What does the Welsh Government’s economic action plan mean for social businesses?

 

Following the launch of ‘Prosperity for All: the national strategy’, Welsh Government has published its new economic action plan. It sets out Welsh Government’s plans to increase wealth and well-being through inclusive economic growth. The main points are summarised below. Welsh Government has started a period of engagement on the plan and we’d love to hear from social businesses across Wales who would like to feed in their views.

Growing the economy inclusively, spreading opportunity and promoting well-being are at the heart of the action plan. Its key proposals include an economic contract, a new Economy Futures Fund, Regional Working and Calls to Action. The plan focuses on national and foundation sectors in place of the previous multiple key sectors.

The new economic contract will challenge businesses to demonstrate the contribution they will make to wider Welsh Government objectives in return for support. These wider objectives are growth potential, fair work, progress in reducing carbon footprint and promotion of help. Initially, it will apply to Welsh Government’s direct financial support to businesses. Businesses seeking financial support will also be required to contribute to at least one of the five Calls to Action. The Calls to Action are:

  1. Decarbonisation
  2. Innovation, entrepreneurship and headquarters
  3. Exports and trade
  4. High quality employment, skills development and fair work
  5. R&D, automation and digitalisation

The financial support being offered will also be streamlined into a single Economy Futures Fund. The Fund will include grants and repayable forms of finance, such as loans. The balance between these will reflect the economic cycle, with the balance shifting in favour of repayable forms of finance when times are good and in favour of traditional grants when the business environment is less favourable.

The plan also replaces the previous approach of supporting priority sectors with support for national thematic sectors and foundational sectors. The new national thematic sectors are tradable services, high value manufacturing and enablers such as digital, energy efficiency and renewables. The foundational economy provides essential goods and services for everyday life. This includes infrastructures; utilities; food processing, retailing and distribution; and health, education and welfare. The action plan proposes supporting four foundation sectors – tourism, food, retail and care. It states that there are considerable opportunities to work with the third sector, social enterprises, co-operatives and mutuals in developing Welsh Government’s approach to the foundation sectors. It proposes working with these sectors to ensure they play a full part in the economy, building upon the good work of the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission.

What do you think about the plan? Have you got any comments or suggestions that you’d like to share? Tell us your thoughts by emailing Ceri-Anne.Fidler@wales.coop.

2 Comments

  • ceri.davies@indycube.community'

    On the face of it the best economic plan to come out of Welsh Government to date, some areas maybe a little late to the party – renewables etc – but they are coming which is good to see. Foundational economy being so prominent is excellent.
    Would like to know about the funding element, needs reform so lets see what this latest set up looks like and delivers.

  • adrian.roper@cartrefi.coop'

    This is a potentially transformative programme. To turn potential into reality, there needs to be at least two major and sustained acts of leadership by our Welsh Government, and one by the People Sector.
    Welsh Government:
    1. Think Future Generations Act and ensure that ALL areas of development are synergised with each other for maximum benefit and sustainability. Our silos start at the top, and the top needs to reshape our thinking and behaviour so that (for example) work, welfare and education are mutually supportive of each other’s objectives.
    2. Use Public Procurement to shape the Wales we need. This has been said before but it’s implementation has been shallow and ineffectual. The criteria for awarding public funds must require more than window dressing in respect of added value and long-term strategic benefit.

    People Sector: (third sector and coop movement):
    1. Be bold and passionate – and galvanise ourselves into being as good as we can be, starting with a collective effort to frame a long term vision in which people come first and we get our own silos together in an accommodating family cwtch.

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