Page last updated at 09:40 GMT, Sunday, 28 December 2008

'No easy economic cure' warning

Paul Murphy
Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy returned to the post in January

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy has warned that the "unprecedented" global economic downturn will need a "comprehensive response" in 2009.

He said the priority of Gordon Brown's government must be financial stability, including working in close partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government.

Mr Murphy said they could "offer support to stimulate the economy".

But in his new year's message he warned that there was "no silver bullet" for the financial climate.

"After witnessing the booming economic growth of recent years, in Wales, like the rest of the UK and virtually the whole world, we are preparing ourselves for a more demanding economic climate in the months ahead," said Mr Murphy.

It is critically important that the UK and the Welsh assembly governments both listen carefully to the experiences of businesses and other local groups to ensure we understand exactly what is happening at the sharp end
Paul Murphy

"That is why I am sure many of you, especially those facing job uncertainty or redundancies, have tightened your belts and cut back this Christmas.

"The government's priority at the moment must be financial stability.

'Invaluable'

"This is also a time when it is critically important that the UK and the Welsh assembly governments both listen carefully to the experiences of businesses and other local groups to ensure we understand exactly what is happening at the sharp end of the downturn.

"That is why I have been attending All-Wales Economic Summit meetings with Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan."

Mr Murphy said the summits had been "invaluable" in bringing together private businesses, unions and financial institutions.

Joe Calzaghe after Roy Jones Jnr victory
Joe Calzaghe's US win was just one of Paul Murphy's highlights in 2008

"I want to reassure you that the government will be continuing to work in partnership with the Welsh assembly to ensure 2009 is as happy and prosperous a new year as possible for you and your families," he added.

Mr Murphy said 2008 had been an extraordinary year, and not just in the financial markets.

"Since my own return as secretary of state for Wales last January, I have witnessed one of the most remarkable years for Wales for many generations," added the minister.

"There has been Welsh sporting glory in one of the most successful sporting calendar years Wales has ever seen.

"Whether it was on the rugby or soccer pitch, boxing ring or at the Olympic and Paralympics games in Beijing this summer, Welsh sportsmen and women made 2008 a golden year for Welsh sport.

He singled out the success of boxer Joe Calzaghe, who remains undefeated after his victory in New York over Roy Jones Jnr.

He also highlighted the Welsh Olympic achievements of cyclists Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas, the rower Tom James, and the Paralympic golds of swimmer David Roberts.

The Welsh secretary also had praise for Wales' impact on arts and entertainment in 2008, especially the comedy series Gavin and Stacey, and BBC Wales' Dr Who.

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