Tuesday, November 10 2009
Welsh Conservatives have exposed wide regional variations in Assembly Government help for businesses during the recession.
Figures released to Opposition leader Nick Bourne following a Freedom of Information request reveals that not one penny has been paid out under the ProAct scheme to help businesses in the Conwy local authority area. But in Neath Port Talbot firms have received £2.3mn under the employee training and wage subsidy initiative.
Nick Bourne said the figures undermined Assembly Government rhetoric about supporting businesses and communities across Wales.
He added that they also highlighted the failure of Plaid Cymru, which holds the Assembly seat of Aberconwy and the economic portfolio in the Assembly Government, to lobby on behalf of local businesses.
According to official figures the unemployment rate in the Conwy Parliamentary constituency has risen from 5.3% to 8.1% between September 2008 and 2009.
An update paper for the eighth economic summit last month also reveals that of the applications for ProAct money by sector, 18 grants were awarded to hairdressers, nine times more than to the aerospace sector.
Commenting on the figures, Opposition leader Nick Bourne AM said: "The wide regional variations in ProAct funding are a matter of concern.
"We are, of course, pleased to see so many businesses in south west Wales benefiting from the scheme. But these figures expose the failure of Plaid Cymru to lobby on behalf of local businesses in Conwy who have yet to receive a penny under ProAct.
"While we have welcomed schemes like ProAct it is clear from the fact that unemployment is now at a 16-year high that they are not working to anywhere near the level we were promised.
"Wide variations in ProAct funding, coupled with the impact of business rates revaluation, means small firms in some parts of Wales will continue to be hit hard by Labour's recession.
"We were promised Assembly Government help for businesses in every part of Wales. The evidence suggests this is far from the truth."
Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP