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Wales has to stand on its own feet and stop depending on England ‘to bail us out’ says former CBI chief

23 Oct 2021 2 minutes Read
Michael Plaut, former chairman of CBI Wales

Wales has to stop depending on England to “bail us out”, the former chairman of CBI Wales has said in comments critical of the Welsh Government.

Michael Plaut said that the decision not to continue with the project to build the M4 relief road in Newport showed that there was no desire within the Welsh Government to ensure that Wales could pay its own way.

“We’re not heading in the right direction if we want to build a prosperous future for the nation,” he told the Telegraph newspaper.

“At the moment, Wales is becoming less and less attractive as a destination to either run a business or to relocate a business.

“For many years, Wales hasn’t stood on its own two feet, economically. So business has become irrelevant to the politicians in Wales.

“We can’t rely on money from England. If you look at the Welsh budget, Wales spends far more than we get. We can’t continue expecting England to bail us out.

“It’s just an attitude change to actually welcome business. To not see business as the enemy, but to see business as the answer to producing a prosperous future.”

‘Failure’

He referred to the decision of the First Minister not to press ahead with the M4 relief road in 2019, citing the environmental damage it would do, as being emblematic of the problem.

He had previously said that the Victorians would be embarrassed with Wales’ transport infrastructure.

“It was a huge disappointment for business throughout the mid and west of Wales. It was a key bit of infrastructure that needed to be built – and still needs to be built,” Michael Plaut said.

“Mark is well-intentioned and well-meaning. There’s a genuine desire to do the right thing. But I think there’s a failure to understand business. And to understand the tough commercial realities of generating prosperity in the 21st century.

“We need an arms’ length body to deliver economic success for Wales and the Welsh people. We need to prioritise the economy. We need to involve the private sector.”

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Notta Bott
Notta Bott
1 month ago

Well maybe we can do that if our taxes, and taxes of companies operating in Wales, stay in Wales.

Geraint
Geraint
1 month ago
Reply to  Notta Bott

It is so important to address the commonly used point that we as a nation are too poor to run things ourselves. Every week when I go to a petrol station to buy fuel six to eight pounds tax goes to the company HQ which is base in England and counts as English taxation. The same is true for nearly every other item I buy when I shop in chains which dominate our high streets. When we factor this up to every person who lives in Wales there is a huge financial tax subsidy for England coming from Wales which… Read more »

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
1 month ago

Yeah, its called independence.

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
1 month ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Da iawn

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago

Sounds like another Tory shrill to me bandying that tired old trope around. As much as Welsh Labour have utterly failed to put a dent in the trajectory of the Welsh economy (observe the GDP or GVA per capita as a percentage of the UK average graphs – a persistent negative correlation for the best part of a century), they simply never were in possesion of the kitchen sink to throw at it (Lee Waters famous “hasn’t budged” comment). Sadly the proverbial economic “kitchen sink” resides with Westminster & Witehall in the fiscal & macroeconomic levers exercised by successive UK… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

No point splitting hairs with you about those marginal things which may be negative. The plain truth that Unionists dislike is that indy would enable Wales to determine its priorities which would mean dumping some seriously expensive baggage like HS2, Trident, aircraft carriers, and all the vanity spending that goes with global posturing. With a new commercial hat on we could levy a (not extortionate) charge on our water and energy exports to our neighbours. You can’t be expected to stand on your own 2 feet when your neighbour who is 10 times your weight insists on knocking you over… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Good post.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Our country has its share of problems. A ‘reliance on England’ is not among them.

J Price
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

And if it’s true why are they trying to stop our independence? A lot of England’s wealth has been stolen from Wales coal, steel, slate, copper etc etc

Grayham Jones
1 month ago

Yes we in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 the Labour Party have got to start fighting for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

He said Wales spend more than we get, he needs to look at the national debt in England and the UK as a whole, which is nearing £ 3 trillion . I would also ask him to name a country currently not in debt. He will not be able to . Tory claptrap again.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

I completely agree with this. I hope that Mr Plaut realizes that the opposite of dependence is independence. And with that comes complete control of our resources, tax revenues and public expenditure priorities.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cai Wogan Jones
hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

Mr Plaut is a major advocate of dependency culture when with his CBI hat on he bleats about the need for grants, government support packages etc to foster business. Big business’ habit of sucking on the UK( and until recently the EU) grants teat costs far more than the cost of “benefits scroungers” who get all the bad press !

