(Title Image: Wales Audit Office)
A report from the Wales Audit Office (pdf) concluded that the Welsh Government have over-concentrated on supporting individual businesses at the expense of a more co-ordinated strategy.
£167million was spent between 2014-2017 to support businesses and protect jobs, but the Auditor found a “lack of clarity” amongst businesses on what support was available.
“The Welsh Government must be able to demonstrate clearly and transparently how its financial support to businesses provides value for money, both by improving the economy and contributing to wider well-being objectives. The current approach is too piecemeal. However, if the Welsh Government implements my recommendations, it can improve this position as it develops arrangements to support its new Economic Action Plan.”
– Auditor General, Adrian Crompton
The report also found numerous examples of “gaps and errors” in Welsh Government record-keeping and projects/businesses provided with £16.6million either failed to reach their goals (with limited recovery of the money by Welsh Government) or collapsed completely.
The Auditor General did note that the Welsh Government were making improvements and a spokesperson for the government said, “It is pleasing that the Auditor General recognises the important changes to our approach to providing financial support to business through a new strategic approach and operating model.”