The First Decade List According to Key Subject Areas





Youth & Lifelong Learning

Older People

The Economy


Social Justice

Equality and Human Rights





Sport and Culture


The Welsh Language

Welsh Law

Wales and the World

Introduction to the 'What They've Done For Us'  list 




The First Decade

Welcome to Aled Edwards' "What They've Done For Us" Economy list. Written a little in the style of Monty Python's Life of Brian "What have the Romans done for us?"  the list aims to provide a reliable record of the distinctive Welsh policies brought about by devolution (1999-2009). Beyond underlining the distinctiveness of Welsh policies no substantive attempt is made here to evaluate the performance of Welsh Assembly Governments or to list the policies brought about by other UK legislatures but not adopted in Wales. The dates in brackets normally indicate when the development was announced by the Welsh Assembly Government through a press release.

Third Assembly 2007 - 2009


Announced an amendment to the guidance on debt provision to help local authorities maintain existing capital programmes and bring forward capital works. The change would help local business and communities maintain employment during the economic downturn. (March 2009).


Announced action to improve prospects for the Welsh construction industry during the global recession including reducing red tape by standardising procurement documentation and establishing common approaches to supplier selection. (February 2009).


Announced a £70million Euro-backed initiative to tackle many of the major barriers unemployed people face when wanting to learn new skills or return to work. Genesis Cymru Wales 2 was set to help 20,000 people overcome a range of barriers that prevent them from entering the workforce or training. (October 2008).


Began the process of recruiting business professionals to help deliver a key ‘One Wales’ commitment and help shape future capital investment in Wales. The ‘One Wales’ programme commits the Assembly Government to the creation of a Strategic Capital Investment Board (SCIB). The body will initially control a dedicated £400 million fund that will be allocated to capital investment projects over a three year period. (April 2008).


Announced the restoration of the first regular rail service between Wrexham and London for over four decades. (April 2008).


Named the Jetstream 31 aircraft which provides a daily intra-Wales air service between Cardiff and an airport terminal at Anglesey's RAF Valley. (June 2007).

Second Assembly 2003 - 07


A new £30million commercial fund was launched to help Welsh businesses achieve their growth plans. It followed the anticipated successful investment of Finance Wales’ £45million European Objective 1 Fund a year ahead of the original target and the identified need for continued flexible commercial funding for SME’s. (October 2006).


Turning Heads, the 15 year strategy for the Heads of the Valleys, was approved by the Heads of the Valleys Programme Board in Blaenavon. It was announced that the Assembly would allocate £30million in the first three years to kick start the programme. (June 2006).

bullet Announced the name of the Chair a new Group created to provide the Welsh Assembly Government with independent advice on economic and transport policies. (May 2006).
bullet Announced the launch of a consultation on a distinctive micro-generation action plan for Wales. (April 2006).
bullet A business improvement programme designed to boost the turnover of smaller firms in Objective 1 areas of Wales by a total of nearly £44m was launched in March 2006. The project, 'Inspiring Success…from Good to Great', was intended to provide in-depth support leading to high growth among 120 selected companies. It was announced that during the two-year initiative a further 530 firms in these areas would receive targeted professional advice aimed at boosting their competitiveness.
bullet Announced that the BT Group had been selected to provide the broadband infrastructure for the remaining exchange areas in Wales. The  landmark development was hailed as a major step towards 100% broadband coverage. (March 2006).
bullet An Act, paving the way for a more integrated transport system in Wales received Royal Assent in February 2006. The Transport (Wales) Act 2006 gave the Welsh Assembly Government the powers to plan a more co-ordinated and integrated transport system for Wales.
bullet Launched a consultation on the Review of Business Support & Development Services. (February 2006).
bullet Launch a £4 million Route Development Fund to develop new air routes to and from Wales. At the same time, announced that Wales’ national airline, Air Wales, would become the first airline to operate a route from Cardiff with support from the Fund. (December 2005).
bullet Launch for consultation the new Welsh Assembly Government's Strategic Framework for Economic Development. WAVE (Wales: A Vibrant Economy) set out how the Welsh Assembly Government hoped to develop a vibrant Welsh economy capable of delivering strong and sustainable economic growth by providing opportunities for everyone in Wales. (November 2005).
bullet Launched the distinctive "Knowledge Bank for Business" as a new way of supporting high-growth potential companies in Wales. (September 2005).
bullet Called on ITV Network companies to consider introducing a system of quotas for independent production companies in Wales. Wales  provides 1% of UK network production yet has 5% of the population. (February 2005).
bullet Successfully lobbied the UK Government to relocate 600 London-based statisticians Civil Service jobs to Newport. (September 2004).
bullet Re-launched the Regional Selective Assistance grant scheme. The re-branded RSA Cymru Wales would targeted the RSA more at quality projects. (June 2004).
bullet Announced that smaller-scale studies into the Welsh economy would benefit from a new grant. The new Economic Research Grant was developed on the recommendation of the Welsh Assembly Government’s economic think tank – the Economic Research Advisory Panel. (June 2004).
bullet Welcomed the ending of the requirement to hold polls on whether licensed premises selling alcohol should open on Sundays. Successive Welsh Office and Welsh Assembly Government Ministers had lobbied hard for legislation to have the polls abolished. (July 2003).

First Assembly 1999 - 03

bullet Published Wales' first International Trade Strategy: A World of Opportunity aimed at creating a culture of internationalisation in the Welsh economy. (March 2003).
bullet Launched the distinctive Assembly Investment Grant. (April 2002).
bullet Published a National Economic Development Strategy for the next 10 years – A Winning Wales as an ' action-orientated strategy drawn up to deliver economic prosperity.' (January 2002).
bullet Created a new Enterprise Support Grant Scheme for small businesses. (December 2001).
bullet Introduced a £66 million package of remedial measures, through a collaborative approach, to help rebuild the futures of the steelworkers and communities affected by the Corus closures and helped the majority of those who lost their jobs to find alternative work. (June 2001).
bullet Announced the first project to be awarded European grant funding under the European Structural Funds Programmes 2000-2006 (October 2000).

Established a system of partnership, involving the public, private and voluntary sectors, to help assist the Welsh Assembly Government in the delivery of the European Structural Funds Programmes 2000-2006 in Wales (2000).


Created a new Business Partnership Council under the Government of Wales Act 1998. (1999)