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A public sector 'WDA' won't work.

* SIR - It is gratifying that two recent reports, an excellent study by Cardiff Business Partnership/ Cardiff Business School and a report published by the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee, have called for the re-establishment of the WDA.

In one of the few areas where any comparative and in-depth analysis has taken place into the impact of post devolution policies - probably with the exception of education, but with a similar outcome - Wales' economic performance, particularly in regards to inward investment, in which Wales, pre the bonfire of the quangos, was the UK's leader, has been, to say the least, dismal.

Both reports highlight the importance and value of the WDA brand. This is important; however, of equal and perhaps more importance in the successes of the WDA was its structure as a quasi-private sector provider of government services.

Over the history of the WDA there were some issues with this structure, particularly in terms of governance, but the innovation, creativity and response to customer needs was a rare shining light for the Welsh economy. How dim is that light today? Edwina Hart's response has been as dogmatic as her predecessor, Andrew Davies'. She wants to bring the WDA brand back, but to manage its inputs via the public sector that has been so successful in developing the Welsh economy since devolution!

Mrs Hart, that model died with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Drop your dogma and look at the evidence from people with far more experience and, might I say, better qualified for the task, than you. What Wales needs is more involvement from the private sector and that cannot be managed by a turgid bureaucracy. WIL WILLIAMS Llandaff, Cardiff
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 27, 2012
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