Dadl Araith y Frenhines Swyddi a Tyfiant

Diolch, Mr Deputy Speaker.

I shall focus my comments on some very technical points, due to the lack of time. In relation to jobs and growth, Wales suffers from having no control over the major economic levers, as well as from a lack of information about our economy. There is no Welsh equivalent of GERS—the annual Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland report. The Welsh Government, therefore, are fighting blindfolded and with one hand tied behind their back.

As the Chief Secretary to the Treasury informed me in a written response prior to Prorogation, Wales only has an annual update on the gross value added for each

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of the nine English regions and the other nations. The most recent update was made in December 2011 and covered the 2010 calendar year. Those results for the NUTS 1 regions were published at the same time as the more detailed breakdown for the NUTS 3 regions for 2009—figures which showed that the GVA per head in west central London is 10 times that in the Gwent valleys of south Wales. The gap between the richest and everybody else is growing, both regionally and individually, no matter the colour of the ruling clan here in Westminster.

That time lag means, of course, that information on which to base our economic decisions in Wales is retrospective. We are not getting the up-to-date information that is needed for accurate Government economic intervention. Equally, that can be seen in the index of production and construction and the Welsh index of market services, which the Office for National Statistics provides to the Welsh Government. Whereas the UK-wide GDP first-quarter figures were released midway through April, the Welsh figures for the same time frame will not be provided to the Welsh Government until the end of July 2012, when the Assembly will be in recess and the third quarter of 2012 will be well under way.

If the Welsh Government are responsible for economic development, as claimed by the Treasury, they need the up-to-date information on which they can make economic decisions, as well as key economic levers and tools in the form of fiscal powers. For good economic governance we need that data for Wales in good time, so that the Welsh Government can make proper, accountable decisions with the best available information. I would like to ask the UK Government to request that the ONS make that data available within the same time frame as applies for the UK-wide GDP figures, so that Welsh Government decisions are not made at a disadvantage.

During the opening years of this economic crisis, the Oxford Economic Forecasting think-tank estimated that London and the south-east would return to its pre-slump situation by around 2012, but that Wales would not do so until 2025 at the earliest. Given the continuing stagnation of the UK economy, those timetables might have slipped. The Welsh economy needs an end to the proposed cuts of public sector jobs and regional pay, a stimulus through a series of infrastructure investments and support for the private sector to develop and nurture our own small businesses. We need control over job creation levers such as income tax and corporation tax and we need accurate data, allowing us to see the effect of Government policy and broader economic shifts upon the Welsh economy immediately, so that we can change course when required. Diolch yn fawr.

Man Trafod - Rhowch sylwad yma

Bydd eich ateb yn cael ei gymedroli, ac ni fydd yn ymaddangos yn syth. Medrwch baratoi eich testun mewn prosesydd geiriau cyn ei roi yn y bocs, ond ni fydd elfennau megis trwmder tecst a lliw yn ymddangos.