Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan has today [24th October] chaired the Wales Office Business Advisory Group at Tata Steel in Port Talbot.
This was the fourth meeting for the group, whose members include representatives of business organisations and in key sectors such as manufacturing, retail, transport, energy and financial services as well as Welsh academics. Group members including representatives from Smart Solutions, Airbus and the Dragon LNG took a tour of the Tata plant before meeting the Welsh Secretary to discuss the business environment in Wales.
Mrs. Gillan said: “It is appropriate that our fourth Business Advisory Group meeting was hosted by Tata Steel, who are one of the biggest employers in Wales and a key investor in the economy and workforce in South Wales. I have visited the Port Talbot works twice in the past year as Welsh Secretary, most recently with Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable, and am always impressed by the leadership and commitment shown by the local Tata management and workforce.
“With the Welsh Government finally announcing their plans for Enterprise Zones in Wales, my hope is that there will be significantly more attractive opportunities to invest in Wales, for both domestic and international organisations. As we have discussed today, the only way to ensure sustained economic growth is to help businesses invest and expand. This Government is committed to investing millions in the infrastructure businesses need to invest in Wales, such as broadband and rail electrification. It is vital that Wales is ahead of the curve, to remain strong and competitive and I am pushing hard for further investment for the valley train lines, which would significantly boost access to the jobs market.
“Today’s Business Advisory Group has been an opportunity to hear from businesses on the ground in Wales, who at present are facing some challenging times, as recent labour market statistics have highlighted. The meeting today has been an opportunity to hear what businesses are doing and I have been able to update them on some of the actions the Government is undertaking to improve trade, investment and growth conditions in the economy, including the major infrastructure projects we have announced, the recent phases of the Red Tape Challenge, lowering Corporation Tax and the next phase of the growth review.
“As Welsh Secretary, I want to help improve the landscape and conditions for Welsh businesses and organisations in any way I can. I will continue to ensure that Wales is at the heart of negotiations and developments affecting the UK.”