Rhodri Morgan, Welsh Assembly first minister, told delegates: ‘Through more business [in Wales] people will need more accountants and lawyers. I hope it will be a basis for a fruitful partnership between Wales and your institute. I look forward to a better partnership between you and Wales.’
Morgan outlined the economic struggles Wales has had to overcome over the past 20 to 30 years following the ‘unwinding of the coal industry’ and outside competition. But he was upbeat about future growth and prosperity for Wales.
Speaking at what is hoped to be an annual ICAEW event in Wales, Michael Groom, said: ‘Accountants offer an unrivalled understanding of enterprise and the dynamics that drive entrepreneurship.
‘[Wales] is noticeably more dynamic, the people of Wales have a voice that is heard, the economy is being re-vitalised through a combination of inward investment and organic growth and the benefits of increased prosperity are beginning to trickle through.’
As a token offering Groom presented Dr Manon Williams of the Prince’s Trust Cymru Pounds 500 to award to a young entrepreneur over the next few months. With European funding the award will rise to Pounds 1,000.
The Trust has helped start some 430 businesses in Wales with around Pounds 1m worth of business loans and grants over the last 12 months.
Morgan also praised Gordon Brown’s announcement in the pre-Budget report on stamp duty. He said: ‘47% of the population of Wales will be exempt in terms of the Pounds 150,00 cut off.’
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