A £1.2 billion Cardiff Capital Region City Deal that could transform the economy of south east Wales has been formally ratified today (March 1, 2017) during a special ceremony held on St David’s Day.
The Cardiff City Deal will unlock significant economic growth across the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR), which includes the ten local authorities of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf The Vale of Glamorgan and Torfaen.
The aims of the CCR City Deal are to create jobs and boost economic prosperity by improving productivity, tackle worklessness, build on foundations of innovation, invest in physical and digital infrastructure, provide support for business, and ensure that any economic benefits generated as a result are felt across the region.
The leaders of the ten local authorities within the CCR signed the City Deal document in a ceremony at Cardiff Airport, following universal support from all ten councils for the programme.
The City Deal includes funding of £734m for the South Wales Metro, of which over £500 million is provided by the Welsh Government and £125m from the UK Government .
The UK Government has provided a £375m contribution, and the ten local authorities have agreed a commitment to borrow a combined total of £120million as part of the Wider Investment Fund.
Today’s signing means the Regional Cabinet of the ten authority leaders has come out of Shadow, and the City Deal will enter into a transition phase.
The Cardiff Capital Region Transition Plan will detail key activity to be undertaken, including establishing a Regional Office to drive the delivery of the Regional Cabinet’s work programme in anticipation of receiving proposals. This includes the creation of a bespoke impact assessment model for those proposals.
The transition phase will also see the creation and development of three advisory bodies to the Regional Cabinet – the CCR Economic Growth Partnership, a region-wide business representation organisation and an Employment and Skills Board, and one delivery body, the Regional Transport Authority.
The Leader of the City of Cardiff Council Cllr Phil Bale said:
“lt’s fitting we are here to sign this document on St David’s Day. We can now begin the detailed work which will bring the City Deal to life. The critical mass needed to compete internationally can only be achieved through the collective power of 1.5m people working together in a joined up system and sharing in the benefits that brings.”
First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones said:
“I’m delighted that the landmark £1.2bn Cardiff Capital Region City Deal has been formally ratified.
“The Welsh Government has worked closely with the ten local authorities and the UK Government to negotiate the city deal, which is the first in Wales. The Welsh Government’s contribution of over £500m in funding for the Metro was instrumental in securing the deal. The Metro will be key to delivering our plans to improve transport connectivity and economic prosperity in the region.
“I am pleased that the city region has now reached the stage where it can begin the work of delivering projects that will make a real difference to the economy of the region, and ultimately, to people’s lives.”
Councillor Andrew Morgan, chair of the CCR Regional Cabinet, and Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said:
“Today is an historic day for the Cardiff Capital Region.
“Leaders and officers have worked extremely hard over the past 16 months to get the City Deal to this position, particularly in terms of reaching agreement on the governance and accountability of the Regional Cabinet.
“Working with stakeholders, and in particular business, we will bring about an economic and social step-change in the Cardiff Capital Region, through improved transport, supporting innovation, an improved digital network, developing skills, supporting enterprise and business growth, and through housing development and regeneration.
“Our impact assessment modelling will be very important because it will be about more than GVA uplift. We will be looking for tangible social and community improvements as well.”
Professor Kevin Morgan, of Cardiff University’s School of Geography & Planning, said:
“Cardiff University very much welcomes the City Deal.
“We’re keen for partners to make use of our expertise and resources, particularly our £300m Innovation Campus which can help boost prosperity in the City Region.
“The University was involved right at the outset of the City Region and City Deal process. We have unrivalled expertise across industry, business, government and the Third sector that can help deliver real economic and social benefits for South East Wales.”