Shadow Minister gives evidence to Welsh Affairs Committee

 

Shadow Minister for Business, Nick Ramsay AM, has today given evidence to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee.

Mr Ramsay has spoken at a session on inward investment in Wales, in which a representative from Labour confirmed enterprise zones would soon be introduced.

Giving evidence, Mr Ramsay said: “It’s good to hear this movement from the Welsh government’s perspective. While I don’t think enterprise zones are a panacea that will solve everything – if you are going to have zones just across the border, we need something similar here, even if it’s not the English model.

“I am very pleased to hear today that the Welsh government is planning on introducing them.”

The Business Minister was not present to give evidence to the Committee.

Mr Ramsay said: “It does seem as though we are punching well below our weight (on inward investment). As for why it’s not happening - why we’re not making the inroads we should be – it’s a shame that the Minister is not here to answer that.

“We will continue to ask those questions in the Assembly.”

During his evidence, Mr Ramsay claimed the abolition of the Welsh Development Agency was a mistake and called for change in the way Wales is marketed.

“I hear a lot about the need to address inward investment but no solutions… There are all sorts of ways that Wales could be marketed differently and we are certainly not there yet.

“The abolition of the WDA is an on-going problem for Wales. Civil servants can’t repeat its grand success and, moving ahead, we must have marketing at arm’s length from the Welsh government.

“It’s got to be about collaboration – working with local authorities and the UK Government.”

Mr Ramsay also called for tourism to be included in the Economic Renewal Programme’s six key sectors.

“I think it’s unwise not to include to tourism. For companies in the sector not to be able to go to the government seems to be barking.”