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Welsh businesses must now enter social purpose contract to access Government funding

Businesses in Wales will have to enter into a contract in order to win Government funding, as new measures announced in 2017 come into force.

Financial support includes access to the new £50m Economy Futures Fund. The Government say the fund will frame the ‘reciprocal relationship between Government and business and drive public investment with a social purpose.’

Even though the number of businesses in Wales have reached record levels, they say a number of issues remain, such as economic inactivity, relatively low levels of productivity and uneven distribution of growth and opportunity across the country.

Businesses seeking financial support will enter into an ‘economic contract’, and will be expected to commit to:

  • growth potential (measured by contribution to employment, productivity, or multiplier effects through the supply chain).
  • fair work.
  • promotion of health, skills and learning in the workplace including a special emphasis on mental health, skills, and learning in the workplace.
  • progress in lowering carbon footprint.

These will be the first stage requirement for businesses to meet before the Government will consider their proposals for funding. The ‘Calls to Action’ will form the second stage,  where businesses must align with one of the following themes:

  • innovation, entrepreneurship and headquarters.
  • high-quality employment, skills development and fair work.
  • decarbonisation.
  • R&D, automation and digitalisation.

Speaking at the launch of the plan in December 2017, economic secretary Ken Skates said: ‘Our Plan sets out our vision of inclusive growth, built on strong foundations, supercharged industries of the future and productive regions.’

‘We already have strength and specialisms and to ensure we grow our economy in the future, we must spread wealth creating opportunities more fairly across the length and breadth of Wales.  This is an action plan to give hope and opportunity to all people and all community to generate prosperity for all.

‘I have been really pleased by the way our Economic Action Plan has been received by business, and impressed by the contribution they have made to shaping it

‘I am excited that we are now moving to the implementation phase with changes to the way we engage with and support business and to how we receive external advice. All of this is geared to securing inclusive growth, future proofing businesses and empowering our people and places to become more productive.

‘Today is just the start, and I look forward to implementing the next phase of the plan, which will focus on our new approach to regional economic development and wider cross-government activity, later in the year.’

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