The expansion of Business Wales

This article was originally written as a commentary to the news of the expansion of the Business Wales programme.

Another announcement on business support from the Welsh Government, another quote on “new jobs”. One wonders what these “new jobs” will be. With little disclosed in the way of economic impact analysis or strategy, it is difficult to attest to the validity of any claim of the value of these to the Welsh economy – let alone if such support is the most appropriate use of public money. Similarly, if a nation’s economic position could be improved through public money alone, we’d be well off in Wales given the billions of pounds that have been thrown in our direction. Sadly, the latest ONS figures remind us all too well of how Wales’ attempts to address its economic woes have failed and I’m hoping those behind the scenes in Welsh Government won’t be happy if most of the opportunities this support creates are in vulnerable, low-paid roles.

Wales – is the State the solution, or the problem?

The state has an undue influence over all aspects of Welsh life. Its financial size and dominance in Wales mean that, through employment, government grants and contracts awarded to the private sector, and the appointment of key individuals to jobs, committees or advisory positions, both local and national government in Wales can successfully quieten or silence critical voices. It can lead to a culture of conformity where people are unwilling to publicly question or discuss a whole range of issues. It is something that should give us all concern, as so often these are the very voices and conversations we so badly need to help shape a successful and dynamic Wales.


Wales – what holds us back as a nation?

Our self-limiting attitude?

One of the more surprising elements of modern Welsh life is the desire among some to abrogate responsibility and blame external factors for issues within Wales. Whether it is the Welsh economy, Welsh public services, our relationship with the English, or ever more parochial concerns, the “victim” narrative creates an environment where Wales gives the appearance of wanting to limit itself to small dreams. Wales has seemingly become obsessed with Wales in the context of Wales.