Welsh Assembly gets business lessons

Members of the new Welsh Assembly elected last week are to receive lessons in business as part of their induction course into Wales’ first parliament for 800 years. Business leaders hope the course will make representatives think twice before imposing needless regulation on local industry. `You have 60 people trying to show they have a […]

Members of the new Welsh Assembly elected last week are to receive lessons in business as part of their induction course into Wales’ first parliament for 800 years.

Business leaders hope the course will make representatives think twice before imposing needless regulation on local industry.

`You have 60 people trying to show they have a value in life,’ said Elizabeth Hayward, CBI Wales director. `That’s fine if they understand the issues, but not if they want to introduce extra red tape.’

Engineering employers will be working with other business groups on a common position to put to the Assembly.

Terry Slater, chief executive of the Engineering Employers’ Federation’s western association, said: `There are a lot of first-time representatives and some have little knowledge of business. It is up to the business community to help them.’

Wales faces a period of uncertainty after Labour failed to get an overall majority in last week’s elections. This could be beneficial for industry, believes Hayward.

`The need for agreement between the parties will rub the rough edges off policies, particularly those which affect business,’ she said.

One test for the assembly will be whether it can balance its social objectives with the need to provide employment in a relatively poor region of the UK.

`You cannot push firms to take location decisions on a socio-political whim,’ said Hayward.

* Industry in Scotland is adopting a wait-and-see attitude to the political horse trading now taking place in the new Scottish Parliament.

A spokesman for CBI Scotland said: `Our members are not expressing any concern yet. We await with interest the result of the talks.’

Scottish Engineering chief executive Peter Hughes added: `All the parties are going to have to listen and take note of industry’s concerns.’

He said a report to industry minister Lord McDonald on the sector’s priorities for Scotland had been well received. The report calls for greater emphasis on lifelong learning, harmonisation of higher education provision and improved transport infrastructure.