Influential business leaders and politicians from across both sides of the Welsh border are being brought together today by Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates
The cross border summit, to be held at Coleg Cambria, Flintshire, is intended to drive focussed discussion on how cross border economic development can be accelerated by a range of mutually-advantageous initiatives, including modernising the transport network, a clear cross-border economic development strategy and a strong cross-border economic team.
The Economy and Infrastructure Secretary will be joined at the Northop campus by Wales Office Minister Guto Bebb, and representatives from a range of business organisations including the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses, CBI, the WLGA, the North Wales Business Council, Welsh Enterprise Zone chairs, the Cheshire and North Wales Chamber and the Mersey Dee Alliance.
Speaking ahead of the Summit, Ken Skates said:
“I have high economic ambitions for North Wales and am determined to do all I can to drive economic growth and prosperity across the region.
“The Northern Powerhouse represents a huge opportunity for North Wales and I am committed to ensuring Wales is right at the forefront of decision making and bid development so we can secure the very best future for the region.
“I want to use this summit to discuss a range of ways in which I believe we can help to drive an arc of prosperity, from Holyhead right through to Manchester and beyond.
“We must ensure we are aligning our priorities with that of the Northern Powerhouse, particularly in the context of North Wales Growth deal, as well as developing the very best vehicles for effective cross border working.
“This could include the establishment of a small, cross border working group to forward the views and recommendations of the summit and I look forward to discussing these matters and others at today’s summit.
“This is time to look outward with confidence behind shared regional objectives and for operating as an engine of economic development, not an anchor.”
The North Wales Summit follows publication of The Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review last week.
The Review highlights areas in which the North is a world leader and also identifies the measures needed to bring about improvements to the region’s economy. It says radical change is needed to close skills and productivity gaps but that such changes could potentially result in 850,000 jobs by 2050.
Welsh Office Minister, Guto Bebb said:
“Today’s summit reflects the importance of North Wales and the role it plays in it’s connection to the Northern Powerhouse.
“We are very pleased to be here working side by side with the Welsh Government, which only helps us to achieve more for the area. In wake of the EU referendum result it is critical that we look to all opportunities that can strengthen our economy. Securing a growth deal will most certainly help build the region’s economy and maximise on the connections to the Northern Powerhouse. We welcome the Chancellor’s commitment and cross border collaboration. This is very good for news for North Wales."