Cardiff is bucking the Welsh trend for poor inward investment after American firm Conduit announced plans to create 600 new jobs in the area.
This follows the publication of the Welsh Affairs Committee’s report on inward investment in Wales, which highlighted the steady decline in Wales ability to attract inward investment. In the early 90’s, Wales accounted for 15% of all investment in the UK, but by 2010 this had dropped to just 6%.
The report calls for changes to be made to the way Wales markets itself abroad, with a renewed emphasis on cooperation between the Welsh Government and the UK Trade and Industry board, to ensure opportunities to attract growth are maximised. It also recommended priority is given to improving transport links throughout Wales.
Eluned Parrott, Shadow Welsh Liberal Democrat Business Minister welcomed the report its recommendations. She said: "In 2012, Britain is going to be the country of the Olympics with billions of people around the world looking at us. We need to take advantage of this and the sooner the Welsh Government engages with the UK Government on inward investment the better for the Welsh economy and Welsh jobs."
Conduit’s new call centre will create 600 new jobs and will handle calls for British Gas. These new jobs will see the American company employing 2500 people in South Wales alone. Denis Creighton, chief executive of Conduit Europe, praised the opportunities currently on offer in South Wales. He said " It [Wales] generates the best customer service and performance indicators across the board".
Carywn Jones welcomed the announcement as proof of Cardiff’s attractiveness to investors and said this was only the start, with the new central business district in Cardiff expected to create a further 40,000 jobs in the future.
Speaking at the Senedd today, Carwyn Jones defended the opportunities on offer in Cardiff and confirmed the Welsh Government have submitted a bid to be the home of the new Green Investment Bank.
He said: “We believe it’s a robust bid, taken of course with the new Cardiff Central Business district, and the Conduit call centre, which we believe will create even more jobs in the near future. All this shows Cardiff will be an excellent home for the new Green Bank.”
Neil McEvoy, Cabinet Member for Transport and Economic Development welcomed the report but disputed Carwyn Jones’s claim the ongoing projects showed Cardiff has a bright future.
He said: “The policy is not working, we are getting poorer and poorer and we need to look again at what we can do to change this. Local authorities should be getting together and working side by side to improve the economic situation. I have been saying this for some time and it is about time and it is about time something was done.”
The Welsh Conservative Party welcomed the report, saying it was clear the government needed to do more to work alongside the UK government and UKTI. A spokesperson for the Party said: “The Welsh Labour Government needs to get out of its silo and start working constructively with the Conservative-led Coalition to deliver a united message of confidence in our economy.”