At the launch of the Yes campaign in Carmarthen over the weekend a discussion started as to what further powers will mean for business in Wales.
I have previously made clear on this blog that I have serious doubts as to whether further powers will benefit Welsh business. My concern, which is shared with several business owners which I have discussed the issue with, is that more powers will lead to additional regulation for Welsh business.
The danger if this were to happen is that the Welsh economy could suffer as follows:
- Welsh business would be less competitive than their English and European counterparts
- New start ups would be discouraged from locating in Wales
- Relocating and expanding businesses would be put off locating in Wales
However, as Rhodri Glyn Thomas pointed out on Saturday, additional powers could actually mean the reverse for the Welsh economy; but only if used wisely.
One of the most common complaints made by business is over regulation. Further powers for Wales could mean that regulations are removed in Wales.
The effect of this would be the exact opposite of the above and lead to Welsh business becoming more competitive and additional investment in our economy.
I still have doubts as to whether our politicians will be able to resist the temptation to create knee jerk laws and regulations and damage Welsh business. It will take considerable political bravery to start to strip away regulations in Wales but if the new government in May 2011 take the opportunity it could lead to a new dawn for the Welsh economy.