The forthcoming Budget announcement was the main focus of discussions among representatives from the Welsh business community during a meeting with the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones in London today (26 February 2013).
Mr Jones welcomed members of the Business Advisory Group to Gwydyr House where he took the opportunity to gather members’ views on the policy proposals they would like to see included in the Budget when it is announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer next month (20 March).
Members also discussed the issues of support for jobs and growth in Wales, as well as the the development of City Regions in Wales.
As part of the policy-making process, HM Treasury welcomes representations from stakeholders on the provisions they would like to see included in the Budget with the aim of stimulating economic growth.
Ideas were discussed and developed by the members of the group at today’s meeting, and the Secretary of State will now share the proposals with the Treasury for consideration in the run up to Budget 2013.
Mr Jones said:
The Business Advisory Group meetings provide a useful opportunity for me to gauge first hand how businesses are faring on the ground in Wales, and to hear their views on how Government policy is affecting them.
As we look ahead to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement next month, it was important for me to have the opportunity to hear the type of policy proposals they would like the Treasury to consider to help support and develop the Welsh economy.
I was particularly interested to hear their views on the main barriers to growth and what they feel key infrastructure priorities should be. I will now be sharing the outcome of these discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure the voice of the Welsh business community is heard loud and clear.
During the meeting, the Secretary of State chaired a round table discussion on the current business environment, and businesses’ response to the current economic challenges.
The group also discussed the recommendations made in the Welsh government’s Task and Finish Group’s report on City Regions published last year. The group, chaired by Dr Elizabeth Haywood, reported in July and recommended that city regions be established in south east Wales and in the Swansea Bay area.
Professor Michael Scott from Glyndwr University played an active role in the Task and Finish Group and took the opportunity to discuss the potential benefits of adopting a city regions approach in Wales. The Secretary of State chaired a discussion on how members of the Business Advisory Group thought City Regions should now be developed in Wales.
Mr Jones also welcomed new members Sanjay Bowry from Dulas, Professor Michael Scott and Robert Lloyd Griffiths from the Institute of Directors in Wales (IoD) to their first Business Advisory Group meeting.
Robert Lloyd Griffiths said:
The IoD in Wales is committed to working with governments in both Cardiff Bay and Westminster in order to represent the views of our membership. Our involvement with the Secretary of State for Wales’s Business Advisory Group is an important part of our engagement process and a significant opportunity to discuss matters which impact on the success of the Welsh economy.