Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan chaired the first meeting of the Business Advisory Group at Gwydyr House, London, today (Tuesday, 14 December).
The group has been established by the Welsh Secretary to examine the business environment in Wales and to listen to the views of Welsh business leaders. The information will be fed into the UK Business Advisory Group chaired by the Prime Minister
Mrs Gillan and Welsh Office Minister David Jones welcomed representatives from across the business spectrum in Wales to hear at first hand their views on the business environment in Wales.
Mrs Gillan said: “The formation of this group could not come at a more urgent time, following recent figures that confirmed that Wales has fallen further behind the rest of the UK in terms of prosperity and many of the poorest areas in the UK remain in Wales.
“At this introductory meeting I wanted to focus on what Advisory Group members think are the main strengths and weaknesses of the business environment in Wales and how we build for future growth.
“The Business Advisory Group allows me to discuss how Welsh businesses are coping ‘on the ground’, and gives attendees the opportunity to share issues that they feel affect the economy in Wales and affect them directly in doing business.”
Mrs Gillan added: “While unemployment in Wales has shown signs of improvement, youth unemployment rose dramatically throughout Wales under the previous Government, a stark reminder why it is so important that we are able to provide jobs for our young people.”
Those attending the meeting included:
- David Rosser, CBI Wales
- Russell Lawson, Federation of Small Businesses (FBI) Wales
- Steve Thomas, Airbus
- Phil Orford, Forum of Private Business
- Dylan Jones Evans, University of Wales
- Graham Hillier, Toyota
- Colin Orr Burns, Dragon LNG
- Professor Stuart Cole, Wales Transport Research Centre
- Professor Wayne Powell, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University
- Paul Gorin, Smart Solutions Recruitment
Other members of the Group sent their apologies today. Members agreed the Business Advisory Group should meet quarterly, with the next meeting in March.