DTM Partner, Richard Thomas, yesterday attended the North Wales Economic Ambition Board (“NWEAB”) launch event at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Richard is one of the three private sector representatives who sit on the NWEAB through his role as chair of the North Wales Chamber of Commerce.
Whilst billed as a launch event the NWEAB has been operating for several years now but has gained considerable momentum in recent months. Hosted by NWEAB chair, Councillor Dilwyn Roberts, the event painted a very upbeat picture of work that is currently being undertaken across North Wales to improve the economy and to create an environment in which business can succeed and take advantage of the opportunities that are available.
The event was attended by Edwina Hart, the Welsh Government Minister for Economy, Science and Transport and Mrs Hart praised the work that is being done by NWEAB to coordinate the various strands that are necessary for the purpose of improving the economic performance of the region. Mrs Hart also recognised the natural trading area of North Wales which is across the political border into the North West of England and encouraged the NWEAB in its efforts to become an integral part of the “Northern Powerhouse”.
Several Assembly Members for North Wales also attended and the delegates heard from Horizon, the company responsible for Wylfa Newydd, the new nuclear power station on Anglesey and Lend Lease, the company responsible for constructing the North Wales prison at Wrexham. Both were extremely complimentary of the manner in which the public sector, private sector and education sector, through the NWEAB, had come together and worked positively on these projects for the benefit of the region.
Also speaking was Ashley Rogers, the new Chair of the North Wales Business Council, representing the private sector, who championed the cooperative approach of the NWEAB and highlighted the significant opportunities that are currently, or shortly will be, available for businesses in North Wales.
Richard Thomas said: “The event was a tremendous success and North Wales was able to demonstrate the current strength of its economy. Last year the economy was apparently valued at £11Billion and there is currently investment of £20Billion being made with projects of national importance such as Wylfa Newydd and the largest UK prison in Wrexham well under way. The NWEAB has a vital role to play in all this to ensure the region approaches all these opportunities in a structured and cohesive way in order to maximise the potential for local business and therefore the community as a whole.
Despite the considerable investment that is currently being made, North Wales still wants more and further hard work is going to be necessary. However, it was pleasing to hear the very positive words of support from Edwina Hart for the work the NWEAB is doing and her formal recognition that business in North Wales flows naturally across the political border of England and Wales and increased cooperation between organisations on both sides of the border is necessary”.
Richard is always keen to hear from businesses in North Wales both in relation to stories of success and also difficulties that they face that he and the Chamber of Commerce may be able to assist with and if you wish to discuss any such matters with Richard please do not hesitate to contact him.