The forthcoming Budget announcement was a key topic of discussion amongst representatives from the Welsh business community during a meeting with the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones in London today (11 February 2014).
Mr Jones welcomed members of the Business Advisory Group to Gwydyr House, where he took the opportunity to gather ideas on the measures they would like to see included in the Budget when it is announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer next month (19 March).
As part of the Government’s long term economic plan, HM Treasury welcomes representations from stakeholders on innovative ideas they would like to see included in the Budget with the aim of stimulating UK-wide 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 2014.
Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:
Over the last three years, this Government has put in place robust measures to help rebuild our economy. The recent positive GDP figures show growth in manufacturing, services and construction sectors, and Wales has seen the largest increase in the employment rate of any region in the UK.
“With businesses taking on more people, we are providing more families with the stability and security of a regular pay packet and more young people with the opportunities they need to get on in life.
But there is still more work to be done. As we look ahead to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement next month, it is important for me to have the opportunity to hear the type of policy proposals business representatives in Wales would like the Treasury to consider to help further stimulate the Welsh economy.
Given to the significant infrastructure announcements that have been made by this Government since the last Budget, I was particularly interested to hear what their additional infrastructure improvements they would like to see included. 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 was also updated on progress made by the Wales Office’s Infrastructure Working Group.
Rob Saunders, Head of Energy at the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) was also welcomed to the meeting. Mr Saunders delivered a presentation on the agency’s work to support business-led research and development, outlining how Welsh companies with innovative ideas could benefit from the support on offer.
Mr Jones added:
The Business Advisory Group meetings provide an important opportunity for me to gauge first hand how businesses are faring on the ground in Wales, to hear their views on how Government policy is affecting them, and what more can be done to support growth.
With Mr. Saunders joining us today, we had the opportunity to look more closely at other avenues and support streams that businesses in Wales can access to further support their ambitions for growth.