AS WE start the New Year we usually do so with resolutions in mind. While for some this might involve committing to a healthy lifestyle or giving up a bad habit, for Ministers in Welsh and UK Government we would urge that they look at how they can benefit Powys and Mid Wales in 2018.

The UK Government budget said that UK Government would consider proposals for a Mid Wales Growth deal, which is something that we have warmly welcomed. We hope to see the plans for this deal develop as the year continues and want to see the UK Government consult meaningfully with Mid Wales based businesses as the shape of the deal begins to form. However, regional development is about more than just a growth deal.

This year, we would like to see ministers from both governments working together with stakeholders and Powys-based businesses to work on what regional economic development could mean for the Mid Wales region.

It was good to see a commitment to growing the rural economy in the Cabinet Secretary’s Economic Action Plan late last year, following much work by the FSB. However, the Cabinet Secretary could go further than this, and adopt a Rural Challenge Fund to support rural Wales, as recommended by the FSB in our Rural Taskforce report. This would stimulate new thinking on developing the rural economy and is just one way that our thinking on the Mid Wales regional economy could be more creative and innovative than previously.

We look forward to working with the Welsh and UK Governments this year to make the ideas around the growth of the Mid Wales economy a reality.

Nick Evans, Powys FSB chair