The UK Government must urgently provide a stable, long term strategy to tackle the urgent economic challenges facing Wales and the UK, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething will say today.
The Minister made the call ahead of the first UK Interministerial Group for Business and Industry meeting of 2023, which will bring together ministers and senior officials from the Welsh Government, UK Government, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive. Following the meeting, the Minister will update the Senedd later this afternoon.
The Welsh Government is working constantly to prioritise the long term action needed to create better jobs in stronger businesses, narrow the skills divide and tackle poverty. The Minister for the Economy will call for a strong focus on sustainable growth that unlocks opportunities for Wales and ends an era of damaging economic centralism.
In the coming months, the Economy Minister will launch several initiatives to continue supporting the Welsh economy, including:
- a new net zero skills action plan, setting out how Welsh Government will work with businesses and workers to embrace the skills that will drive a low carbon economy
- a new innovation strategy, with clear missions, from better health outcomes to stronger business, designed to win more investment in a more innovative Wales
- a new green business loan scheme, providing low-cost loans with consultancy support to help businesses lower their energy costs for good
- a refreshed manufacturing action plan, setting out our ambitions for a Welsh manufacturing sector with a truly global reach that supports good jobs in local communities.
The Minister will also highlight the progress made in engaging in partnership with the UK Government on freeports and the future of borders policy.
However, there are significant challenges and concerns in urgent areas which require action from the UK Government such as carbon emissions trading, the semiconductor cluster and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said:
“The UK economy is now in a worse position than any other G7 nation and economic centralism is part of the problem. Forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England indicate unemployment in Wales increasing between 20,000 and 40,000 over the next 18 months. Inflation is expected to remain at around 10% over the first half of this year, and productivity is weak.
“The impact of soaring energy bills and inflation was intensified by the UK Government’s disastrous early autumn mini-budget which baked in preventable harm at the worst conceivable time.
“Last week's announcement by Liberty Steel demonstrates UK government action is now essential, not optional.
“Wales and the rest of the UK needs the UK Government to develop a responsible and coherent strategy for sustainable economic recovery and growth.
“The lessons are clear - good engagement has the power to deliver stronger economic outcomes. It is time for the UK Government to invest in partnership to develop a stronger Welsh economy in a fairer, more secure UK economy.”