Wales needs more than a ‘retro rebrand’ to boost inward investment, say Welsh Conservatives
Plaid Cymru’s plans to re-launch the WDA are little more than a cynical ‘rebrand’ say the Welsh Conservatives, after previously pledging “never” to resurrect the WDA.
Plaid Economy Spokesman – Rhun Ap Iorwerth AM – made the pledge in a Plaid debate in March 2014.
He said: “I would certainly never advocate some sort of resurrection of the old WDA in the form that it took…”
Welsh Conservatives have long called for reform of the way inward investment is handled in Wales and launched their blueprint for inward investment – ‘Destination Cymru’ – back in early 2014; with a focus on business retention. At the time we called for the establishment of a “WDA fit for the 21st Century”.
Destination Cymru recommended that:
- Wales must have a comprehensive aftercare programme delivered in partnership with the private sector.
- The Welsh Government must establish a private sector ‘Investment Council’ which would work with the Welsh Government Trade and Inward Investment Team to attract and develop inward investment.
- The Welsh Government must establish a clear set of ambitious targets for its inward investment operations.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, said:
“It’s flattering to see other parties finally waking up to the need to address our concerns over inward investment, but Wales needs more than a retro rebrand.
“We have long championed the need for an arm’s length body to lead on inward investment, but it’s not as simple as attempting to recreate the halcyon days of the WDA.
“Foreign investment could be boosted by a clever approach and a privately-run investment council to attract overseas companies to Wales, but the Welsh Government also needs a greater focus on investor aftercare, to ensure that when companies locate in Wales they choose to stay here after the initial agreements have expired.
“Current levels of inward investment are barely a patch on what Wales used to achieve in the 1980s and 1990s, but let’s be clear the answer needs to be more sophisticated than a retro rebrand”
Shadow Minister for the Economy, William Graham, said:
"Something needs to change – and Destination Cymru presents a clear alternative to the way inward investment is approached in Wales.
"There are glaring gaps in the Welsh Government’s strategy and real and sustained improvement will be sadly lacking unless policies like this are progressed.
"Investor aftercare – an Investment Council – clear and transparent targets; it is these proposals that can help give the Welsh economy the much-needed boost it deserves.”
Read Destination Cymru in full HERE:http://www.welshconservatives.com/sites/www.welshconservatives.com/files/destination_cymru.pdf