Mims Davies: “North Wales Growth Deal Must Keep The Momentum Going As We Head Into The Home Straight”

New UK Government Minister for Wales to undertake two-day series of engagements North Wales

Office of the Secretary of State for Wales

Office of the Secretary of State for Wales

Proposals for a North Wales Growth Deal must now gather momentum as it heads into the final stages of negotiations, UK Government in Wales Minister Mims Davies will say today as she kicks off a two-day visit to the region (21-22 August).

Undertaking her first official engagements in Wales, Mims Davies will underline the UK Government’s vision for North Wales and bring new energy to the North Wales Growth Deal.

The North Wales Growth Deal is a UK Government manifesto commitment, setting out an ambitious vision for the region for the next 15 years.

Minister Davies will begin her programme with a meeting with the Chair of the North Wales Growth Board Cllr. Aaron Shotton, and Vice Chairman Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn at OpTIC Glyndwr in St Asaph.

She will also meet with each of the individual council leaders involved in bringing the deal to life where she will issue a rallying call to ensure every sinew of strength is being thrown behind the effort to develop strong and innovative business cases that will get the deal over the line.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Minister Davies said:

Growth deals, like the one we are driving forward in North Wales can produce real, tangible results such as jobs, investment in transport and bringing business and local authorities together.

Over the coming days, weeks and months, I am looking forward to meeting the deal makers, the innovators, the business leaders of this region who will be central to making this deal a success.

The prizes that await for North Wales could be transformational. Now is the time to come together for a final push on a proposal that is underwritten by expertise and local knowledge and ensure we get this deal off the drawing board and over the finishing line.

Cllr Aaron Shotton, Chair of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and Leader of Flintshire County Council said:

We are looking forward to meeting with the Minister to discuss the progress we have made in developing a bid that will deliver on key themes across the region.

The focus now must be on collaboration and prioritising the most crucial programmes that will impact on our communities and boost the North Wales economy, with a focus on digital connectivity, job creation and transport links.

We would like to thank her in advance for supporting the Ambition Board and for taking the time to witness first-hand the hard work that’s gone in to putting together a bid that will benefit the economy and residents of North Wales. Our immediate focus is to ensure that a Growth Bid for North Wales is a key feature in the upcoming Autumn Budget, which will ultimately shape the growing and dynamic region that we are all striving for.

The Minister will also highlight the region’s growing reputation as the go-to destination for thrill-seeking tourists with a visit to Surf Snowdonia.

The attraction has this year unveiled plans for a multimillion-pound expansion which includes the addition of a four-star hotel with spa and conference and wedding facilities. A new indoor adventure attraction is also envisaged.

Here, the Minister will host a meeting of small businesses from the region to hear their views on how the UK Government can support their own growth potential and compete in the global economy.

Justin Everley, commercial director at Surf Snowdonia said:

It’s an absolute pleasure for us to welcome the Minister to Surf Snowdonia during her visit to North Wales. We’re looking forward to introducing her to our employees and sharing our story so far – and we’re excited to be able to share our development plans which will allow us to grow and evolve our business in 2019 and beyond.

Fox Launches Ambitious New Export Strategy To Boost British Businesses

New export strategy aims to increase UK total exports as a proportion of GDP to 35%

Flight Paths

Flight Paths

  • Liam Fox sets out ambitious new plan to make Britain a 21st century exporting superpower
  • government sets new ambition to increase exports as a proportion of UK GDP to 35%
  • a government-led collaboration with business developed after extensive engagement with range of UK businesses
  • streamlined and targeted offer for businesses of all sizes, set to raise productivity, boost wages and protect employment across the UK

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP, will today (Tuesday 21 August) set out how the government will make Britain a 21st century exporting superpower through better use of our overseas network, new online tools and building an extensive business to business network.

This comes as the government continues to roll out sector deals as part of the Industrial Strategy, boosting jobs and growth in the areas where the UK has a competitive edge – now supporting the export of this expertise across the world.

Research shows that companies that export have increased growth potential, are more productive and have better paid jobs.

Last year £620 billion of goods and services exported by British companies accounted for 30% of our GDP, with UK exports are at a record high.

However, the Department for International Trade estimates that 400,000 businesses believe they could export but don’t, while demand for British expertise and goods overseas is only growing.

Dr Fox, joined by Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, will today set out the government’s long-term ambition to go further and increase total exports as a proportion of GDP to 35%.

Responding to a call from business, The Export Strategy outlines how the government will produce smarter and more tailored support to UK companies. There are key elements to the strategy to support companies selling overseas:

  • encourage and inspire more businesses to export

This includes an increased focus on amplifying the voice of existing exporters to inspire other businesses and facilitating peer-to-peer learning.

