Ken Skates has been replaced as Wales’ Minister for the Economy in a surprise move as part of First Minister Mark Drakeford’s cabinet reshuffle, which sees Vaughan Gething appointed in the key role.
Clwyd South MS Mr Skates has had been in the role since 2016 and was seen by many business leaders as a solid figurehead leading the economic response to the pandemic in Wales.
Mr Gething has also been a key player who led Wales’ coronavirus pandemic response and served as health minister for the previous five years of the last government. He will now have a crucial role in rebuilding the Welsh economy as it recovers from the Covid pandemic.
Eluned Morgan will now take his place as minister for health and social services, with a specific focus on NHS recovery and the pandemic response. This is a big promotion for Ms Morgan, who was previously minister for Welsh language and mental health.
The reshuffle comes after Welsh Labour won 30 of the Senedd’s 60 seats in last week’s election – one short of an outright majority.
Jeremy Miles becomes minister for education and the Welsh language, overseeing the introduction of Wales’ new curriculum and the biggest ever catch-up programme in schools.
The new Welsh Labour Government:
Mark Drakeford – First Minister
Mick Antoniw – Counsel General designate and Minister for the Constitution
Rebecca Evans – Minister for Finance and Local Government
Vaughan Gething – Economy Minister
Dawn Bowden – Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip
Lesley Griffiths – Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd
Jane Hutt – Minister for Social Justice
Hannah Blythyn – Deputy Minister for Social Partnership
Julie James – Minister for Climate Change
Lee Waters – Deputy Minister for Climate Change
Jeremy Miles – Minister for Education and the Welsh Language
Eluned Morgan – Minister for Health and Social Services
Julie Morgan – Deputy Minister for Social Services
Lynne Neagle – Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing
Ian Price CBI Wales Director said:
The CBI extend our congratulations to Mr Gething.
As the pandemic continues, Mr Gething brings with him exactly the right kind of experience business needs as we emerge from lockdown.
To successfully build back better, businesses of all sizes must be able to respond to short term shocks and plan for the long term gains. To do this successfully, it is possible to grow our way out of the pandemic. To achieve this aim, business, government and trade unions will need to work more closely than ever before. ”
Robert Lloyd Griffiths, Director of the IoD in Wales said:
“We enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Ken Skates as the Economy and Transport Minister and thank him for his support for business in Wales. We look forward to working in the same collaborative manner with Vaughan Gething as he moves from overseeing the health of the nation to the health of the economy.”
Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:
“On behalf of Wales’ small business community, I want to welcome Vaughan Gething into his new post as Economy Minister.
“The new Economy Minister will know that he takes up this position at a critical time for Wales’ business community. Wales is a nation of smaller businesses and for us all to feel the economic recovery – for our towns and high streets across Wales to thrive, for jobs to be secure and for local investment to be maintained – small business must be at the heart of that recovery. Now is the time to be bold, to listen carefully to our Welsh businesses and to stretch every possible muscle to ensure a strong future economy and we look forward to supporting Vaughan Gething in that task.
“I’d also like to thank Ken Skates for his tireless work to support small businesses throughout his time as Economy Minister, but particularly over the last 14 months. It has been a crisis like no other and we acknowledge the challenging decisions which have had to be made but Ken has always been quick to engage and to listen to the pressures facing smaller businesses.
“Welsh Government have made a clear statement about the centrality of the climate change challenge to their government and this is something that FSB and Wales’ business community stand behind. We look forward to working with the new ministry on advancing an agenda that engages and supports SMEs to play their part.
“There is a herculean task ahead of all of us to shore up Wales’ economy and business community, and we look forward to getting to work with the new Cabinet as soon as possible.”