“May you live in interesting times” goes the well-known phrase. This was originally meant as a curse!
But we are indeed living in interesting times. The post-Brexit vote scenario has had some highly predictable impacts, with real and tangible economic impacts flowing from the uncertainty of “what happens now?”, the impact on exchange rates, and speculation on future access to markets. This matters locally as well as nationally. It boils down to jobs and economic growth.
Government at all levels needs to do everything to ensure that we maintain confidence for existing employers and for inward investors. So it was heartening to see our Welsh Government immediately launch a Business Confidence Plan and New Jobs Growth Fund, demonstrating our commitment to a prosperous future.
The new £5 million Growth and Prosperity Fund will help to ensure the Welsh economy continues to grow and Wales continues to be an attractive destination for investment. It will support Welsh businesses projects which have jobs, investment and growth at their heart.
Our Welsh Labour Government will also discuss what ‘Finance Wales’ can offer to the private sector at this uncertain time and will be bringing forward a plan for export support that will enable businesses to capitalise on global opportunities for their products and services.
As part of the commitment to developing skills development, the All-Age Apprenticeship Programme will contribute to supplying the future skill needs of companies as well as a range of skills programmes designed to meet the needs of companies investing in, or growing their activities in Wales.
The National Transport Finance plan also sets an ambitious five-year programme of interventions to modernise transport networks connecting communities and business to jobs, facilities and services.
There will be impacts from the vote to leave the EU. We cannot hide from that. But we should do everything possible not just to mitigate the downsides, but also to strenuously build prosperity in which everyone can share. Our Welsh Labour Government is committed to doing exactly that.
On a different note: it was a delight to be there at the Maesteg v Neath match last Saturday, celebrating the re-opening of their clubhouse after the devastating arson attack three years ago. The club has rebuilt its premises, but it is also rebuilding its team after some tough years. Like a Phoenix it is rising again, so full credit to the staff, volunteers and supporters, and good luck with the season ahead.