Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Increased financial autonomy can help boost the Welsh economy - Danny Alexander MP

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, yesterday welcomed the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, to Wales as they unveiled the Welsh Liberal Democrats policies that can ensure Wales’ “Closed for business” sign is taken down.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have pledged to focus relentlessly on boosting economic growth, creating jobs and tackling low skills and making sure that Wales is a good place to do business.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats manifesto, to be launched tomorrow, will include measures to:

· Create jobs and improve our economy by offering businesses £2,000 for staff training if they provide jobs to unemployed young people.

· Create a Jobs and Growth Innovation Programme to increase the number of patents, establish business mentoring schemes and upgrade old manufacturing sites for new jobs.

· Freeze business rates for a year.

· Cut red tape for businesses by introducing a ‘one-in-one-out’ rule whereby no new regulations are brought in without other regulations being cut.

· Streamline inspection of businesses by co-ordinating and minimising the number of visits. We’ll also target repeat offenders and inspect compliant businesses less, with the aim of co-operative compliance rather than prosecution.

· Allow councils to fund regeneration projects, paid for from future business rate income through Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:
“Wales needs a government that understands business and the importance that the private sector plays in boosting jobs and growth. Sometimes, the Labour-Plaid government gives every impression of not even liking business.

“They are guilty of piling layers of additional complexity on Welsh firms that businesses investing the other side of the Severn Bridge will not have to navigate. That ‘Closed for Business’ sign needs to come down. Business needs to know that those who invest in Wales and create jobs will be helped, not hindered.

“Cities in England and Scotland now have the ability to invest in their area, funded through future business rate receipts. It is essential that the Welsh government takes measures to ensure that Welsh towns are not left behind. These are powers that Wales currently has. We need a government that uses these powers.”

Danny Alexander MP said:

“Kirsty Williams and the Welsh Liberal Democrats are the only party who are showing that they have the vision and determination to really get the Welsh economy moving.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats proposal to establish Economic Development Zones in deprived areas with preferential business rates and training incentives mirrors the UK government’s announcement of enterprise zones and will help boost the Welsh economy and improve skills.

“After the control freakery of the Labour years, we now have a government in Westminster that is actively looking to devolve more powers where possible. We have already committed to work with the new Welsh government to develop a Calman-style process.

“This will aim to develop the financial autonomy of the Welsh government to give Wales more opportunity to create the right environment for encouraging growth, for example by varying stamp duty.”
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