  • inform businesses by providing information, advice and practical assistance on exporting

New measures include developing great.gov.uk into a single digital platform for both domestic business growth and export support and working with large companies to help build the capability of UK supply chains. We will also assess financial incentives and signposting as a means to support SMEs access new markets and private sector export support.

  • connect UK businesses to overseas buyers, markets and each other

New measures include support for businesses looking to invest overseas and developing an online tool enabling businesses to submit non-tariff barriers they face.

  • put finance at the heart of our offer

Deploying an awareness campaign to target UK exporters most likely to benefit from up to £50 billion worth of export finance and insurance support from UKEF, and promoting UKEF support in overseas markets to help UK companies and consortia win contracts.

In a speech to a business audience in London, International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP is expected to say:

The United Kingdom is a great exporting nation and our exporters lead the way, in creating jobs, raising wages and growing our economy.

UK businesses are superbly placed to capitalise on the rapid changes in the global economic environment and I believe the UK has the potential to be a 21st century exporting superpower.

As an international economic department, we are determined to support, connect and grow UK companies on the world stage through our international network.

As we leave the EU, we must set our sights high and that is just what this Export Strategy will help us achieve.

Baroness Fairhead, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion at the Department of International Trade, said:

Since its creation 2 years ago, DIT has already helped thousands of UK companies to export – with exports now at a record high.

As the world’s sixth largest exporter, we do punch above our weight, however, we also punch below our potential. This Export Strategy sets out to change that and to increase exports as a proportion of GDP from 30% to 35%, taking us from the middle of the G7 to near the top. This is ambitious, but achievable.

This strategy builds on the UK Industrial Strategy and our existing export support services – our network of trade advisers and promoters across the UK and in 108 countries worldwide, UKEF’s £50 billion capacity to support exports in 60 currencies, and our great.gov.uk service. To achieve our aim, government must join up across departments to enable UK companies to succeed overseas.

This strategy is a first step – a foundation – for a new national drive to export.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

Expanding trade is fundamental to creating new jobs, raising productivity and increasing prosperity across the country. This strategy is a timely signal that the government is committed to improving the United Kingdom’s international competitiveness.

The CBI strongly supports the ambition to make exports 35% of GDP, which will put the UK out in front of many of our international competitors. We estimate that in every region of the country there are around 10% of businesses that could export, but don’t, and we look forward to working alongside the government to support and inspire them to seize the opportunity.

The CBI has consistently called for a long-term approach to exports. Previous strategies have come and gone, but businesses have been let down by their execution. Firms will work with the strong team in place at the Department for International Trade to ensure these plans are now rigorously carried out.

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

Dialing up the intensity of UK trade – both close to home and further afield – will be the cornerstone of our future economic success.

Working together, business and government have a real opportunity to turbo-charge UK exports, and help more of our firms increase sales and profits in markets all across the world. Our biggest competitors invest heavily in promoting their countries’ products and services, and the UK must match or exceed them.

We welcome the government’s pledge in the new Export Strategy to work hand-in-hand with business to unlock opportunities for UK firms all across the globe. A clear, long-term commitment to support British firms on the ground – both here at home and overseas – is needed to provide a springboard for many companies to take risks and go for growth.

Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

Maximising trade opportunities across the globe will be key to the UK’s future economic success, so we welcome this new export strategy, which provides a solid foundation upon which to build. The government deserves credit for investing time and effort in working with business to draw up this strategy, and we are delighted that a number of the IoD’s recommendations have been incorporated.

Improving the UK’s export performance will depend upon many variables, but the good news is that there is plenty that can be done now to help businesses, irrespective of Brexit. We will be encouraging our members to engage with government to make sure this strategy really takes off and enables British firms to realise their full trading potential.

The government’s new network of HM Trade Commissioners will help improve government-to-government relationships to reduce tariff and market access barriers as we leave the EU.

In a series of high-profile appointments by the department, earlier this year DIT appointed former Barclays head of corporate banking John Mahon as the UKs first Director General for Exports, to lead the implementation of the strategy.

And former Citgroup banking vice-chairman Mark Slaughter was appointed in June as Director General for Investment, to lead a drive to attract more investment into the UK.

The strategy builds on an already strong DIT offer to businesses which includes 250 International Trade Advisors around the UK, showcased export opportunities on great.gov.uk and UKEF support such as trade finance.

Trade Union Facility Time Publication Service: 2017-2018 Data Published

Today the Cabinet Office published all public sector facility time data submitted by organisations using the facility time reporting service

Cabinet Office/Whitehall

Cabinet Office/Whitehall

Today the Cabinet Office published all public sector facility time datasubmitted by organisations using the facility time reporting service.

