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Wales hosts second Heathrow business summit

Representatives of over 80 Welsh companies attended Wales’ second Heathrow business summit in Cardiff last week to help ensure they are best placed to support and benefit from the construction of the airport’s third runway.

It follows MPs giving their overwhelming support for plans  for the construction of the new £14bn runway last month which it is estimated will bring 8400 jobs and £8bn of economic growth to Wales.

Business groups and leaders heard from Economy Secretary Ken Skates, CEO of South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce, Heather Myers, Director of Pro Steel Engineering, Richard Selby and Chief Strategy Officer at Heathrow Airport, Andrew Macmillan about how they can get the very best out of the opportunities ahead.

The event also provided networking opportunities for supplier and buyers to meet and build contacts and relationships.

Economy Secretary, Ken Skates said:

“In total it is estimated that the new runway will deliver 8400 new jobs and £8bn in economic growth and I am determined that a significant  portion of those benefits will be felt here  in Wales.

“As a Welsh Government we are working closely with Heathrow and doing all we can to ensure Wales gets the very best out of the opportunities associated with the new runway.

“This includes exploring airport links between Heathrow and Wales to ensure better connectivity to Wales for tourist and businesses, and working hard to bring one of the Heathrow Logistic Hubs  – which will host some of the off-site construction for the runway –  to one of the six shortlisted  Welsh sites still in the running. This would create hundreds of new jobs and inject millions of pounds into our economy.

“Today’s event, the second of its kind is Wales,  is a great opportunity for Welsh SMEs to promote their goods and services to Heathrow and make valuable connections with the Airport’s Supply Chain that will help  secure economic benefits here in Wales.

“It is also a great opportunity for companies to link with other SME and explore opportunities for collaborations that could help to drive up the potential economic benefits for all parties, and ensure that the benefits of this major infrastructure project are felt in communities right across Wales.”

Commenting on the Heathrow Business Summit which took place in Cardiff on Wednesday 11th July, Heather Myers, CEO of South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce, said: 

“Wales is a nation of individuals who are innovative and entrepreneurial, with SMEs forming the backbone of our economy – and yet, our supply chain only represents 0.2 per cent of the UK total.

“To address this paradox, the South Wales Chamber of Commerce has been working closely with Welsh Government, The Wales Office, Heathrow Airport and businesses across Wales. Pooling our expertise, we promote and explain the many supply chain opportunities existing not only in Wales, but also in the UK and overseas.

“Wales has been under-represented in several national infrastructure projects, such as Hinkley Point and we want that to change. We need that to change.

“The Heathrow Business Summit is a crucial part in helping Welsh businesses get their voices heard and join supply chains. It gives them an opportunity to engage and connect with other businesses, and learn about the prospects for growth.

“There is a willingness to support business growth in Wales, but we also need to think bigger and promote our businesses wider into domestic and overseas markets. Projects like Heathrow can help Wales reach this untapped potential.”