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Wales: A Vibrant Economy

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Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development & Transport and Jane Davidson, Minister For Education and Lifelong Learning
Today we have launched a new Welsh Assembly Government's Strategic Framework for Economic Development.

WAVE (Wales: A Vibrant Economy), sets out how the Welsh Assembly Government will continue to develop a vibrant Welsh economy capable of delivering strong and sustainable economic growth by providing opportunities for everyone in Wales.  We apologise for the late issuance of this statement.

The document’s approach is built around Wales’ core strengths, including an increasingly skilled, innovative and enterprising workforce and an advanced technology and knowledge base. The Assembly Government’s growing range of devolved powers, short decision chains, close partnerships, local knowledge and willingness to engage will help in building an ever stronger competitive advantage for Wales.

The Welsh economy has undergone a dramatic transformation since 1999. Over 100,000 more people are in employment now than were in 1999, and the unemployment rate in Wales has fallen by 37% since 1999. Average earnings have risen by more than 10 per cent in real terms over the same period and exports from Wales have been growing faster than from the UK as a whole.

WAVE sets out our vision building on this remarkable success and developing a vibrant Welsh economy delivering strong and sustainable economic growth by providing opportunities for all. The forthcoming mergers of the WDA, WTB and ELWA with the Assembly Government provides the right setting for refocusing our economic development strategy to ensure that it remains fit for purpose for the next phase of continued economic development.

The document seeks to engage the individuals, businesses, organisations and communities in Wales that will ultimately drive economic growth. This formal consultation will allow us to build on wide discussions already held with stakeholders, which have played a major part in shaping this document. The responses to the consultation questions set out in this document will play an important role in influencing our economic development policies and programmes.

The Assembly Government aims for a Wales where everyone has the skills, motivation and opportunity to obtain good quality jobs and meet their aspirations and abilities.  We want a Wales where employers work with their employees and public sector agencies to raise skills to the highest possible levels to support quality jobs in a growing economy.

The merger of the Assembly and ASPBs will be a catalyst to make this happen. We want to bring policy closer to delivery, identify key skills that drive economic growth to make sure that business and learning support go hand in hand.  Wales: A Vibrant Country sets out the Assembly Government’s vision for a vibrant economy providing opportunities for employees and employers across Wales.

Through the good work we are already doing in Wales we have seen economic inactivity fall, and the number of hard-to-fill vacancies reported by employers reduced by a half since 1998. Wales: A Vibrant Economy will ensure that such positive trends continue long into the future.

The Assembly Government’s future economic development programmes will develop on the back of the responses to the consultation, which are sought by 28 February 2006.

Copies of the document were available at the time of the launch at the following location: http://www.wales.gov.uk/wave.  Hard copies are being distributed to members.