For a classic example of Welsh Labour’s blazing incompetence and reluctance to consider any true private investment (but to be fair, there is no authentic private sector in Wales) that doesn’t involve their profligate dishing out of tax-payers’ money at will to duff so-called commercial enterprises, please consider some correspondence (below) that was recently sent to me by Jeremy Oakley, a private sector businessman.
Mr Oakley’s abridged letter to Carwyn Jones, First Minister of the Welsh Labour administration on 16.5.13 is as follows – please note, no response was forthcoming from Mr Jones, neither was there a response from his deputy Rhodri Price, who had put his deputy, one James Price onto it as a matter of urgency.
‘It is with deep regret that I must inform you of my decision to pull investment we had planned for North Wales, specifically for the Trawsfynydd Power Station Site.
Over the last 2 years, we have created a green energy project that was specifically designed for Trawsfynydd.
The project was to create 100 full time long term jobs by using new technology to create Bioethanol from the local natural resources of grass, bracken and soft rush. Given the demands of the 2020 Transport Fuels Obligation, the creation of Bioethanol from local resources fitted completely with the initiative and would have placed North Wales at the forefront of UK projects. This in addition to the fact that all resources would have been produced locally thereby encouraging long term sustainability of the rural region.
The annual return to the region would have been @ 20m EUR plus the income derived from full time mixed ability jobs created in a high unemployment area.
The Capital Expenditure for the project would have been 130m EUR of which @ 60% would have been a local spend.
Given the lack of encouragement and support from within the various Welsh Authorities, I have taken the project to three EU countries, one of which is prepared to attract the project because of the positive social impact it will make in the Region and is prepared to support it with a series of financial incentives still within Member States support allowances.
The second country were able to respond within 24 hours of my initial visit and have instantly come back with a series of measures, incentives and land supply and the third has initially offered land, a site and support on the strength of a phone call and without a visit as yet!
In addition, 2 Countries in the Caribbean are working hard to secure our Bioethanol project as part of a completely integrated agricultural development, food production and renewable energy plan I have created.
There are still projects that could be done in Wales even on a smaller scale. One approach to a local authority yielded no response in over 6 months and when eventually chased, was passed to the new cabinet regeneration minister who has chosen not to reply for the last 4 weeks…………’
Mr Oakley has been in talks and meetings with a legion number of Welsh establishment figures from MP’s (Elfyn Llwyd MP, Glyn Davies MP was written to, no reply), Leaders of County Councils (Dyfed Edwards, Gwynedd CC), to Welsh Labour administration officials of all shapes and sizes eg Dafyd Elis-Thomas AM, Sioned Williams, Gwyneth CC Head of Economic Regeneration and where Edwina Hart Minister for Economy Science and Technology was concerned, she was too busy to communicate direct so her bureaucratic minions were instructed to act on her behalf. The Welsh Committee at Westminster has also been too busy to respond in any meaningful way.
Frankly, the rest of the list is far too long to be included here.
Mr Oakley writes to me personally, saying:
‘I have had 100% funding pledged twice for the project in Wales. Once from Private Equity and more recently as part of a larger fundraising programme to fund a series of these projects in Europe. The project required no subsidy from WAG. I needed their moral support to please the funders, I needed them to work with the Snowdonia National Park Planners in helping to regenerate the site and help us with the design of the plant so it fitted in to the surroundings and I needed them to upgrade the railway line, which they plan to do anyway, to limit the amount of road traffic through the National Park. Above all that I felt they would like to be involved because it is a high profile project that they can demonstrate their local support for and export the idea to other Nuclear Decommissioning Projects.’
Carwyn Jones’ office promised a reply by 14th June and merely mentioned the fact that I must feel ‘frustrated’ not to have got very far with the project. They were supposed to be looking at the problem with some urgency but after 4 weeks nobody has contacted me.
I wrote to the Welsh Committee in Westminster and had a very subdued reply from their admin person who said he would pass the comments on to the MP’s on the committee and had I tried speaking to the AM’s!!
It is incredible!!
I see that the Business Minister and Inward Investment Agency are off on another jolly to Japan – presumably to attract another giant subsidy seeking short term company.
Perhaps they should look on their own doorstep!
At the time I wrote to Carwyn Jones, I wrote to all the relevant people I had dealt with in this project telling them of my decision to withdraw. Not one of them has bothered to reply!
Given the enthusiasm from other Countries……
I need waste no more time in Wales.’
I do not feel I need to add anything here, except to say that it is no wonder that Wales is the lowest performing economy in Europe and I hear that Carwyn has just put in an order for 20 two-seater bi-planes as part of his commercial development plan for Cardiff Airport.
Finally, there is a salutary lesson in the above for Welsh Labour and its institutions – you cannot gag private individuals who refuse to travel on the Welsh Labour Gravy Train Express.
Julian Ruck is the author of the Ragged Cliffs Trilogy and legal thriller The Bent Brief. He is a Freedom of Information campaigner, columnist and makes contributions to both Welsh and national broadcasting and media.