Earlier this week our neighbours in Newport were featured in a report on five cities that were primed for growth and five which were expected to struggle in the year ahead.
No prizes for guessing into which bracket Newport fell – and I’m certainly not being disparaging.
The report said Newport’s dependence on public sector jobs and its industrial legacy counted against it. The relatively under-developed skills of its workforce didn’t help – unlike a city primed for growth, such as like Milton Keynes, which was also praised for its location, skills and well developed private sector.
The report was by the think tank called Centre of Cities who’s chief executive Alexandra Jones said of Milton Keynes: “2012 is going to be difficult but it’s in a good place to get whatever investment there is.”
Considering that we are more like Newport than Milton Keynes, anyone in Caerphilly (or much of South Wales for that matter) who reads this report could be left wondering what we can possibly do to compete with MK, short of relocating to the south-east of England.
We can’t change our industrial history, I don’t suppose our workforce is any more highly skilled than Newport’s and although we haven’t had major government departments relocating to the borough (unlike Newport) we’re still reliant on public sector employment.
Yes, Milton Keynes is undoubtedly very well placed for inward investment – which makes it all the more important that we in Caerphilly look after and nurture the many home grown successes we have.
Perhaps we should go further in encouraging local pride and love of our own communities. Fifty years ago JFK said: “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
Is that the way forward for Caerphilly? I’m sure it can only help.
Chairman, Caerphilly Business Forum
For more information about Caerphilly Business Forum and its events call 029 2125 1395 or email Natalie@cbforum.co.uk