Thursday, 17 February 2011

Five months of inaction.

Amid much fanfare last July the WAG Minister for the Economy and our AM, Ieuan Wyn Jones launched his flagship "Economic Renewal Programme" (ERP), a fundamental rethink of WAG's economic development policies which, according to the bumf, aimed to make Wales "one of the best places to in the world to live and work".

The ERP is predicated upon moving away from a system of grants to one of repayable loans - something which I approve of. To do this the ERP superseded the Single Investment Fund (WAG's then central funding 'pot' for business support grants) which was then closed to new applicants on the same day that the ERP was announced.

Recently I made a Freedom of Information request to discover how many repayable loans had been made via the Economic Renewal Programme since its launch in July 2010.

Would anyone care to make a guess?

The answer is zero. Not a single repayable loan has been offered to a Welsh company in the seven months since the introduction of the ERP. Companies which were at an 'advanced stage' of their Single Investment Fund application were allowed further time to submit their applications by 31 August 2010 -- but since that date there has been no new business support funds available from WAG to any Welsh companies.

In other words despite the precariousness of the economic recovery, the Department for the Economy and Transport has effectively been a 'closed shop' for five months whilst it rearranges the deck chairs in setting up the sector panels which will eventually begin awarding repayable loans.

Remember that next time a Welsh company is in trouble and the Labour-Plaid coalition in Cardiff Bay points its finger at the Westminster government.


Anonymous said...

They've probably all been too busy trying to allocate grant money under the old system .... claiming that the application were all received well before the deadline.

It's a typical trick when employed when no-one is responsible for scrutiny.

I say NO to any new power for the Assembly.

Photon said...

"I say NO to any new power for the Assembly"

Increasingly, so do I.

Lord knows what the answer to economic development is in the Wales beyond Cardiff. All over Wales, regeneration bodies, council econ. dev. departments and others who claim to 'know best' are found to be know very little.

We need nimble, proven track-record contributors to the economic development issue, not the usual colletions of 'safe hands' sitting on every committee going.

Whilst officialdom might look down upon efforts such as those in the 'People's Manifesto', such public input should be seen as a very useful part of the whole solution.

Words like "one of the best places in the world to live and to work" give a good aspirational view, but fail to address where we're starting from - the poorest place in the UK.

Brawd o Amlwch said...

This Post links in well with the YES/No vote referendum !
All politicians want power, and yet more power, that is what the referendum is about.
From the People's viewpoint, its a matter of TRUST....should we vote them additional powers...can we trust them in Cardiff to do what is right and socially just ?
The current Westminster lawmaking machine with scrutiny by both Houses works well, its a better and safer system than we would have in Cardiff.
If as is the case we cannot trust our 40 politicians to govern and administer Ynys Mon, can we really trust their 60 cousins in cardiff to legislate competently and fairly....answers on a postage stamp ??

potential investor said...

"We need nimble, proven track-record contributors to the economic development issue, not the usual colletions of 'safe hands' sitting on every committee going."

ok, can someone tell me who exactly is responsible for pushing for regenerating Holyhead?

Bol Sach said...

12.22 Counc. J. Chorlton, no less ?

Anonymous said...

We are in a no-win situation, Cardiff want to control all of us, and we don't want Cardiff. The solution is to break free of Cardiff and be independent of them all. We should ask for severance from Welsh Assembly Control, it's dead simple, we say NO when they want us to vote and we start the NO camapign today, that way they will realise that they haven't got us in their pocket, and that we are free men, to do as we will, not do as were told.

Anonymous said...

14.50 But we are not free !
Man was born free, yet he is everywhere in chains......its called the social contract, and are only free again, when you are dead ?

Prometheuswrites said...


I believe that Rousseau was talking about those 'mind forged manacles' (William Blake) that constrain our social aspirations.

" Rousseau believed that liberty was possible only where there was direct rule by the people as a whole in lawmaking, where popular sovereignty was indivisible and inalienable. Citizens must, in at least some circumstances, be able to choose together the fundamental rules by which they would live, and be able to revise those rules on later occasions if they choose to do so ..." - from the Wikipedia entry on 'Social Contract'

the outsider said...

Promo - I think popular sovereignty, and possibly even the heir apparent have been heard by Cameron's Government on the question of sales of state owned English woodland. At least the people have been listened to on this, and also on the question of housing benefit for the unemployed. Far better to listen, learn and U-turn, than blunder on regardless which is exactly what the last Government was so capable of doing.

Promo said...

Outsider: fair point, however I'm not sure we're at the point of a U-turn one this one yet:

"Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman told MPs the government had "got this one wrong", as she announced the current consultation was being halted".

"Instead, it is understood a new panel of experts will be set up to look at public access and biodiversity within the publicly owned woodland". - on the BBC web-site - Politics

These experts may well decide that the best way to preserve public access and bio-diversity will be to 'transfer stewardship' to the private sector.

Richard Sletzer said...

NO VOTE: Yesterday's 14.50 post by Anonymous (I do wish people would use individual names - even if they're "nomes de plume") is absolutely right.

A "Yes" vote in the referendum will result in 20 more AM's being added that already mediocre bunch in the Bay. As the existing 60 AMs have done nothing other than cost us money there seems little chance of any improvement in the future.

The best thing for the people of Wales can do is to deny AMs any more power - at least then that limits the scope of the damage they will inflict in Wales.

The situation in Anglesey underlines the incompetence of the Welsh Assembly. Neither WAG nor the laughable "Anglesey Recovery Board" seem capable of doing anything to wrest control from the clowns in Llangefni who continue to run rings around them.

Anglesey Councillors may be dim-wits but they sure-as-hell know a thing or two about self-preservation.

All we can be confident of is that they will continue to make fools of WAG and of the Anglesey Recovery Board whilst the economy of poor old Anglesey continues to slide downhill.

Prometheuswrites said...

Interesting comment here* on the referendum from someone who would like to vote Yes in the referendum, but can't bring themselves to do so *:

The main thrust being if the Assembly haven't been able to sort out Health and Education sectors with the powers they do have; and with no 'interference' from Westminster on these issues, then why give them carte blanche with the rest of the legisture.