Mid Wales must seize the economic opportunities which are presented by both Brexit and the UK Government's Industrial Strategy, according to the Welsh Conservatives' Economy Spokesman and Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire, Russell George.
Questioning the Cabinet Secretary for Economy in the Senedd recently, Mr George called on the Welsh Government to look beyond the EU in forging new export markets in countries such as China as well as maintaining strong investment links with the nations of the European Union.
Speaking outside the chamber, Mr George said:
"After the referendum to leave the European Union and the inevitable uncertainty and challenges associated with the result, the UK Government’s recently published Industrial Strategy is set to provide businesses in Mid Wales with the security and certainty to plan for their future as well as a firm foundation for improving living standards.
"Regrettably, the Welsh Government has been slow to respond with its own long term Economic Strategy which would compliment this ambitious UK Government effort to rebalance the UK's economy.
"The Industrial Strategy puts great emphasis on addressing the regional disparity in economic prosperity and the skills shortages which exist within Wales, which if successfully addressed, will drive increases in productivity and social mobility in Mid Wales.
"In order to do this, I have argued that consideration should now be given to devolving economic levers to Mid Wales through establishing a Mid Wales Growth Deal to boost investment in our region.
"The Food and Drink sector in particular is one in which Mid Wales plays a leading role and there are clearly opportunities in growth markets such as China which we need to capitalise upon.
"There's a North Wales Growth Deal, Cardiff Region City Deal and a Swansea Bay City Deal so there's absolutely no reason why we shouldn't have a Mid Wales Growth Deal to enable us to take advantage of the investment and export opportunities which arise as a result of Brexit in boosting trading links with other partners from all over the world."