Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns recently joined the Welsh Business Awards winners for a roundtable discussion on current policies and to hear more about what works for them as business leaders.

Mr Cairns said: “The UK government has worked closely with the chambers of commerce in Wales for many years, and meetings such as these provide us with an opportunity to ensure businesses’ needs are at the heart of policymaking.

“The Welsh Business Awards recognise the sacrifices it takes in order to be successful, and I’m inspired by the hard work and dedication these companies have put in to take home one of these awards, while ensuring that economic growth is felt right across the country.

“The UK government is committed to supporting Welsh businesses to take advantage of every opportunity available to them to grow and expand into new markets, and I look forward to continued discussion with Wales’ exemplary firms to explore the best ways to do that.”

The roundtable event focused on business policies – which ones worked and areas of difficulties – as well as what else businesses would like to see from government policy and assistance.

The event was attended by winners of the South Wales Chamber Welsh Business Award 2017 who represent a wide sector coverage, including Richard Sugarman, of Newport-based Lightology and Richard Selby, ProSteel Engineering, of Caldicot, among others.

One of the main issues raised was the difficulty and complexity of the planning system and how it was administered. The system’s complexities add to costs, which results in businesses being discouraged from expansion opportunities.

IP protection, export opportunities, EU patents, research and development tax credits and patent box, and public sector procurements were all brought up as being expensive and/or time consuming, with a lot of the regulations taking larger businesses into account rather than SMEs.

Heather Myers, director of the South and Mid Wales Chambers of Commerce, said: “We are delighted to be able to host a roundtable event with business leaders from a range of different sectors, and bring to light some of the issues with government policies and how they can affect SMEs.

"Being able facilitate events like this demonstrates the value of the chamber for SMEs and I hope Secretary of State Alun Cairns will take on board the comments made and present them to the Welsh and UK government for consideration.”