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

Such a shame that Mr Plaut seems not to have seen the maps of rising sea levels that show the relief road, if built where suggested, would be underwater by 2050.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
1 month ago

“huge disappointment for business throughout the mid and west of Wales.”………does he mean the words “an utter irrelevance” instead?????

GWYN W EVANS
GWYN W EVANS
1 month ago

Something Mr Pratt did not disclose is that when we in Wales buy things here from a company whose head office is in England, it goes down as figures for England, so the VAT, the tax, the GDP figure goes to them, DELIBERATELY making us look worse and our neighbours look better, funny that
And that is not including our net export of electricity and water for next to nothing
There are “Tryweryns”all around us wake up PLEASE

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

All those who strive to develop Wales continuing pathway towards a more democratic and prosperous future need to have regard to those who went before…and helped build the canvas they stand on. I suggest to a couple of the commentators here they actually try not to tar all those who come from different starting points on our journey as they have. Across Wales in the 1979 referendum the Yes campaign enjoyed support from forward looking business and industrialists who supported snd even led moves to develop all Wales instituations. Your readers may of course recall this gentlemans ‘ father Rudi… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

All well and good referring to how certain businessmen lined up in the 1979 referendum, yet the CBI and other bodies were definitely hostile along side likes of Kinnock. Strange bedfellows. Since then the corporate community has enjoyed a period of government aid in various forms, yet bleat on about any kind of tax. There is no doubt that now in 2021 big business and most of the others are wedded to Unionism as they see it as “good for handouts”.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Why is he moaning to the Telegraph?

Busson Clive
Busson Clive
1 month ago

Thats all fine, but give us control of our taxes, investment, business, land and recources! I think its called independence!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

What this fool Michael Plaut on about? “Wales dependent on England”. Utter rubbish! England is dependent on Wales more like. Fact over fiction: Besides millions in Welsh taxation being syphoned into English Treasury coffers, Welsh water is also piped from reservoirs in Mid & North Wales into the English Midlands and beyond that feeds English homes, businesses & hospitals. Wales facilitates the pumping if LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) from tanks in Pembrokeshire through to the English South West at Gloucester that powers, heats homes, businesses and hospitals throughout England. In the near past & present Welsh Nuclear & Hydro-Electric plants… Read more »

Erisian
Erisian
1 month ago

And not one word about the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015.
Perhaps he doesn’t understand why Wales said no the M4 relief road.

https://www.futuregenerations.wales/about-us/future-generations-act/

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

A free Wales wouldn’t need aircraft carriers or nukes.

Last edited 1 month ago by Quornby
Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

The sad thing is we have to rely on money from England and that money has never been enough to make us more prosperous. The accusation here is that we spend too much and England has to keep bailing us out but if we really are that greedy why is much of our population living in poverty? It’s not that Wales wants more it’s that it needs more – to survive, it has been underfunded for centuries. Neglected. When we are independent we can finally tell Westminster to stick it’s money.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 month ago

I totally agree Michael Plaut. Cymru has to stand on it’s own two feet. What would help immensely are the following: 1) Taxes paid in Cymru stay in Cymru. 2) Cymru gets control over it’s off shore resources. 3) Cymru gets control and is allowed to charge market prices for the rental of the land used and supply of natural resources. Water being a prime example. 4) Colonial reparations. One example, Westminster MUST pay for the damage done by industries to our environment pre-devolution. These industries created the wealth that made the UK ‘Great’, and should be recognised as such.… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

Off Topic:
I wonder if we could all have fish caught in our waters? Anyone know why we don’t have Welsh fish shops? Article on feasibility, please.

Last edited 1 month ago by j humphrys
Wogan Jones
Wogan Jones
1 month ago

This man is a dinosaur. Independence will stop any alleged ‘dependence’ on England.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 month ago

I agree with the need for more infrastructure in Wales, but a relief road is not what is needed.
We already have the M4 but it is congested with excess car traffic, if we as a nation could transfer this passenger traffic onto bus & train this will be more economically effective; Also, the container traffic can be transferred to rail.

We could also reopen the Cardiff Queen St to Newtown rail-link and extend this within Wales to Wrexham, thus linking these 2 important centres of Wales and the seemly 3 independent rail system that only link in England.

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