The Welsh Ministers have a range of functions and powers which enable them to promote economic development in Wales. Their functions include furthering the economic and social development of Wales and promoting Wales’ competiveness on the world stage.
The Welsh Ministers’ powers to carry on business or support businesses are, however, limited by the Welsh Ministers’ need to comply with European Union law (by virtue of section 80 of the Government of Wales Act 2006), most notably the State aid rules.
Much of Wales, predominantly the area known as ‘West Wales and the Valleys’ is an ‘assisted area’. This means that it is below the EU average in terms of its economy and prosperity. As a result, Wales receives generous funding from the European Union Structural Funds. This funding is distributed by the Welsh European Funding Office, an arm of the Welsh Government, through a range of Operational Programmes.
Although economic development is a largely devolved topic in Wales, there are a number of areas which are not devolved and in relation to which the National Assembly has no power to legislate. These include fiscal and monetary policy (except devolved taxes), insolvency, anti-competitive practices and consumer protection.