Office of the Secretary of State for Wales
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Welsh Secretary: “Supporting businesses in rural Wales is critical”

David Jones hosts Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce Meeting

Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones will today (9 January) host a round table meeting with Powys and Ceredigion business leaders to mark the first anniversary of the Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce.

The South Wales Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Mid Wales Manufacturing Group launched its Mid Wales operation in January 2013 with a view to establishing focussed representation for local businesses in Powys and Ceredigion.

Mr Jones will meet with Graham Morgan, Director of the South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce, together with Chamber members at the meeting in Newtown to discuss the support services on offer to businesses in the region looking to expand to new markets.

From the launch of the Small Business: GREAT Ambition Strategy to the support on offer from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), Mr Jones will outline the measures being undertaken by the UK Government to support businesses in Wales. Discussions will also focus on the economic growth priorities highlighted in the Chamber’s manifesto for economic growth.

Focusing on four key areas of infrastructure and connectivity; skills and education; business advice and support, and international trade, the manifesto outlines a package of measures that Chamber members believe will make a real difference to the economic future of businesses across Wales.

Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones MP said:

Over the years, our Chambers of Commerce have played a vital role in providing a prominent voice for local businesses across the country. I am delighted to see the South Wales Chamber expanding its footprint into Mid Wales as it represents a huge opportunity for jobs and growth in Powys and beyond.

Providing support to businesses in the most rural parts of Wales is critical. Not only do they contribute to our economic recovery, but they also provide valuable jobs and help strengthen Britain’s position in the world market.

If Wales is to succeed in the global race, we need to do more to help companies to grow and to break into new international markets. I am looking forward to a vibrant discussion with business leaders to hear what more can be done to strengthen the local economy, drive regeneration and encourage prosperity in this important region of Wales.

Graham Morgan, Director of the South & Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce said:

We are delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to Mid Wales, to witness firsthand the success and diversity of businesses in the area. The visit is an excellent opportunity for business owners and entrepreneurs to outline issues currently being faced, such as skills development and the ability to recruit appropriate staff.

Following the meeting, the Secretary of State will visit businesses in Newtown and Welshpool experiencing significant growth at home and overseas.

Accompanied by Graham Morgan, Mr Jones will first visit Powys Business of the Year 2013 winner, Quartix, in Newtown.

Founded in 2001, Quartix has grown to become one of the UK’s most respected vehicle tracking companies. Today, more than 5,000 customers across almost all sectors of the UK economy – including government organisations and the emergency services - use the system. Over 43,000 units were installed during 2013.

The vehicles used during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were tracked with Quartix’s advanced GPS telematics units, giving real-time information on the exact locations of vehicles at any time.

Quartix operates across France as well as the UK, and has been preparing for a 2014 launch in the USA.

The business, which has grown its workforce from three to 70 in twelve years was handed the Powys Business of the Year and Business Growth Awards at the Powys Business Awards in October last year.

Andy Kirk, Director at Quartix said:

Growth during 2013 exceeded 50% and is down to the company’s excellent reputation, key product functionality and simple contract terms. This is backed up by the hard work and dedication of every member of our fabulous team of highly skilled and highly motivated employees.

The Secretary of State will later travel to Welshpool where he will visit car components company, CastAlum.

The internationally acclaimed company produces steering gear housings, transmission cases and steering and suspension knuckles for markets in the UK, Germany, Poland, Canada and Mexico. Having successfully supplied parts previously to the Far-East the company is now a development source for a new component to that area.

Today, one in ten vehicles produced for European suppliers has a steering gear housing manufactured by CastAlum.

Mr Jones will meet with CastAlum Chairman, Peter Radcliffe and HR Manager, Hannah Barrett who will then escort him on a tour of their production site.

Peter Radcliff said:

The expansion success of CastAlum has been gained through our ability and willingness to invest in leading edge technology and equipment, allowing us to keep abreast of the ever increasing demand by our customers for quality supply.

Allied to this is the fact that we have been able to retain and expand skills allowing a workforce continuity that contributes greatly to output and quality efficiencies.

Going forward aluminium will be a prime contributor to the lightweighting concept that will be the most significant contributor to vehicle emissions improvement over the coming years. We believe our technology and skill base will leave us well placed to take advantage of this drive to more environmentally efficient vehicles.

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