L'Oreal

Two weeks ago, I appeared on the BBC programme wales@work with Leighton Andrews, the Deputy Minister for Regeneration.

When asked what the government should be doing to support business, I responded by saying that it was vital to continue dialogue with large inward investing companies at a time when they may well be considering restructuring and closure.

Not surprisingly, the Minister was not happy at this comment, said I didn't know what I was talking about and that his officials knew exactly what was going on in the business sector in Wales.

Now, rumours reach me that the Assembly Government knew nothing about the L'Oreal closure until Friday morning, a few hours before the announcement was made by the company.

If that is the case, then serious questions need to asked about whether officials are telling the Minister about what is going on and the extent to which his officials are actually in contact with the 3,500 medium-sized and large firms that employ nearly 40 per cent of the workers in Wales.

More critically, how many more firms will close or shed jobs before the Assembly Government even knows that any of these companies are in trouble?

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