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Friday, March 20, 2015

Does Wales lack economic ambition?

A new report from economist, Gerry Holtham has concluded that there is "little evidence" that devolution has had much effect on the Welsh economy. According to the BBC, Mr. Holtham believes that Wales needs to be more ambitious economically if it is to catch up with our neighbours on the other side of Offa's Dyke.

He has found that the value of the goods and services from Wales was 72.4% of the UK average in 1999 and 72.2% 13 years later:

The report has been produced for the think-tank, the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA), where Prof Holtham - a former Welsh government adviser - is chairman of its economy group.

"Surely it is time for the country to take a clear-eyed look at how ambitious it wants to be for its economic future and what sort of changes would be required to achieve its ambitions," he said.

Wales needs to grow as fast as eastern Europe in the post-Soviet era to catch up but that needs a "marked shift in approach" to have any chance, says the report.

It was at 72.2% of UK gross value added (GVA) per head in 2013/14, the latest available figure.

GVA is the value of wages and profits from goods and services produced.

If Wales continues to maintain growth at 2% a year, it would be only be at 79% of the UK average in 20 years' time.

To reach the old 90% target, which the reports says was dropped and not replaced, Wales would have to increase GDP per head by at least 4% a year and it would take an "economic miracle," compared to post-war France and Italy.

Many people will be content to blame the UK Coalition Government for this, but the fact remains that this is not a phenomenon of the last five years, it is a rut we have been stuck in for a decade or more, and despite substantial investment from European structural funds.

Wales needs to run faster than the UK as a whole if it is to catch up, but Welsh Government policies have failed to achieve this rate of growth. We are still too dependent on the public sector and failing to benefit from innovation, as is evidenced by how few patents are registered by our universities to be turned into high value jobs and businesses.
It's a problem of education. Education leads to aspiration and aspiration leads to achievement.

I hear so much from Plaid Cymru about the fantastic teachers we have here in Wales. Teachers that are looking for leadership from the Welsh government.

Sorry to say, any teacher who is looking for leadership from others is a teacher not worth diddly sqaut. We simply have too many overpaid under performing teachers. And it's been like this for the last forty years.

Time for a cull!

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