Driving Forward the Welsh Economy Debate

Eluned Morgan

Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on the Welsh Government’s plans to drive forward the Welsh economy?

Ken Skates

Yes. ‘Prosperity for All’ frames our actions to grow our economy and spread opportunity. The economic action plan that will support the delivery of ‘Prosperity for All’ will be published this autumn

 

Eluned Morgan
That’s excellent news; we’ve all been looking forward to that because the UK Government’s austerity measures have meant that, at local authority level, we’ve seen a 65 per cent reduction in the money in economic development departments, a 45 per cent reduction in planning departments. Because of that massive reduction at local authority level, I just wonder if the Cabinet Secretary could tell us what communication he’s had with local government in drawing up those plans and also his communications with the private sector who are going to be key to driving this new model forward.

                          

I think it’s essential that we look at the distinctive strengths of each of the regions and also that we tackle the regional inequalities that have persisted too long in Wales. I also think that infrastructure, both physical and digital, plays a critical role in developing the economy across all communities. That’s why I’m pleased with regard, specifically, to the region that the Member represents, that we are taking forward a pinch-points programme for road infrastructure, that the TrawsCymru free weekend provision is proving incredibly popular, and that, through reforms to local bus services, through the new franchise for Wales and the borders, we will be enhancing connectivity across Wales and in the area that the Member represents—Mid and West Wales
The Member is right that partnership will be crucial in ensuring that our focus on regional and place-based economic development is a success. Last week, I was delighted to meet with economic development leaders and with lead officials from across local authorities in Wales to discuss the proposals. I was also pleased last week to meet with Menter a Busnes to discuss the proposals that Welsh Government has for regional working. Today, I’m pleased to be able to inform Members that Welsh Government is appointing three deputy directors to lead in those respective regions. It’s going to be absolutely imperative that all local authorities work together on a regional basis to enhance the economic development provision within their collective area. We will play a part in that process as well by having deputy directors and regional units operating in tandem and in alliance with local government.
I think it’s essential that we look at the distinctive strengths of each of the regions and also that we tackle the regional inequalities that have persisted too long in Wales. I also think that infrastructure, both physical and digital, plays a critical role in developing the economy across all communities. That’s why I’m pleased with regard, specifically, to the region that the Member represents, that we are taking forward a pinch-points programme for road infrastructure, that the TrawsCymru free weekend provision is proving incredibly popular, and that, through reforms to local bus services, through the new franchise for Wales and the borders, we will be enhancing connectivity across Wales and in the area that the Member represents—Mid and West Wales
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