Torfaen MP and former Secretary of State Paul Murphy has today slammed the Government for lacking a plan for economic growth – and suggested that they should look towards Cardiff for signs of an alternative approach.
Speaking in the House of Commons Debate on the Queen’s speech, Mr Murphy talked about the stark contrast between the Tory-led Government’s inaction and the Welsh Government’s support for businesses and those out of work:
“I’m impressed by the action the Welsh Government is taking. For example, they made sure that when the Tories scrapped the Future Jobs Fund, Jobs Growth Wales was there to replace it. That scheme alone is helping find jobs or training for 4000 young people per year in Wales. They’ve put £40 million into an investment fund for small and medium-sized businesses, £30 million into the Wales Economic Growth Fund – which has now had over 500 applications in under two months and £40 million into a package to help give young people the skills they need to find jobs. A national infrastructure plan will mean £90 million being spent on key projects, helping create and retain jobs for men and women in Wales. In Pontypool, a leading precision engineering company – PRV Engineering – has had £265,000 from the Wales Economic Growth Fund to help it invest in new machinery. This is the Labour alternative to the inaction of David Cameron’s Tory Government.”
The lack of a plan to achieve that growth was the gaping hole in the Government’s programme, said Mr. Murphy: “We need a plan for growth, and this speech totally lacks one. We also need to do more to involve the Third Sector in job creation – for example, in my own constituency, the First Minister opened the deeply impressive Marie Curie Cancer Care’s National Support Call Centre which has created 140 new jobs, as well as providing an excellent service from those fighting cancer and their families.”
Mr Murphy also warned that our own local elections and elections elsewhere showed the change in public mood: “The mood is shifting. People are beginning to see through this Government’s ideologically-driven cuts under the guise of ‘austerity’. Those countries which recognise the need to generate growth are the ones who are building out of the slump, instead of suffering a double-dip recession. If the Government doesn’t sense this altering mood and change course, then it is doomed; our problem is that our communities may well be too.”
“Unemployment in my constituency is still three times what it was a decade ago under a Labour Government. The situation for many of our young people is even worse. Unless the Government changes course and acts to give those young people hope, they will create another lost generation of long-term joblessness and despair. The Welsh Government are showing that it can be done – what we lack this side of Offa’s Dyke is the political will to make it happen. Instead of wasting time talking about reforming the House of Lords, the Prime Minister and Chancellor should think again and get to work reforming our economy.”
You can watch Paul’s speech below, starting at 15:52.22: