Friday, 12 November 2010

Anglesey and job creation - Part II

In part one, I speculated as to reasons why new SME’s may not establish themselves on the island.

We should not, in the first place, forget that we are still recovering from a recession, one that was nearly preceded by the collapse of the world banking system. Neither should we forget that the IMF predicts that there is likely to be a period of stagnation in the economy.

Currently the banks are very reluctant to lend, even to existing customers, as for start up’s what chances have they? But there’s grants available I hear you cry, which is true, but they alone are not the answer, as Ireland found out they do not guarantee long term stability.

So, do not expected miracles anytime soon, until that is the economy recovers and shows sustained growth. Now it seems, is not the time to start a new firm, or expand an existing firm, not saying that it’s impossible, but rather difficult.

But if we are talking about job creation, you cant blame it all on the economy or the banks, or come to that on politicians. Strange isn’t that how the political right believe in 'small' government, and in a free market ideology, but are all to quick to blame politicians, when things go wrong, on matters they say politicians shouldn’t interfere with in the first place. Of course politicians are just as much to blame, how often do they think they can get away with taking credit for the good times, whilst denying they have anything to do with the bad times.

What matters to an unemployed bloke in say Holyhead or Amlwch? I doubt it is the fact the Outer Hebrides out performed Anglesey, he is still out of work. I doubt even if he cares the GVA per head of Anglesey is low, he just wants a job. And this wont be achieved if all we read about is political discourse, and political point scoring, and political negative campaigns. He will still be unemployed.

What are the solutions, what is needed to bring jobs to the island ? - I have'nt got a magic wand or a super new idea, but for what they are worth, here are some suggestions:

The Local Development Plan needs to be fast tracked and prioritised by the Council.

We need a substantial investment in broadband, we should aim to have the fastest service available, so we can have an advantage for a change.

An Anglesey Employment Board should be setup, with representatives from leading business, business organisation, charities, employment projects and specialist advisors to advice the Council, and to draw a clear employment strategy for the island, and working with them an Anglesey Employment Team with representatives of each key Council department and others to manage and implement the agreed strategy.

As for my last suggestion, I know that there are similar in place already, but sadly as a whole there is a perception that they do not seem to be working, and my suggested employment board would not have any politicians on it. Not another QUANGO, well yes, sometimes we have this mistaken belief that democracy equals accountability, when quite clearly it does not. It should be business sense, best practice and a partnership of the willing, driving forward employment strategy rather than the short-term popularity contest of local politics.


Paul Williams said...

"Strange isn’t that how the political right believe in 'small' government, and in a free market ideology, but are all to quick to blame politicians, when things go wrong, on matters they say politicians shouldn’t interfere with in the first place."

I assume this is aimed at me? Just to clarify, when I criticise the policies of Westminster of Cardiff Bay I do so not because I think that it is purely the policies of government which create jobs and growth, but because government needs to be held account on how it chooses to use our tax money. With the total tax take increasing and government spending now accounting for one out of every two pounds spent in the economy, we have to ensure that that money is spent as effectively as possible and that it does not crowd out private sector growth.

Other than that I pretty much agree with the thrust of your post: particularly the need for either the LDP or interim planning policies to be fast tracked and for better broadband provision.

Rhys Williams said...


It was not directly at you, I think of you as a progressive conservative.

And as you said previously, we can learn from what the Outer Hebrides have done.

Prometheuswrites said...

Good couple of posts.

I agree about the LDP and quality Broadband access.

I'd compare setting up a business to maintaining a car.

With the old models it was possible to service, repair and fabricate parts for your own car. However nowadays these simple tasks have either become specialist jobs or the components are so complex that you need to buy a whole new part, (digital controllers).

When it comes to setting up business's there are still some that are possible to set up and run at a micro/personal level (food production and crafts are such), but when it comes to large businesses (e.g. wind turbine production, nuclear power stations, etc. then no matter how good or coherent the idea is, you will need to raise capital, or have a strategic partner or access to 'seed funding' from a (inter) national level/source.

The really big projects (Power station) will need to fit with national strategic plans and regional plans (that's why it's important to have an LDP).

Personally I'm in favour of all these approaches and putting my eggs in several baskets, as not all people fit the same mold.

There are lots of examples of people who are very good artisans but who are terrible at book-keeping.

The key is getting the mix right and the right people into the right places/positions to enable the whole to function smoothly.