FSB responds to the confirmation of Vaughan Gething as First Minister of Wales

Press Releases 20 Mar 2024

Speaking on the confirmation of Vaughan Gething as Wales’s new First Minister, Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair stated “As Vaughan Gething takes up his role as our new First Minister, on behalf of FSB’s membership, I wish him all the very best and every success in his new role."

During his time as Minister for Economy, we have enjoyed a very positive and productive relationship with Mr Gething and have appreciated the time and attention he has devoted to the opportunities and challenges for small businesses in the wider economy. We look forward to continuing that proactive and positive engagement in his new role and with members of his new Cabinet when it is appointed.

The Welsh economy and its businesses - both large and small - face very profound challenges – whether addressing the urgent concerns of hospitality businesses or dealing with the situation at Tata in Port Talbot. There are choices ahead for the new First Minister and his government as to how we address those challenges in the mission to reinforce and regrow our economy sustainably and fairly and promote and recognise the role played by entrepreneurs in that mission.

For that to happen, there is a need to build a new and ambitious economic strategy for Wales to direct Welsh Government resource and decision making and outline a positive vision for sustainable economic growth, the development of entrepreneurship and new skills and technologies to grow our competitiveness in a greening global economy.

We need an economic vision which speaks to all businesses throughout Wales to ensure that no community in Wales is excluded from the ambition of economic development. That in turn requires a new, whole-of-government approach which engages more proactively with the business community and sees that community as an enabler and a partner for tackling the challenges around net zero, increasing our competitiveness and future proofing our economy.

Having helped shape the Welsh Government’s economic mission as Economy Minister, we look forward to Mr Gething driving that central mission through social partnership with the full authority of First Minister, and ensuring government policy fulfils the long-term mission of economic development in Wales, using all levers at his disposal.

To help develop this approach, we are today calling for a Welsh New Deal for Business agenda, building on the approach undertaken by the Scottish Government and the Scottish business community, to look at embedding new productive and positive relationships across government with business to inform policy and decision-making, consider the impact of policy on business, build partnership and help create the conditions for the development of a competitive wellbeing economy.

Any change of leadership in Welsh Government is an opportunity to look forward as to what is needed next. As we look forward to instilling business confidence and regrowing our economy after many difficult and testing years, we would urge the new First Minister to set out and reinforce that confident tone in a way which brings the necessary partners to the table with a shared mission.

As Wales’s largest business organisation, we look forward to playing our part in that.