Is it a board? Is it a group? Or a rebranded committee?

The Wales Office's Business Advisory Group is dead. Long live the new Economic Advisory Board.

The EAB is a new "economic advisory group to get to grips with the issues facing businesses in Wales", not to be confused with the old BAG set up "to examine the business environment in Wales and to listen to the views of Welsh business leaders".

Answering a parliamentary question last year, then Welsh Secretary David Jones said: "The Business Advisory Group provides valuable information on matters affecting the economy in Wales."

The core members of the new EAB set up by his successor Stephen Crabb include representatives of CBI Wales, IoD Wales, Airbus, Toyota, General Dynamics and FSB Wales.

Members of the old BAG included representatives of CBI Wales, Airbus, Toyota, IoD Wales and FSB Wales.

So is today's new board the same committee with a new badge? Apparently not. The new board will meet every two months (the old BAG met quarterly) and will focus on different sectors. Today's gathering will focus on technology and innovation; the next meeting in January will look at aerospace.

The Wales Office also assures me that members will be be drawn from "a wider group of attendees". My list above is not exclusive.

Stephen Crabb said: "Over the last four years, Welsh businesses have responded to our call to help get the economy moving again and have created 100,000 new private sector jobs. But we need to go further.

"By reducing the deficit, cutting Corporation Tax and reducing red tape, we have made the UK more competitive and more attractive for inward investment. But I don't want to see Wales lagging behind the rest of the UK, I want to see Wales become a leading destination for new business and investment."

Stephen Crabb, says the Wales Office, "will represent the views of the group's members to the UK Government". Under the old BAG, information was "fed into the UK Business Advisory Group chaired by the prime minister".

Mr Crabb will chair the first meeting of the new Economic Advisory Board in Cardiff this afternoon.

Related Topics