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Helen Mary Jones MS launches report on rebuilding Welsh economy after Coronavirus

A sustainable economy recovery is “key” to tackling social and economic inequality according to a report commissioned by Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy Minister Helen Mary Jones.

Mid and West MS Helen Mary Jones will launch a discussion paper on the future of the Welsh economy later this morning (11am).

The report recommends Welsh and UK Governments commit to a sustainable recovery. In the UK’s most recent stimulus package specific green spending represents a significantly smaller proportion of overall spend than made by Germany and the EU.

The paper by independent researcher Dr Mark Lang reviews how other communities globally have rebuilt their economies faced with de-industrialisation, the report provides new ideas on how the Welsh economy can recover following the Coronavirus pandemic.

The major report commissioned by Helen Mary Jones MS identifies:

the role of tourism in responding to post industrialisation in Bilbao, the Basque country and Iceland
the importance of developing renewable energy to boost the economy in Iceland and in the Ruhr area of Germany
the use of strong educational networks, flexible vocational education; increasing training levels when crisis hits
the growth of local food hubs in the United States of America
the value of cooperative models in adult community care provision and housing

Helen Mary Jones MS, Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty said:

“The Welsh economy was built on our natural resources during the industrial revolution, but we have had a period of decline once our dependency on coal came to an end. Wales continues to be rich in natural resources like water, wind and forests that provide solutions to the challenges the Welsh economy now faces. As we develop these natural resources we must ensure we hold on to the millions of pounds we send out of Wales, and plough the money back into local jobs and opportunities for the next generation.

“As Plaid Cymru prepares a programme of government ahead of Senedd elections this is a valuable contribution to the debate we need to have about the Welsh economy and the way we rebuild our economy and society after the pandemic.

“While our laws maybe under threat from the Westminster government, in our well-being legislation, for all its unresolved contradictions, Wales has the seeds for a sustainable recovery, that will start to root out the high levels of social and economy inequality and poverty.”

Dr Mark Lang, authour of the report added:

“I don’t think we pause enough in Wales or elsewhere to ask, ‘what is our economy for?’. If we did so, we may find that the type of economic success we seek to achieve has a different character from the one we tend to currently assume is correct. Indeed, the very purpose of economic policy may be re-thought.

“For me, economic success should be sustainable and equitable. We have to ask, ‘over the last twenty years of devolution, has Welsh economic policy genuinely delivered a fairer and greener society for people and planet?’. In other words, ‘has Wales’ well-being legislation actually influenced the way we run our economy, or the things we choose to invest in?’.”

“Life after the Covid-19 crisis will demand that we fundamentally reconsider our priorities.

“For me, a far greater emphasis on local and sustainable enterprise is essential. This discussion paper highlights just a few thoughts on how we might begin to reframe our debates about our priorities.”

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