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06 December 2018

FSB Welcomes Mark Drakeford as new Leader of Welsh Labour

Commenting on the news that Mark Drakeford has been elected as the new Leader of Welsh Labour, Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:

“FSB is pleased to welcome Mark Drakeford to his new post as Leader of Welsh Labour.

“We have enjoyed working closely with Welsh Government and Welsh Labour’s elected politicians for some time, and look forward to this continuing to be the case.

“Mark takes up this post at a critical time for the Welsh economy.

“Brexit uncertainty continues to prevail ahead of the UK Parliament vote on the Deal next week, and we have seen business confidence drop significantly in Wales in recent months. We have welcomed the moves by Welsh Government to introduce funding and the Brexit Portal to support businesses through the Brexit process, and will continue to work closely with the government to bolster business confidence as our exit from the EU continues to unfold.

“We are also at a crucial moment for our towns. Welsh towns and high streets are subject to increasing pressures. Following a survey of FSB members and of businesses and stakeholders across the country, some of the top issues identified included the threat of online retailing, empty shops, business rates and out-of-town development. We’ve issued a number of recommendations for change, and we are now looking to Welsh Government to be a part of a new conversation based on these trends, distinctive features and what we want our towns to be. 

“There are many other pertinent issues affecting the self-employed and small business community in Wales, such as how we promote our medium-sized firms, the need to take action on how we sell Wales to the world and support that can be provided to our rural economies through a Rural Taskforce. These are all issues that must be prioritised in the new First Minister’s early time in office.

“Our message to Mark is simple; our nation’s future prosperity relies on the success of our 250,000 micro, small and medium sized companies. Together, they provide jobs and wages to over 700,000 people in Wales, provide 62% of private sector employment and generate £48bn in sales every year. With the right leadership, this contribution can increase in local economies across all of Wales.”