Under the Trade Union (Facility Time Publication Requirements) Regulations 2017 all public sector organisations that employ over 49 full time employees are required to publish certain data relating to facility time usage within their annual reports, on their organisation website and also through the Cabinet Office reporting service, by the 31st July.

Over 55% of the total expected returns for most sectors were received, including the NHS and Local Authorities. However there are still many public sector bodies who have provided no data and are still required to do so. The Cabinet Office will be following up these late returns to ensure there is a full dataset in due course.

The Facility Time regulations are intended to ensure transparency of facility time and the associated costs to the taxpayer. Organisations should ensure the costs to the taxpayer of facility time are proportionate to the benefits in the delivery of public services.

Minister for Implementation Oliver Dowden said:

The regulations provide a framework for open and transparent monitoring. Greater accountability has already been introduced within the Civil Service, resulting in sensible savings.

Teens Tackle Cyber Security Programme

Cyber experts of the future were given a unique glimpse inside the world of digital security during a four-day programme designed to encourage young people into the industry

Students at the CyberFirst course hosted at Energus, Workington

Students at the CyberFirst course hosted at Energus, Workington

Around 45 students, aged 13 to 17, have taken part in the CyberFirst scheme, a government-recognised programme, developed by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre and run by Energus in west Cumbria.

The group worked alongside industry specialists to gain an insight into the critical role they could play in securing the nation’s digital infrastructure and services.

Training took place in a cyber lab environment, all aimed at giving the students a realistic experience of working in the cyber industry.

The STEM-related course underpins the skills and knowledge needed to prepare young people for the complex field of cyber security.

It included sessions on security devices, understanding networks, dealing with insecure devices, and securing yourself.

Cyber security and resilience has become a priority for industry and in January the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) funded the launch of the Cyber Lab classroom at Energus, with the aim of closing the skills gap in cyber security.

It forms part of an NDA cyber programme that is designed to grow capability and capacity for the NDA and its businesses, bolstered by an £80 million investment over the next 5 years in cyber safety.

Brad Cleaver, Business Services Manager at Energus, who ran the CyberFirst course, said:

We started recruiting for this course in October through drop-in sessions at schools across Cumbria. CyberFirst is an opportunity for our staff to spot potential cyber experts while encouraging computer science at school and future careers paths into apprenticeships and specific courses.

Yasmin El Mozer, aged 17, took part in the CyberFirst programme. She said that she’d had the chance to talk to cyber tutors and learn more about future career paths in the industry. The hands-on opportunity offered by the programme helped her understand the need for cyber security and how systems can be hacked.

Rob Higgins, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Security Information and Services Director, added:

The CyberFirst initiative is a pivotal part of the government’s National Cyber Security Programme. Cyber security and resilience is vital to the NDA and its estate, so encouraging young people into cyber-related careers will go a long way in helping to keep us safe in the future from the growing cyber threat.

Thousands To Benefit From New Congleton Bypass

Department for Transport to provide £45 million for a project to build a new 3.5-kilometre bypass in Congleton

Department for Transport

Department for Transport

Thousands of drivers every day will benefit from faster journeys thanks to a new bypass for Congleton.

The Department for Transport has today (20 August 2018) approved the brand new route, and will provide £45 million towards the £75 million project, which will save drivers on average 7 minutes per journey.

It will mean a 3.5-kilometre road connecting the A534 west of Congleton with the A536 to the north of the town, benefitting around 17,000 motorists alone.

The link road will also directly support more than 1,000 new homes, and will open up 9.3 hectares of business land by 2035 — as well as indirectly supporting an extra 1,475 homes and 10 hectares of employment land to the north of Congleton.

Transport Minister Liz Sugg said:

We are investing record amounts in improving our roads up and down the country to get drivers to shops, friends or work quicker than before.

This new bypass will not only lead to fewer accidents and cut congestion in Congleton, it will take lorries out of the town centre and improve air quality for its residents.

The link road will also help create new homes and jobs around Congleton, boosting the local economy.

Cyclists will also get a better link around Congleton as a cycleway and path will be built alongside the road.

The Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Rachel Bailey, said:

Confirmation of this funding for a much-needed road scheme in Congleton is excellent news for this council and, I am sure, for the people of the town.

This will significantly improve the quality of life for local people. It will remove congestion from the town centre, unlock key employment and housing sites, boosting the local economy, as well as creating vastly improved connectivity from the Macclesfield area of the borough through to the M6 corridor to Sandbach and Crewe.

This is fantastic news.

The works will start in October and end in 2020. Cheshire East is providing £9.63 million and £20.8 million will come from private developers.

The investment comes as part of a £55 million government boost for local road schemes, with money also being spent on improvements around Newhaven Port in Sussex.

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