My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues and Ministers in the Welsh Government to support Welsh businesses.
My hon. Friend is correct. SMEs are the backbone of the Welsh economy and have long been so. Through our programme of reduction of regulation, we are easing the burden on SMEs and setting up new businesses. It is hoped that that will cause the sector to flourish in Wales.
Does my hon. Friend agree that rises in interest rates would be catastrophic for the prospects of SMEs in Wales, and that maintaining our low interest rates could be at risk if we were to lose our triple A rating, making it more difficult for Wales to maintain its competitive edge when it comes to exports?
Yes, my hon. Friend is entirely correct. This Government have had to take tough decisions on the economy. The fruit of that is that we have maintained our triple A rating and, as a consequence, this country is in a far better position than many of our competitors.
Small businesses in my constituency have written to me this month saying that they are going to lay people off or may face closure because of the Government’s policy on the feed-in tariff for solar. Will the Minister give a categoric assurance to the House that he will lobby the Treasury and Ministers at the Department of Energy and Climate Change to ensure that the scheme is maintained to help businesses that are doing the right thing in Wales?
It is estimated that the SME sector accounts for 90% of employment in Wales. What discussions has the Minister had with the Welsh Government about promoting this vital sector?