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Let our voice be heard

The theme of my blogs in recent times has been heavily influenced by the 'interesting times' that we have currently, headed by the specter of Brexit. However, here in Wales, we also have the fact that all the major political parties will have changed their leader in the Assembly by the end of the year and we can therefore expect some quite significant shifts in policy and perhaps direction in the New Year.

Martin Warren
As Chartered Accountants we work across all private, public and third sectors in Wales managing, advising or governing organisations which contribute to the Welsh economy. Many of our number are influential and can directly input into the political debate but all of us have a stake in what is happening and a responsibility to let others know the issues we are facing and the needs that our economy has.

As ICAEW Director for Wales I do have access to Ministers and officials of Welsh Government and I can air your views but only if I know what you would like to be said. It is also true to say that the Welsh Government is actively seeking the views of business but it so very hard for them to get beyond the figureheads and professional bodies and get a real grass roots feel for the main issues.

There are however some things you can do to make a difference to the evidence used to determine the policies going forward.

  1. Visit the Business Wales Brexit Portal https://businesswales.gov.wales/brexit/  It provides a diagnostic tool to assess your business’s readiness for Brexit and at the same time you can add to the Welsh Government’s database the key issues that you think need resolution in any deal that may be reached.
  2. The Welsh Government has set up a Fair Work Commission which is calling for evidence upon which it can base its recommendations. The Government will act upon those recommendations so don’t let legislation come forward and then complain. Go to the website https://beta.gov.wales/fair-work-commission and make your views known.
  3. The Competition and Markets Authority are actively seeking intelligence about the market in Wales and would like to know about any business practices which people are concerned may be distorting markets or be anti-competitive. Please contact Simon Harris harris@cma.gov.uk if you feel anything needs investigation.
  4. An announcement will be made soon regarding the development or otherwise of the M4 relief road and the “Black Route” proposal. ICAEW has not yet entered the debate but we should have a view. So tell me if you support an early decision to create a relief road and if so which route your prefer.

And finally ICAEW is looking at the concerns being expressed around the country about Skills shortages and would like to accumulate intelligence. So

(a) Is your business encountering shortages?
(b) Is it sector or skill specific and across all experience levels?
(c) Is it getting worse?
(d) Are your competitors suffering too and therefore is there competition for staff?
(e) What action are you taking and is it having an effect?
(f)  Will Brexit have an impact?
(g) Could Government do anything to help?

Please let me now so that I can feed views from Wales into the national analysis.

Martin J Warren FCA
ICAEW Regional Director for Wales