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Institute of Directors, lunch meeting, 24 October 2008

Welsh Assembly Government

Institute of Directors, lunch meeting, 24 October 2008

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Chair of the All Wales Convention, attended the Institute of Directors - Wales meeting in Swansea on 24 October.

Date of Event: 24/10/2008

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Sir Emyr discussed how the work of the All Wales Convention is relevant and indeed very important to the business community.  In the current economic climate, the business community has a number of concerns, and the way in which government works in Wales, and works with the business community, will be a key factor in determining how well Wales weathers the storm.  The recent economic summit for Wales, attended by business, trade unions and politicians, acknowledged the need for government to get involved in helping businesses to deal with the economic pressures in the coming months.

In this context, the debate that the All Wales Convention is all about - considering the devolution settlement in Wales, how it is working, and whether the Assembly needs more lawmaking powers - is a key debate for the business community to get involved in.

The meeting was a joint venture between the Institute of Directors and Chamber of Commerce, and was attended by around 120 people.  There was a lively discussion around the issues affecting business, and how the IOD could get involved in helping to make the debate relevant to businesses and communities.

Emyr explained that, under the current devolution settlement, there are two ways in which more policy areas or matters can be added to the Assembly's law making powers.  The first of these is the legislative competence order (LCO) process, and the second is through provision made in a UK Parliamentary Act: either route can currently be used to gradually give more powers to the Assembly.  The other option that is potentially on the table, in the event of a yes vote in a referendum, is essentially the "all at once" approach.  This would mean that the Assembly acquires, all in one go, powers to make laws across the full range of devolved policy areas.

One of Emyr's key messages is that the debate is for everyone - he and the Convention's Executive Committee are open to listening to all views, any messages that come forward from any communities across Wales.  The business community is a key contributor to the debate, and hopefully will be able to contribute views that reflect the issues not just for business generally, but also for the particular communities where individual businesses are based.

The Convention will aim to reach out to all communities across Wales, and encourage everyone to join in the debate.