Showing posts from September, 2021

Putting the Foundational Economy into practice to tackle the climate emergency

 Speech to WISERD Foundational Economy Conference, September 9th 2021  I’m in the north for a series of visits to learn about my new portfolio which includes housing, energy, transport, regeneration and forestry, amongst very many others. It was initially described as a Climate Change super-Ministry. But it could equally be called a foundry for the foundational economy.  Tackling the fallout from global warning, a nature AND climate emergency, and stopping it getting any worse, is our priority. But as we do it we need to fashion solutions that also enhance our communities – advancing social justice and growing local economies as we go.  That’s the lense I look at this job through.  The scale of the climate challenge is not fully understood by many. In the next 10 years we have to achieve cuts in emissions greater than all the reductions we have managed in the whole of the last 30 years. And the cuts get more challenging still in the decades beyond this one.  The first thing I d

It’s time to focus on the everyday economy

Published by the Institute of Welsh Affairs on  10th January 2020 Over the last year we’ve been concentrating on putting into practice some of the ideas that have been championed by parts of civil society to strengthen the foundations of our economy. In his manifesto to become First Minister Mark Drakeford emphasised that his Government would nurture and grow the everyday parts of our economy, with a focus not just on the economic outputs but on the quality of people’s experience of everyday life. My colleague Ken Skates set the direction for this new approach in the Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan, with a recognition of the need to shift away from a sector approach to economic development to one focused on place – making the communities we live in stronger and more resilient. The plan places a greater emphasis on tackling inequality and signals a shift away from big grants to a ‘something for something’ relationship with business. Of course we should continue to defend our tra

Fixing the foundations of the Welsh economy

Published by the Institute of Welsh Affairs on 15th February 2019   In all the debate about the impact of Brexit, it’s important we don’t lose focus on what led to a majority of people in Wales voting to Leave the EU, and what we must do to address their cry of pain. Communities like the one I represent in Llanelli used the referendum to articulate a sense of frustration that we were being left behind – a feeling that we are expected to absorb the downsides of globalisation without feeling many of the upsides celebrated by the winners from free trade and open borders. The way our economy has developed has been undeniably uneven.  Cardiff is the only part of Wales to match the UK average levels of wealth. Whilst London and the south east of England has flourished, the rest of the UK has struggled. But it’s no use living in one of the wealthiest parts of the UK if housing consumes over half your income – as might happen in Greater London. Meanwhile in Wales far too many people are workin