Think Big, Work Local
Now more than ever we need to be thinking big and working locally to have real impact and as key drivers of economic activity it is the City Deals that are really starting to make things happen at a local and regional level across Wales.
With an investment of £1.2 billion, the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal is focussed on delivering up to 25,000 new jobs and leveraging an additional £4 billion of private sector investment. I was particularly pleased to hear the news last week that the Cardiff Capital Region Economic Growth Partnership has appointed David Stevens, former Admiral Group CEO, to its Board. With a wealth of business talent and strategic expertise, I am sure that David will be a real force for good as the City Deal continues to focus on investment, upskilling and improved physical and digital connectivity to drive economic growth.
Around 50% of the total economic output of the Welsh economy comes from the Cardiff Capital Region but the impact of the other Growth and City Deals in Wales is of equal importance. Indeed, Swansea Bay City Deal has just announced an £18 million funding boost. The UK Government and Welsh Government will release the funding to the Swansea Bay City Deal investment portfolio in the coming weeks, subject to approval at all four regional local authorities.
Once released, it means £36 million of the £241 million from both UK and Welsh Governments will have been secured by the Swansea Bay City Deal portfolio so far, with further major funding releases expected over the coming years. This excellent news means that infrastructure programmes and projects can now be brought forward; creating well-paid jobs, while helping accelerate regional economic recovery from Covid-19.
The UK and Welsh Governments have now also signed the North Wales Growth Deal, bringing jobs and investment to the region. Work is now beginning on the five programmes that make up the £1bn Deal.
Led by North Wales Economic Ambition Board – a collaboration of the region’s six councils, two universities, two colleges and private sector representatives – the programmes are made up of 14 projects covering low carbon energy, innovation in high-value manufacturing, agri-food and tourism, digital connectivity and land and property. Both UK and Welsh Governments have worked closely with stakeholders throughout the process and had earlier committed £240m – £120m each – to help bring the Deal to fruition.
Meanwhile, the £110 million Mid Wales Growth Deal is also progressing with Heads of Terms now signed. The growth Deal has been developed from the Vision for Growing Mid Wales which was published in 2020 and sets out the broader economic strategy for the region. It is expected to play a vital role in unlocking and attracting further investment from the public and private sectors.
This combined news from all corners of Wales marks a significant milestone and creates a catalyst for further investment from the private, public and third sectors. It’s also a reflection of how, as a nation, we may be feeling a tad weary with Covid-19 but businesses and Government bodies are getting on with life and making things happen. This certainly gives our members great hope for the future.
It’s fantastic to see exciting and transformative economic deals being delivered across Wales. We need to build back better from the pandemic and bring jobs and investment to our communities, which is why it is so important that we all think big and work locally. The four Growth Deals are testament to this and have our full support here at the IoD.
Robert Lloyd Griffiths OBE,
National Director IoD Wales