Multinational businesses which operate in Wales and are heavy users of energy will get chance to air concerns about the rising costs of energy when they meet the First Minister in London later.
Carwyn Jones is holding a summit with business leaders at the Welsh Government's London office.
It'll follow a meeting in Downing Street when the First Minister and leaders of the other devolved nations will discuss public spending with the Prime Minister.
The day of talks starts with a session of the Joint Ministerial Committee which brings together the leaders of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland governments to give them chance to raise disagreements with the UK Government. Quite often they also disagree with each other too. Unusually, today's meeting will be held at Downing Street and chaired by the Prime Minister rather than his deputy.
Carwyn Jones has previously used these occasions to express concerns and criticism of the UK Government's spending cuts and to call for decision-making power over large renewable energy projects to be transferred to Wales. So what can David Cameron expect an earbashing over this time? A Welsh Government spokesperson said,
The JMC is an opportunity for the First Minister to discuss issues of importance across the UK with the Prime Minister and the leaders of other devolved nations.
The agenda will enable a discussion to take place on the latest state of the economy and the public finances , and separately on aviation policy.
After the meeting in Downing Street, Carwyn Jones will host a summit with representatives from 'energy intensive' big businesses who operate in Wales. According to the Welsh Government, they'll include Tata Steel, Celsa Steel, UPM, Solutia, International Rectifier Corporation, Next Generation Data, Dow Corning and Murco Petroleum. A spokesman said,
These companies have repeatedly told us of their concerns about the impact of high UK energy prices on their business , and the First Minister wishes to explore these issues with them.
You can expect more than a hint of criticism directed at David Cameron at this event as well as the earlier meeting. Speaking before the summit, the First Minister was clear that he blames the UK Government for the high cost of energy. He said,
The UK Government has yet to consult on measures to deliver support to the most energy intensive industries from mid 2013.
However, it is increasingly clear that support to compensate these industries from the effects of uniquely high UK energy costs – particularly for electricity – is absolutely vital to help them through this sustained period of economic uncertainty and ensure they are able to compete in the global marketplace.
Politically, Labour is promoting the two events as proof of the First Minister's efforts to do everything within his power to transform the economic fortunes of Wales. A Welsh Government source said:
Both the JMC and the energy summit in London today are a continuation of the relentless focus by the First Minister on turning the Welsh economy around.In the UK context, he's leading from the front on the difficulties faced by companies who are high volume energy users. The summit the First Minister is chairing in London, is testament to his determination to get a fair deal for those firms and protect Welsh jobs.