Welsh economy on fast track growth trajectory Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns tells business leaders
Speaking at the ACCA Cymru/Wales St David’s Day Breakfast Alun Cairns said that the private sector in Wales was performing strongly.
The UK’s economic recovery is bearing fruit in Wales with strong private sector job creation set to continue Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns told a business audience in Cardiff today.
The Vale of Glamorgan Tory PM delivered a pre-election rallying call when he addressed the ACCA Cymru/Wales St David’s Day Breakfast.
Mr Cairns said: “Business has a government (UK) that is supporting growth ambitions by deregulating, cutting the burden of taxation and investing in the infrastructure needed to compete and grow.”
He added: “A course for strong economic growth in Wales has been set.
“A plan is in place that is the best chance we have to create the modern prosperous Wales that we all want. The biggest risk we face is not finishing the job. The last thing that Wales needs is political and economic uncertainty.
He said outside of the south east of England the Welsh economy was the fastest growing in the UK.
And its growth was being supported by the UK Government’s investment in superfast broadband, a £212m investment in a super prison in Wrexham and rail electrification in South Wales.
On new devolved powers for Wales, announced today by Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, he said: “Back in November we said that Wales would be at the heart of the debate on further devolution in the UK and the package being announced today fulfils that promise and ensures a strong Wales going forward.”
“But as important as constitutional matters are to people in Wales, the constitution is not the defining issue in Welsh politics. Up and down the country the defining issue to individuals and businesses is the economy.”
Against this growth background Mr Cairns reminded his audience that those that lacked faith in the private sector, have been proved wrong because it is the private sector that has created more than 100,000 jobs in Wales over the last few years.
He said: “It is the growth in the private sector that has created 26,000 more businesses in Wales over the last four years and it is the private sector that is driving the 31% growth in exports since 2010 with UKTI helping to return Wales to the days when we had the Welsh Development Agency when we were the magnet for inward investment. “
Wales had, he told his audience, made significant progress with he UK economy growing faster than anywhere in the G7.
“Granted this growth is from a low base, but Wales is now being seen as a beacon of economic success – a great place to start and grow a business.”
New products and new jobs are being created, Mr Cairns said, from advanced manufacturing, ICT and advanced life sciences,
The Prime Minister, he said, rightly celebrated this confirmation of Britain’s position as a global hub of technology excellence. And South Wales being part of that is exactly what Wales needs to be able to compete in the global market place.
Mr Cairns said: “It is little surprise to me that South Wales was announced as one of the UK’s fastest growing tech clusters ranked with inner London and greater Manchester in terms of the number of new digital companies formed since 2010.
“It has also been identified along with Berkshire and Cambridge as an area with the highest density of digital companies and one of the parts of the UK that is predicted to benefit from the growth in digital jobs expected by 2020.”
He added: “Wales needs to be at the cutting edge of new product development and innovations. Wales needs a government that understands what the economy needs to be able to grow.
“In 2010 businesses called for a government to support growth and create the conditions to enable you to compete.
“So a key part of our long term economic plan is quite simply to get government out of your way which is why we have slashed our way through unnecessary and over burdensome red tape.”
“We are on the right path to create a stronger economy and we need to carry on with the work we have started.”