A thriving local economy is important to us all. Whether we live in or around Neath itself, or in Pontardawe or one of the four Valleys that make up the Neath constituency, we want our area to be somewhere where people want to come and stay to live, to learn, to work, to shop and to run their businesses. We want to sell the Neath region to Wales, the UK and the world – and we want to help our existing businesses to grow if they want to, and to flourish and employ people locally.
Neath Area Economic Forum
The Neath Area Economic Forum is an initiative by Jeremy to facilitate discussion on the big economic issues facing Neath. The first Forum took place in December 2016 with 45 delegates including traders, local businesses, colleges and skills training providers, unions, universities and other major stakeholders from across the Neath constituency and the broader region. The event was opened by Julie James AM, Minister for Skills and Science. The issues raised at the forum will form the basis of a report to the development of the Welsh Government’s new Economic Strategy and the Valleys Taskforce.
“Neath businesses have come together to demand Welsh Government investment in their town… The forum urged the Welsh Government to invest in key infrastructure, focus on giving residents more vocational skills and raise aspiration and confidence through education in the town.”
Event video – Neath Area Economic Forum
Report – Creating tomorrow’s economy, today
Welsh Government response
Jeremy met with Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy & Infrastructure, and ministers Julie James AM and Alun Davies AM to discuss the report. The Welsh Government welcomed the report and agreed to look at it as part of its new economic strategy. You can read the full Welsh Government response below.
CREW Conference – Foundational Economy – taking it forwards in Swansea Bay Region and beyond
Jeremy gave a keynote speech at the CREW conference on the foundational economy in late June 2017. He picked up on some of the themes of the Neath Area Economic Forum report. You can read the speech here.
IDEAS generated by Neath based businesses are inspiring Welsh politicians to rethink the ways that they look at supporting the economy.
That’s what Neath AM Jeremy Miles says following on from work undertaken by Neath Area Economic Forum, which was founded to come up with ideas and create local partnerships to put the town’s economy on the political agenda.
Mr Miles has used the report from the forum to push the Welsh Assembly to commit to a more foundational economy which would include activities that provide the essential goods and services for everyday life, including infrastructure, utilities, food processing, retail, health, education and welfare.
Speaking at the Centre for Regeneration Excellence in Wales (Crew) conference on the foundational economy at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium, Mr Miles called for the Welsh Government to support a care technology fund to support innovative technology in healthcare and better support for small and mediumsized businesses “Technology can help provide an improved service,” he said.
“With an ageing and stable population – an asset – Wales is very well placed to be a pioneer in the application of technology to improve care and the Welsh Government should consider a match-funded care technology fund, to incentivise innovation in this sector.
“We must improve support for small and medium businesses.
“There is a perception that the amount of time spent in engaging with Business Wales is simply not worth it for the support available. We need to see Business Wales develop immersive, modular online tools, enabling businesses to develop these skills at times and at a pace which suits them.”
He also issued a challenge to politicians and policy makers to learn from Brexit when commissioning new projects “Communities can’t be expected to value assets they don’t feel they own,” he added.
“Too often, across the UK, European projects were happening to communities, not with communities.
“So we need to bring our communities into the conversation about future public priorities.”
– South Wales Evening Post, 1st July 2017
Following the success of the forum, Jeremy will be working with partners to facilitate future events to discuss what we need in order to give the Neath area the best chance of strengthening our local economy and local jobs market in a changing world. Future events will be advertised on this website. If you would like to be involved, please get in touch.