On 19th July, the Chamber Director attended the Council for Economic Development. This is a meeting of all the key business organisations in Wales attended by membership bodies, trade associations and trade unions. Chaired by Carwyn Jones, the First Minister, it was also attended by the Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure; Mark Drakeford, The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, and Local Government and Julie James, the Minister for Skills and Science.
This Council is a key forum in Wales for the voice of business to be heard by the Welsh Assembly.
Topics yesterday ranged from EU Transition (Brexit) , City Deals and Regional Growth, skills and Tertiary Education.
The Chamber is well connected and meets regularly with both UK and Welsh politicians to be at the heart of discussions to ensure the voice of SME’s are being heard by decision makers. It also means we are amongst the first to hear news and updates as they emerge from ongoing discussions. This enables us keep you up to date with what’s happening, to help you make informed decisions and to better support your business to trade in uncertain times.
Although we are doing business amidst complex and challenging issues, by discussing and understanding what it means to your businesses we can reflect your views on the legal , workforce and trade implications. Tell us what matters most to you, and we will ensure we reflect these issues to politicians and decision makers.
If you want to know more or be involved please get in touch with your Relationship Manager. ”
Here is a full statement:
This morning, the Council for Economic Development (CfED) had a discussion on EU Transition and the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Council members also addressed detailed analytical issues, addressed concerns on skills availability, and provided feedback on business confidence.
The Council is made up of a range of business representatives, social enterprise and trade union representatives and is chaired by the First Minister. The First Minister, Finance and Local Government Secretary and Economy and Infrastructure Secretary updated the Council on:
the recent developments from the UK Government,
engagement with other Devolved Administrations,
the Welsh Government’s EU policy papers,
priorities in terms of Single Market access, migration and social, environmental and economic protections and
the First Minister’s recent visit to Brussels where he met Michel Barnier and presented the Welsh Government’s White Paper, Securing Wales’ Future.
The First Minister also proposed to establish a working group to focus purely on business impact and to report back to the Council, chaired by Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates, which Council members overwhelmingly welcomed.
On the EU Withdrawal Bill, the First Minister outlined the significance of the Bill, the huge challenge it presents to the devolution settlement and how the UK Government must cooperate and collaborate with the Welsh Government.
The First Minister expressed concern that the Bill attempts to take back control over devolved policies such as the environment, agriculture and fisheries, not just from Brussels but from all three Devolved Administrations, which he said was unacceptable.
The First Minister said the Welsh Government has made repeated calls for any Bill brought to respect the devolution settlements, which have been enforced by referendums, just as the decision to leave the EU was.
The Council were agreed that the key economic interests of Wales had to be properly recognised in the Brexit negotiations and urge the UK Government to engage fully with the Welsh Government to ensure this happens. Council members requested that Brexit Secretary David Davis attend a future meeting to discuss the impacts of Brexit on the Welsh economy.
It was recognised that, whatever the long-term effects of EU exit on the Welsh economy, in the short-term there are major economic risks that need to be carefully managed. In pursuing the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the UK Government must ensure that the transition process minimises disruption to the economy and that any legal system in place after ‘Exit Day’ is fit-for-purpose and meets the needs of all the nations of the United Kingdom.