Wales politics

Business Minister Edwina Hart's capitalist 'regret'

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Image caption Edwina Hart suggested AMs discuss the work of Engels (l) and Marx (r)

The minister in charge of helping the private sector and boosting the Welsh economy says she "regrets" capitalism.

Labour Business and Enterprise Minister Edwina Hart suggested taking a history lesson from communist philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

It came on the day she recruited the director of employers' group CBI Wales to work in her department.

She made her comments as AMs debated the Welsh government's handling of the economy.

Plaid Cymru tabled a motion saying it "regrets" Labour's "failure" to respond to the economic crisis, problems faced by the manufacturing sector and youth unemployment.

Mrs Hart told the Senedd on Wednesday: "Can I say that I was disappointed when I read the motion, but in view of the fact that it said 'regret' perhaps I should say 'regret' because in life we all regret many things.

"I regret about the capitalist system, if you want to go to history lessons perhaps I need to go back to Karl Marx and Engels and we could have a discussion about those issues."

Earlier in the day, she sat next to First Minister Carwyn Jones when they met business and union leaders at a Council for Economic Renewal in Cardiff.

Mrs Hart told AMs there had been a positive response to the Welsh government's proposals.

Before the meeting the Welsh government announced CBI Wales director David Rosser had been seconded to Mrs Hart's department for business, enterprise, technology and science.

He will work for six months as director of innovation and anchor companies.

Image caption Edwina Hart is a former trade union official

A former trade union official and chair of TUC Wales, Mrs Hart, the AM for Gower, came second to Mr Jones in the election for the Welsh Labour leadership in 2009.

In May, BBC Wales revealed she took a taxpayer-funded subscription to the socialist newspaper the Morning Star.

A spokesman said at the time she read the paper in conjunction with the Financial Times "in order to get a balanced view on the issues of the day".

Liberal Democrat business spokeswoman Eluned Parrot said: "Clearly, she has been reading too much of the Morning Star and not enough of the Financial Times.

"With comments like this, is this business minister really up to promoting Welsh businesses and attracting foreign investment to Wales?"

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