New research from KPMG UK has shed light on the critical infrastructure improvements needed to foster a more prosperous and sustainable economic future for Wales.
500 residents across the 22 Welsh local authorities were polled to gather their insights and recommendations regarding the infrastructure requirements for a thriving economy.
Nearly 70% of respondents said improved pay scales would incentivise more people to live and work in Wales. The region is currently ranked in the bottom half of lower paid regions across the UK, only ranking above East Midlands, Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and the Northeast. Better access to affordable housing, improved transport links, and more cultural/recreational offerings were also cited as potential incentives.
Transport infrastructure is vital for stimulating economic growth and attracting inward investment. Over half of those surveyed believe that focusing on enhancing train links between major towns and cities within Wales would stimulate economic activity and facilitate sustainable development whilst reducing travel-related carbon emissions instead of creating more links out of Wales.
Over half of respondents believe that investing in solar energy farms and supporting households in installing rooftop panels would play a pivotal role in achieving the ambitious target of meeting 70% of the region's electricity demand from renewable sources by 2030. Offshore wind energy was the second most popular energy source, with half of respondents recognising its potential to drive the energy transition.
David Williams, KPMG UK Cardiff Office Senior Partner, said:
“The survey highlighted the importance of addressing key areas such as enhanced pay scales, improved transport infrastructure, and increased access to affordable housing to attract and retain a talented workforce. With inflation having an adverse impact on households, tackling regional imbalance, and offering competitive pay will be a key driver in attracting skilled professionals and retaining local talent.
“The Welsh Government has a plan for the Wales to achieve net zero by 2050, with its own organisational structure reaching net zero in 2030 without negatively impacting residents. Energy use (electricity, heating and transport) is one of the highest emitters of carbon, highlighting the importance of investing more towards renewable energy sources in Wales’s transition to a more sustainable future.”