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