Last week Plaid Cymru leader and Welsh Economy Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones unveiled new radical plans that will transform our economy and allow us to aspire to a Wales that is one of the best places in the world to live, to work and to thrive.
The “Economic Renewal: A New Direction” programme sets out the role a devolved government can play in providing the best conditions and framework to enable the private sector to grow and flourish. As a party we believe that an all Wales approach to economic development is the best way forward and an approach that will enable rural communities to compete on a level playing field with Wales’ urban areas.
This new policy has been developed by Ieuan Wyn Jones following extensive consultation and future government resources will be targeted at tackling wide systemic issues within the Welsh Economy - investing in infrastructure, research & development and improving the conditions within which businesses operate. Economic Renewal will see a fundamental shift away from direct and generic support for companies to a focus on creating the right environment for businesses to succeed. Indeed, there are many excellent aspects to this programme and as Chair of the Assembly Cross Party Group for broadband in rural Wales I was particularly pleased to see a commitment to delivering ‘Next Generation’ broadband for every business in Wales over the next 6 years.
This approach by Plaid in government here in Wales is completely different to the Tory and Liberal Democrat approach. The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith outlined Tory proposals to relocate the unemployed. The controversial plan echoes the words of the Tories in the 80's when Norman Tebbit told the unemployed to get on 'get on your bike” and look for work. Unfortunately this regressive policy is has been supported by a local Tory AM, where during an Assembly committee Angela Burns AM implied that there was little point in investing in rural communities and that instead residents should be expected to travel to more industrialised areas for work. Ms Burns said “I wonder why we keep thinking that we have to take the jobs to the people when what we should logically be doing is taking the people to the jobs.”
For a Tory AM, who represents a largely rural constituency, to argue that people in rural communities should have to travel to an ‘economic hub’ for work and business demonstrates an utter lack of vision for the very communities that she is supposed to represent. Thankfully Plaid's vision is for economic growth across all of our communities, which Ieuan Wyn Jones is now implemented. Plaid is committed to developing our economy in every part of Wales.