Speaking to the CBI in North Wales (September 17), Alun Cairns said businesses in North Wales are “perfectly positioned to play an integral role in the Northern Powerhouse”.
He told a dinner of CBI North Wales delegates: “This is a fantastic opportunity for North Wales and we need to grab it with both hands. There is little point standing on the sidelines. I want North Wales to be key to the main action.”
Mr Cairns said the Northern Powerhouse agenda is gathering momentum with “significant powers” being devolved to other areas the country.
In his speech, the Wales Office Minister also said:
The Northern Powerhouse is an opportunity to redress the North-South economic imbalance
• It is vital that Wales invests in its young people or companies could face recruitment problems in the eastern parts of North Wales - “competition in the labour market is a risk. I want that competition to be between companies, and not countries.”
• MPs, AMs, business leaders and councils should join together with a “clear set of priorities and a clear plan of action” on transport infrastructure.
• Businesses should ignore “political tensions” around the Northern Powerhouse in the run-up to the Assembly elections.
Mr Cairns said:
We have a wealth of industry that puts North Wales on the map as a global hub of manufacturing excellence.
North Wales’ export base and reputation for big energy projects makes it a perfect partner for closer collaboration to expand the economy of the north, as well as a dynamic small business sector across to Anglesey and Gwynedd.
Mr Cairns last month met James Wharton, the Northern Powerhouse Minister, on a visit to Deeside. Read more about it here.