidden cameras please?

Colin said...

Safety in villages has its place, children get run over. There is also the issue of environment in villages.

Paul Williams said...

Redflag - "All very well and good Paul/Druid, but what if it conflicts with the Tory party's Manifesto for Wales? Which will have primacy? My money is on the latter and as a result things won't change."

The manifesto I will produce will be based on purely local, Ynys Môn issues. It will not conflict with the national manifesto.

"A lot of Anglesey's problems are down to the fact that Welsh money tends to gravitate to Cardiff. North Wales relies on English money and that is evident as you move from the border westwards - it just gets poorer and more rundown the further west you go."

There will be more on exactly this point very shortly...

Paul Williams said...

Anon 19:18 - "As prospective conservative assembly member do you think that we are getting nowhere fast, or is it time for us to turn up the heat and start making more demands from the Welsh Assembly to investigate issues that need addressing, don't tell us that you aren't taking note of certain complaints that have been handled poorly."

If you have any particular complaints which you think WAG is not addressing properly, please get in touch via the contact me section above and I'll see what I can do to help.

Paul Williams said...

Anon 00:49 - "What a dramatic shot in the foot for the Druid to claim that Scotland has done so well on the economic front under the SNP (Plaid Cymru's equivalent in Wales) and a party and government that has so much more power than we do here in Wales."

Why is Scotland doing do well? Here are a few reasons:

- Scotland has set the lowest business rates in the UK. In comparison Wales has the highest.
- Scotland is entirely pragmatic in its attitude to economic development. For example: when DECC clarified that the £60m ports redevelopment fund could only spent in England as it was classified as Economic Development, the Scottish Government announced a £70m ports development fund just for Scotland. In contrast IWJ decided that rather than try to invest in the port of Holyhead to generate much needed jobs there, he simply play the "Westminster is not respecting Wales" card instead.
- Alex Salmond has visited China three times in the past 12 months and was recently rewarded with a major renewables deal with Chinese companies. How many times has IWJ visited China...?

All of these things are currently possible at WAG without any extra powers. Frankly the SNP and Plaid Cymru appear to have very little in common.

Anonymous said...

and the only language of business in Scotland is the English language ...

... the main language of business throughout the world.

The Red Flag said...

"and the only language of business in Scotland is the English language ...

... the main language of business throughout the world."

I think you'll find that there are a couple of dozen or so people in Wales who can speak English. Even the Druid can I believe.

Anonymous said...

@23.20 & 00.04
Not organised by me or anyone I know just passing the word, shame nobody interested, although why it should be my own fault I don't know, just telling you that's all, still there are a lot of ignorant people around I suppose

Anonymous said...

Has none Welsh speaking David Bowles resigned from the Council yet?

Anonymous said...

GPJ... what is IWJ 'preoccupied' with?

Anonymous said...

What have we had in Wales for the last twenty five years ? "The Lost Mountain Sheep Parties" we have led us lost and done nothing. IWJ had his cronies are nothing but idealist and don't have a single business acumen amongst them. If anything IWJ and Co have caused the loss of more jobs in Wales and especially Anglesey. Do you honestly think that this man should have another term ? that would surely be the final nail in the coffin of Anglesey.
Now is the time to move on and bring a new boy in who has the commitment and the experience in the world commerce to fight for us in North Wales. It does not take a brain surgeon to work out were most the investment has been in Wales, in the south !!IWJ has lost his head in Cardiff Bay and shown no interest or support for his constituent !
So come this May, bring on the change!

Un O Fon

Anonymous said...

"IWJ. has lost his head in Cardiff Bay"

He shuffled over to Anglesey to stick his nose in trying to sort out the Council's problems and he still hasn't caught on that it's Bowles who's the Problem. If he wasn't so preoccupied in Cardiff he would know that surely.

Anonymous said...

If he wasn't so preoccupied in Cardiff he would know that surely.

BIt if a conundrum really. He has his head stuck in Cardiff because he's Deputy Forst Minister. But if he wasn't Deputy First Minister then Cardiff would ignore Anglesey even more than it does now.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but what has he got his head stuck in at Cardiff, apart from being the Deputy First Minister? to make such a mess of his intervention in Anglesey County Council and allowing Bowles's to dictate the odds?

Glyn said...

Stick it up your jacksie RED FLAG...respect us locals.

The Red Flag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Red Flag said...

Glyn, is this abour speaking welsh or going on protest marches.