Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan today (29th March) welcomed UK Business Secretary Vince Cable to the second meeting of the Wales Office’s Business Advisory Group, held at Cardiff University.
Mr. Cable joined Mrs. Gillan and members of the group representing Welsh businesses to discuss the Governments efforts to boost economic recovery in Wales and to hear their responses to the Governments Plan for Growth, set out alongside the Budget last week. The Business Secretary attended the talks as part of a private sector and manufacturing tour of South Wales, accompanied by the Secretary of State for Wales.
This was the second meeting of Business Advisory Group, whose members include representatives of business organisations and key sectors such as manufacturing, retail, transport, energy, and financial services, as well as Welsh Academics.
Mrs. Gillan said: “This meeting comes at an appropriate time for businesses in Wales. In last week’s Budget, we announced a number of new measures to stimulate growth, create jobs and attract investment, including cuts in Corporation Tax, measures to reduce red tape, and the Plan for Growth. As a Government we want to send out a message that Wales is open for business.
“These new measures will make Wales and the rest of the UK one of the best places in Europe to start, finance and grow a business, but we cannot do it without the feedback we receive from the businesses on the ground. That is why our meetings with business representatives here in Wales are vital in shaping our policy both at a Wales and UK-level. The support of organisations such as the OECD and major business groups shows that the Government has a credible plan to deal with the record budget deficit and to stimulate sustainable economic growth.
“The future for Welsh business is bright, with investment such as the £1billion electrification of the Great Western Mainline to South Wales and £10mn for superfast broadband in North West Wales. The challenge for the Welsh Assembly Government is to build on our commitments such as the development of Enterprise Zones, support for new apprenticeships and technical colleges, and help for first time home buyers, to ensure Wales and Welsh businesses are not disadvantaged.”
With the Secretary of State for Wales in the chair, the group discussed the implementation of the Plan for Growth, which aims to create the most competitive tax system in the G20 as well as a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe. Members then had the opportunity to talk the Business Secretary through their own experiences with the current business environment in Wales.
The next Business Advisory Group meeting will be held in June in London.
Earlier today, Mrs Gillan accompanied Business Secretary Vince Cable on his manufacturing tour of South Wales, starting in Swansea with a roundtable business discussion organised by the South Wales Chamber of Commerce.
Dr Cable and Mrs Gillan then visited the Tata Steel plant at Port Talbot to hear more about the company’s £185 million investment to improve efficiency and productivity at the site. Following the visit to Tata, both went on to visit Ford’s plant at Bridgend to see the latest state-of-the-art technology used in the EcoBoost engines produced at the factory and exported across the world.
Vince Cable said: “We are fortunate to have two globally renowned manufacturers here in South Wales. A third of all Ford auto engines sold internationally are made in Bridgend while steel manufactured at Port Talbot is successfully exported across the world.
“Both Tata Steel and Ford are investing millions in the UK, safeguarding and creating jobs. They demonstrate why manufacturing will play a key role in producing more sustainable growth not stimulated by property bubbles or over reliant on the financial services.”
Notes to Editors
- The Growth Review is a joint Treasury and BIS-led process, launched in November 2010 that aims to ensure all Government Departments are doing everything they can to help the country grow and recover from recession.
2. The Plan for Growth, containing the first outcomes of the Government’s growth review is published alongside the Budget and can be downloaded from: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/ukecon_growth_index.htm