Welsh Government ‘anti-greed, not anti-growth,’ Senedd hears
The Welsh Government is “not at all anti-growth, but proudly anti-greed,” Members of the Senedd were told yesterday afternoon.
Clwyd South MS Ken Skates made the remark during First Minister’s Questions, following Prime Minister Liz Truss’ claims that all opponents of the UK Government were an ‘anti-growth coalition’.
The Welsh economy is currently growing faster than the rest of the UK, according to the ONS (Office for National Statistics).
Meanwhile, just weeks into the job, Mrs Truss has the lowest recorded approval rating of any UK Prime Minister.
First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed he had not been contacted by Mrs Truss since she succeeded Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street – echoing recent comments made by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Labour MS Joyce Watson (Mid and West Wales) had asked: “What discussions has the First Minister had with the UK Prime Minister regarding the cost-of-living crisis?”
Mr Drakeford replied that there had been “no opportunity for discussion on this or any other matter has been forthcoming from the latest UK Prime Minister”.
Mr Skates, a former Welsh Government Economy Minister, then asked: “First Minister, when the Prime Minister finally talks with you and not just about you, can you assure her on behalf of the people of Wales that you are not at all anti-growth but you are most proudly anti-greed?”
‘Very long list’
The First Minister told the Senedd that he was “on a very, very long list of other people the Prime Minister has identified as not sharing her view of the world”.
He continued: “The Welsh economy, in the figures that the ONS published in September, grew faster last year than any other nation of the United Kingdom. By what possible yardstick the Prime Minister believes that we are opposed to growth I have no idea at all.
“We know – and certainly Ken Skates, in his previous responsibilities, did a great deal to contribute to this – the ingredients that make for growth.
“It’s investment by the public and the private sector to make sure that people who are carrying out jobs in the Welsh and the UK economy have the best possible equipment at their disposal, and it’s investment in skills so that the people we have are as equipped as they can be as well to make their greatest contribution to the economy.”
The First Minister added: “The idea that the United Kingdom, which is already a low tax, deregulated economy, far in excess of much more successful economies elsewhere, needs more of that as a path to growth; there is no evidence for it and there’s no confidence in it, not just by opposition political parties but by markets right around the world.”
Prime Minister Liz Truss has previously said Conservatives will “face down” any “separatists” who threaten “our precious union”.
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