In his latest Politics File, Argus politics reporter Ian Craig addresses the news of the past week:

THE last week’s headlines in the Argus and our friends elsewhere in the Welsh media have made for some pretty grim reading.

First, years of work was thrown in bin after the M4 relief road was scrapped.

Whether or not this is good news is a matter of opinion - but what isn’t is that we’re back to square one in finding a solution to a problem which has plagued commuters, businesses and people just trying to get from A to B for decades.


We’ve been told the new commission looking at alternative solutions to traffic on the M4 will report back in six months. I’ll believe it when I see it - but I’ll probably be late to any press conference because I’ll be stuck in traffic at Brynglas.

Just two days after we learned the M4 had reached the end of the road, Ford announced its Bridgend plant will close next year, with 1,700 to lose their jobs - and the Welsh Government warning up to 6,000 jobs in total could be impacted.

It didn’t escape notice that the same week the US president came to the UK to talk up future trade deals, a major American company announced it was pulling out of Wales.

And the bad news didn’t stop there, with workers at Newport’s Quinn Radiators plant turning up for work on Monday to find administrators at the gates unceremoniously telling them the company had gone bust and they were losing their jobs.

Either of these would be a blow to the Welsh economy - all three at once is almost cataclysmic. Ken Skates’ office probably has to order an entirely new set of desks because of all the head-banging which has been going on over the past week.

South Wales - and Wales as a whole - was devastated by de-industrialisation in the latter half of the last century, and you don’t have to go far to see communities still bearing the scars decades later.

We’re not quite at a crisis of that magnitude yet - but this must not become the start of a trend.

Clearly Ford’s decision wasn’t made because of the M4 - it takes a lot longer than two days for multi-national corporations to make decisions like this - and Quinn Radiators going bust had nothing to do with it either.


But it’s a worrying thought that the relief road not going ahead may either prompt other large employers in the area which had been staying put in the belief it was going ahead to up sticks for somewhere their employees don’t spend half their lives stuck in traffic, or that it might deter potential investors from coming here.

We narrowly avoided disaster with Tata’s steelworks in Llanwern, Port Talbot and elsewhere a couple of years back - and anything which could push the company into resurrecting its plans to pull out of the UK should be avoided at all costs.

Some will point the finger of blame for the job losses at Brexit.

Just how fair this is is almost impossible to say at this point, and Ford has made a point of saying it hadn’t made the decision because of Brexit. But this is the same company which just two months ago said a no-deal Brexit - which looks almost like a certainty at this point - would be “a disaster” for the UK’s automotive industry.

Likewise the role of Brexit in Quinn Radiators’ collapse isn’t clear - but only the most naive or blindly anti-EU loyalist could possible argue it had no influence whatsoever.

Either way, there’s no denying the land of milk and honey and £350 million a week for the NHS we were promised just isn’t happening.

A report earlier this week showed a post-Brexit Wales will lose £2.32 billion between 2021 and 2027 - £743.11 for every person in the country - unless the UK Government revamps the way it allocates funding.

This hardly paints a rosy picture of the future, and the events of the past week give us little reason to be optimistic about the years ahead.

Hold tight, rough seas could be ahead.