Infrastructure is top of agenda, says Drakeford
Infrastructure investment remains a key priority of the Welsh Government, which will continue to press the case for businesses having full access to the EU single market, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford told the CBI Wales annual dinner last night.
Speaking at City Hall in Cardiff to a business audience, Mr Drakeford said that from the beginning of the Brexit process the Welsh Government had consistently argued that the needs of the economy should be the core consideration in the UK’s approach to the challenge of leaving the EU.
He added: “In particular, we have argued for continued full access to the EU single market, robust transitional arrangements, retention of the European social model and continuation of our participation in a range of EU programmes post-Brexit, such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.”
He added: “The Welsh Government continues to prioritise investment in infrastructure and our business-friendly policies create the right conditions to support the economy and attract new investments to Wales.
“Over the last year we supported 85 new inward investment projects in Wales with the potential to create or safeguard more than 11,000 jobs. Wales secured 11% of the total jobs associated with inward investment projects across the UK.
“Wales is going through a period of major economic change and I am pleased that the Welsh Government can support businesses through these changing times.”
Also addressing the dinner, UK Government Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis told Welsh business leaders that their views will play a “vital role” in the decisions his Government makes about the future immigration system.
And he called on businesses to continue a dialogue to ensure the right balance is struck “between keeping our future immigration arrangements in the national interest, and ensuring the UK remains open to the talent we need from Europe and the rest of the world”.
He also recognised the contribution that the 79,000 EU citizens living in Wales make to the economy and Welsh society, and said the UK Government will continue to welcome those with the skills and expertise to support Welsh businesses and industries.
Mr Lewis added that the UK Government has been clear that its top priority is securing the status of those EU citizens living in the UK and Wales, and UK nationals living in the EU.
Mr Lewis added: “We want to build an immigration system where we have control of our borders and which delivers for our industries and our economy.
“It is vital that we work with businesses under the shared ambition of securing the best possible outcome for Welsh businesses, industry and communities.” BRITAIN’S betting giants enjoyed a winning streak yesterday after Ladbrokes Coral revived takeover talks with the owner of online rival Foxy Bingo.
Ladbrokes Coral soared 29% on the second tier, or 39.4p to 175.1p, after the pair revealed “detailed” discussions over a tie-up that would see GVC pay £3.1bn in cash and shares for the company.
GVC was also up 45.5p to 954.5p, as the two firms said the final price could reach £3.9 billion depending on the outcome of a government review into controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
William Hill was also having a strong session on the FTSE 250 after it reached an agreement with US firm Scientific Games over a planned takeover of betting and gaming company NYX. Shares lifted 23.6p to 315p However, the FTSE 100 Index closed down 27.28 points at 7,320.75 as insurance and mining stocks dragged on the top flight.
Shares in Rio Tinto dropped 58p to 3,440.5p, while Anglo American slipped 9.5p to 1,343p.
In UK stocks, Sky shares rose 9p to 997p as rumours intensified that 21st Century Fox is edging closer towards a deal that could see Disney buy a significant slice of its media empire, which would include its 39% stake in Sky.
Fox-owner Rupert Murdoch and his family are reportedly favouring a transaction with Disney over Comcast because regulators would be more likely to clear the deal and they would rather be paid in Disney stock, according to Reuters.
Legal & General group fell 1.8p to 259.9p despite reporting that it is on course for a record year of profits, driven by what it called “formidable momentum” in its core business divisions.
The group pointed to areas such as its retirement unit, which has delivered total sales of £6.2bn in the year to date, thanks to strong performances in the UK and US pension markets.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Pearson up 16p at 737p, BT Group up 5.6p at 262.8p, Mediclinic International up 8.5p at 590.5p, and Vodafone Group up 3.1p at 227.9p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Babcock International Group down 23.5p at 654.5p, Admiral Group down 49p at 1,844p, Associated British Foods down 68p at 2,852p, and Direct Line Insurance Group down 7.9p at 357.1p.
> Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford