Page last updated at 08:18 GMT, Saturday, 6 December 2008

Call for confidence over economy

From Left: Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, Rhodri Morgan AM, Paul Murphy MP
Mr Morgan described the mood at the meeting as "very resolute".

The First Minister needs to inject confidence in the Welsh economy, according to the leader of the Conservatives in the assembly.

"Throwing his arms in the air and saying he has no idea how bad things will get is simply not good enough," said Nick Bourne

Earlier, Rhodri Morgan said nobody knew when the downturn would end and warned of a "pretty bloody" start to 2009.

Work is to start on 23m public sector projects to help boost the economy.

The announcement was made after the third economic summit in Wales since October.

The meeting, between ministers and business leaders in Wales, coincided with news that 208 jobs were at risk at the Canadian-owned car components company Linimar in Swansea.

Mr Bourne said the Mr Morgan had "woken up to a reality most of us were warning about a long time ago".

"His clear inability to face facts in the face, or have any idea how bad things will get, will give no confidence whatsoever to workers facing an uncertain future, or businesses struggling to survive in 2009," he said.

"People should not forget that it's Rhodri Morgan and Gordon Brown who've been in charge of the Welsh economy for the last decade.

"And it's their policies which have left us with the mess we are facing today."

'Very resolute'

Following the summit, the assembly government announced plans for a scheme to pay companies to retain and train their staff rather than make them redundant.

A plan was also announced to begin work on 23m worth of public sector projects over the next four months.

Mr Morgan described the mood at the talks between as being "very resolute" despite a "huge amount of doom and gloom" for families facing a difficult Christmas.

I think Wales is leading the United Kingdom in terms of the way it is dealing with the economic downturn
Welsh secretary Paul Murphy

"It's the resolute feeling of Team Wales coming together and facing the gathering doom and gloom to say 'We are going to see this through together' and if we see it through together that will shorten the recession, it will help to make the recession shallower by the combined action of the UK government, the assembly government, Welsh local government and the private sector in Wales," he said.

"Eventually the patient gets better - at the moment we don't know when that's going to be."

Welsh secretary Paul Murphy said: "I think Wales is leading the United Kingdom in terms of the way it is dealing with the economic downturn - tremendous cooperation between all sectors in Wales but also very interestingly, learning from each other."

He added Wales had to prepare to a future upturn in the economy in terms of research, development, training and skills.

The economic development minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said: "I think we all recognise the difficulties facing industry and businesses and consumers but today I think we've shown as a government working with our partners including local government in Wales that we can respond positively when it's demanded of us."

Dr Kath Ringwald, a senior lecturer at the University of Glamorgan's business school said it would be next year before the end of the downturn could be predicted.

"I think it's laudable they've jumped in very early with the first summit back n October and I'm sure they're trying to do what they can for the Welsh economy," she told BBC Radio Wales.

"Bringing forward capital schemes is a good idea and will have an effect but not in the short term.

"They will need time to prepare. If you think, there's land acquisition and the tendering process. It's going to be a year or two before we see the real effect of that."

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