This is a very odd story. Some of my most reliable sources tell me that a car parts business, named Shimuzi, is to move a substantial part of its production from its plant in Telford to its plant in Welshpool. But another equally reliable source tells me that this is not the case. I'm sure things will become clearer over the next few days. In the meantime, there are no facts that I feel able to rely on.
But there's a context to this story which makes it noteworthy - the differing business support structures in Wales and England. This was recently raised by the MP for Shrewsbury who felt that businesses were being attracted over the border into Wales by a more generous grant structure. Personally, I did not consider this to be a significant problem, mainly because the only recent example of a cross border jobs move that I know of was the decision by Stadco Powys to move work from its plant in Llanfyllin to its plant in Shrewsbury, putting 106 Montgomeryshire employees out of work.
Because there seems to be some uncertainty about what is actually happening at Shimuzi, its not possible to comment specifically about this business tonight. But there must be lots of questions being asked in boardrooms across the country. We have so much hyperbole pouring out of Government, both at Westminster and Cardiff about taxpayer's money being ploughed into job retention and creation, that there must be temptation to test the water, and find out whats available. For five years in the early 90s I was Chairman of the Development Board for Rural Wales, and it was our job to promote economic development in Mid Wales. But it was never my aim to persuade businesses to move from another part of the UK, leaving redundancies in their wake - unless there was some specific reason why they needed to move. Bearing in mind what has happened to the economy of Welshpool over recent months, extra jobs in the town would be great news - but I would not feel it a cause for celebration, if it resulted in redundancies in Telford.