The chartered accountancy body has written to all Welsh political parties urging them to commit to four key economic themes if elected: delivering investment, infrastructure and tax reform; promoting business support and skills; supporting the economy through public services; and improving the sustainability of Welsh businesses.
ICAEW said parties should commit to deliver investment, infrastructure and tax reform with a range of measures including access to superfast broadband, better mobile coverage and business rates reform. Addressing transport bottlenecks, such as the M4 at Newport, would also help with this.
To promote skills, ICAEW asked parties to make it easier for employers to take on young people and to introduce apprenticeships above Level 4, with opportunities for the workforce to retrain and help for companies to maximise the benefits of the UK internal market and post-Brexit exports.
Meanwhile, regional economic plans should be drawn up to create a national document with clear, measurable, and time-bound goals for Wales’s economic recovery. ICAEW said the documents should reflect city and growth deals, with a forum in place for business leaders to share their views with ministers.
And to improve the sustainability of Welsh businesses, ICAEW suggested that the environmental benefits from the pandemic, such as home working reducing commuting, should be retained to improve the carbon footprint of businesses and public services. The organisation also called for investment in renewables and green-based businesses.
Beverley Waters, ICAEW Regional Director for Wales, said:
“As Wales considers how best to shape the country following coronavirus and Brexit, we’re calling on the political parties running for the Senedd to commit to a future-proof, sustainable economic recovery.
“The four themes we have highlighted - investment in infrastructure, promoting skills and sustainability and supporting public services – will ensure our economy is strong and competitive in the coming years, and we hope all parties will commit to them.”
The four themes were informed by the ICAEW Wales Strategy Board, which represents 3,200 ICAEW Chartered Accountants who work with Welsh businesses, using their business experience and knowledge of the Welsh economy.
Please direct all media enquiries to Jude Obi, Senior Media Relations Executive, ICAEW.