I’m not sure what it says about the Welsh Government’s economic policy. I had thought that the emphasis was moving away from attracting inward investment in order to concentrate on growing and developing indigenous businesses; not least because of experience. Whilst some inward investment into Wales has created some sound long-term employment, there are plenty of other examples of a short-term presence which moves on when the grants run out. In effect, policy often seems to be whatever is happening at the time; events drive policy rather than policy driving events.
Political reaction has been predictable. The Tories point to every failure in economic policy as being down to the Welsh government and claim the latest news as a success for UK policy; whilst Labour point to every failure as being the fault of the UK government, and claim the news as a success for their policies.
They can’t both be right of course – but that doesn’t mean that they can’t both be wrong. I don’t simply mean that the policy pursued by the UK government would have been much the same if Labour were in power (although it would have been) or even the same thing in reverse in Cardiff Bay (although it’s easier to conceive of a Labour UK government than of a Tory Welsh government). I mean rather that economic policies pursued by governments at both ends of the M4 might actually have had a negligible impact on the outcome. Governments like to pretend they’re in control when things are going well, and pretend that things are out of their hands when things are going badly. I suspect they’re right on the latter, but simply deliberately understate the applicability of that conclusion.