Wales launches drive to stop young people leaving as ‘brain drain’ threatens public services

‘We need to persuade more people to stay,’ minister says

Matt Mathers
Monday 18 October 2021 12:14 BST
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Louise Thomas

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Extra support for business startups is among a range of measures being considered by Welsh ministers aiming to keep more young people in their homeland as the number of working age citizens falls.

The Welsh government is concerned that shrinking tax receipts will make it more difficult to pay for public services as young workers and graduates leave for big cities in other UK nations and abroad.

Vaughan Gething, the economy minister, will set out his plans for stopping the "brain drain" and attracting top talent to Wales during a summit with leaders from business, local government and trade unions on Monday.

The proposals form part of a wider strategy by ministers to boost the Welsh economy and continue its recovery from the Covid pandemic, which forced many businesses to close for months.

“It’s a really significant challenge for us. If we don’t have more people of working age in good work, we’ll end up with a smaller and smaller tax base," Mr Gething said of the demographic changes.

“We need to persuade more people to stay in Wales, more people to come back to Wales and more people to make Wales part of their story.

“We want to make best use of the talent we have as well as attracting people to Wales. People move to Wales to retire but it’s a great place to work as well.”

He added: “It’s about having a more optimistic vision about the future – you don’t have to get out to get on, there’s a really good environment for you in Wales, not just for business or work but a good place to live.”

The Welsh government also says it wants to help businesses forge stronger links with universities to create more attractive jobs and ensure "we have firms grounded in Wales who can provide future opportunities”.

According to official figures, 61 per cent of the Welsh population was of working age (16 to 64) last year. This is expected to fall to 58 per cent by 2048.

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