Rebalancing the EconomyOur Agenda for Change
Wales faces a stark choice: does it continue down the same road it has been on since 1997, focusing the vast majority of investment in areas of high population density and continuing to reject rural Wales, or does it look to rebalance the Welsh economy, moving away from its obsession with Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and the South Wales valleys?
The three most prosperous counties in Wales are all based along the southern corridor attached to the M4. Cardiff is the 6th most prosperous city in the UK, but overall in Barclay’s table of UK nations and regions, Wales is ranked 10th out of 12, demonstrating the complete inequality of job opportunity, wealth and investment.
There is a great need for the Welsh economy to rebalance itself and there are many ways in which this can be achieved. The Welsh Government cannot continue to drain the talent that is in Wales, to Cardiff and Swansea. Our talent should be spread to encourage economic growth and well-being.
Wales is still very reliant on public sector employment, with over a quarter of all employment found within the public sector, at around 26.5%. We believe that there still needs to be a strong level of public sector employment, whilst at the same time encouraging these levels to slowly reduce, while private sector jobs are created within the Welsh economy.
The Welsh Government needs to urgently recognise the need to rebalance the Welsh economy. In December 2016, the Welsh Government announced a multi billion pound infrastructure investment scheme. We believe that when the final details of this scheme are announced, it will be evident that the vast majority will be spent in the same areas: the South Wales Valleys, cities and the North East Wales corridor into the North West of England, once again ignoring the areas that already lack major new investment and already feel ignored by the Welsh Government.
In April 2019, income tax will be devolved from Westminster to the Senedd. This was pledged in the 2015 Conservative Manifesto, alongside a proposed referendum which would ask the people of Wales if they would like to hand control of income tax powers from London to Cardiff.
Wales is slowly gaining more tax raising powers from Westminster and we would like to see Wales take a new path. We want Wales to become an attractive place for international investment. Wales has a large coastline stretching the length and breadth of the country, affording us huge opportunities to rebrand Wales as a global holiday hotspot. Other industries such as renewable tidal energy and farming could be given a huge boost, if the right tax regime and incentives were implemented.