Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Is there a difference of opinion developing between the CBI in Wales and its UK parent organisation?

During the last few years, there has been an obsession by the Welsh CBI in backing large businesses, a focus which culminated in their backing for the Economic Renewal programme and the statement that CBI Wales agreed

"with the first minister that Wales largest 'anchor' companies are key to economic growth and prosperity. In fact, Wales is more dependent on large companies than England, as Wales' largest 1.8% of companies account for 69% of national turnover. As a result, we stated that only targeted government action to support these 'anchor' companies will deliver real growth and employment".

In contrast, John Cridland, the new CBI Director-General-Designate, recently stated that

“With the UK’s 4.8 million SMEs providing 60 per cent of private sector jobs and accounting for half of all private sector turnover, we have much to do to help these companies achieve their full growth potential.”

In addition, Sir Richard Lambert, prior to leaving the CBI this week, supported his successor by stating that:

"What I want to focus on this morning is the short-term, and the need to do everything possible to support the creation of new jobs in the private sector over the next few years. For a number of reasons, this means developing policies that are specifically targeted at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. SMEs are the main source of new jobs in the UK. The big multinationals - the companies that the Prime Minister usually gathers around the Cabinet Office table when he is discussing these matters - taken together and over time are reducing their headcount in this country."

I know who I agree with and you must wonder why the CBI in Wales takes a very different view of what is needed to boost the economy and why the Welsh Assembly Government seems to be in complete agreement.