Partnership and planning by politicians and businesses will make Wales more prosperous in future, economic development minister Andrew Davies said last night (Wednesday).

Addressing guests at the annual Accelerate Wales automotive dinner, Davies said the sector’s success was a model for other industries and Britain in general.

He was speaking after the successful first 18 months of ‘Accelerate Wales’ managed by the WDA on behalf of a partnership led by the Welsh Automotive Forum which has saved £57 million for participants.

Last night, Davies said, “’Accelerate Wales’ is a showcase programme for the Welsh Assembly Government and its style of partnership working.

“We knew we had something special on our hands when firms began queuing up to participate – even more so when people from England wanted to emulate it.”

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He added, “Participation in the programme has enabled firms to make savings that are conservatively estimated at just over £22 million a year.

“At the same time, the effectiveness of the network has helped local business win new contracts worth over £34 million a year.”

Davies hoped that the success of ‘Accelerate Wales’ could be used as a template for other sectors such as consumer electronics, biotechnology, opto-electronics, aerospace and textiles.

The ‘Accelerate Wales’ programme has been running since March 2001 and response from the automotive component manufacturers in Wales has been enthusiastic. The need for this programme was identified from the break-up of Rover and BMW.

The ‘Accelerate Wales’ dinner was a curtain raiser for AutoConference Wales 2002 – one of the newest but best supported automotive conferences in the UK.

This year’s conference takes place on the opening day of the Network Q Rally and is in the event’s hospitality village located at the rally super special stage in Cardiff Bay.