THE Rt Hon Simon Hart MP, Secretary of State for Wales, has addressed 125 members of Cardiff Business Club at its latest virtual meeting. Mr Hart discussed restrictions in Wales, the vaccine rollout, Brexit-Transition negotiations and answered member questions surrounding devolution and government funding.
Mr Hart said: “Cardiff Business Club was around during the last pandemic in 1918 and is the living embodiment of how businesses can come through. We can rebuild, albeit a little differently to what was there before.
“After a difficult month, a difficult week and difficult statistics, we are now seeing the vaccine roll-out and it won’t be long before we can declare victory.”
Speaking about the Brexit-Transition, Mr Hart said: “The Brexit-Transition negotiations seem to be a stark reminder that these things often go down to the wire. We absolutely want to do a deal, but not at any cost. Put simply, we want a fair free trade agreement.
“We have already secured agreements with Canada, Singapore and Japan and are in talks with USA.
“While this is happening, there is a phenomenal amount of work going on behind scenes by many incredible people trying to prepare businesses for what may or may not come our way in January and over the coming months. There is also a pilot scheme due to work out how to spend the money that would have gone towards the EU.”
On the topic of devolution, which Mr Hart is a strong advocate for, he said: “I detect that a lot of people think devolution means the UK handing powers to Cardiff. It does not. It means 22 unitary authorities, charities and businesses across the whole of Wales having a greater say in how our country is run. Some suggest it might restrict the UK’s power, but I personally think that making sure everyone has a bite at the devolution cake is a good thing.”
Simon’s full address and Q&A can be viewed by the following link: https://youtu.be/lFI3ELIPcsc.
Cardiff Business Club’s next event will take place on 18 January, featuring Neil Johnson OBE, Chairman of QinetiQ.