Social care leader chosen to help steer Welsh economy
A social care leader will be helping to steer the Welsh economy after being appointed to an influential new panel of
Mario Kreft, the chair of Care Forum Wales and the proprietor of the Pendine Park care organisation, has been appointed to sit on the new ministerial advisory board set up by economy secretary Ken Skates.
Mr Kreft is one of 10 members of the new body that will be chaired by Adrian Webb, a non-exec director at Gocompare.com.
According to Mr Kreft,this is the first time that a representative of the social care sector had been placed “right at the heart of the economic decision making of the Welsh Government”.
The importance of the sector care having a seat at the top table was underlined by a new report revealing that adult social care contributed more than £2bn to the Welsh economy and creates jobs for more than 127,000 people.
The survey was commissioned by Skills for Care and Development on behalf of a group of organisations from across the UK, including Social Care Wales, the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru and Care Forum Wales. It showed that social care was the seventh largest contributor to the Welsh economy, with residential care adding £329m annually.
Social care leaders in other parts of the UK were already putting pressure on the Westminster Government to follow the Welsh lead so that they too could have a similar opportunity to influence policy.
“Wales is certainly the first of the home countries where social care has been put at the heart of economic thinking and this is a great credit to the Welsh Government,” said Mr Kreft.
“This has been the direction of travel for some time because the last Labour manifesto recognised social care as a sector of national strategic importance.
“For one thing, social care underpins our beloved NHS here in Wales and beyond.
“We now have recognition that social care is central to strong communities and, as a foundation sector, will now attract Welsh Government support as we strive to create prosperity for all by improving well-being and the wealth of our nation.
“We need to focus on long-term sustainable growth by giving people the right skills and supporting those who drive prosperity.”
Mr Kreft was made an MBE in 2010 for his services to social care. His day job is running Pendine Park which has eight care homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon which between them employ more than 800 people. He is also a founder member of Care Forum Wales and established the Wales Care Awards.