A world leading breast cancer expert is helping guide a £1.3 billion programme of investment that’s worth nearly 10,000 well-paid jobs to South West Wales.
Simon Holt, a recently retired consultant surgical oncologist at Llanelli’s Prince Philip Hospital, is among the private sector specialists on the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Economic Strategy Board.
Also including Scarlets chairman Nigel Short, the board is tasked with providing guidance to the City Deal’s decision-making Joint Committee.
Mr Holt, a Cambridge University graduate who led the team behind the development and opening of Prince Philip Hospital’s breast care unit, says the City Deal gives an opportunity to further boost the Swansea Bay City Region’s life science sector.
“When the potential impact of the City Deal on local employment was explained to me – and the inclusion of the Wellness Village project in Llanelli, in particular – I decided to apply to be on the Economic Strategy Board.
“I have no doubt that the City Deal could be tremendously beneficial to South West Wales because of its ability to attract even more jobs and private sector investment.
“Once the investment is in place then our life science sector is certainly one that can even further develop because the Swansea Bay City Region offers so many advantages.”
Life sciences is among the themes of the Swansea Bay City Deal, which is projected to boost the regional economy by £1.8 billion in coming years. Carmarthenshire County Council is currently working on an alternative delivery model for the Wellness Village project, which will combine wellness, medical research and leisure services on an integrated site at Delta Lakes in Llanelli.
Mr Holt continues to run all research aspects of Prince Philip Hospital’s breast care unit, which diagnoses about 600 new cases of cancer a year. He also gives lectures around the world on gene expression analysis in breast cancer.
The Economic Strategy Board, he says, has an important role to play. Chaired by Ed Tomp, managing director and vice-president of Valero UK, other board members include Pobl Group chief executive Amanda Davies, Industry Wales executive chair James Davies, and Riversimple financial director Chris Foxall.
As well as his expertise in life sciences, Mr Holt also cites his strong links with universities and research as factors which make him as asset to the board.
Mr Holt, who lives in Carmarthenshire, said:
“The Economic Strategy Board will help identify how City Deal projects can best be linked, while exploring how the City Deal can act as a catalyst for further private sector investment and economic growth. This could then translate into jobs for local people.”
The Swansea Bay City Deal is due to be funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector. The investment programme is being led by the four Swansea Bay City Region local authorities, the two regional health boards, Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
Before moving to Prince Philip Hospital in 1990, Mr Holt was a consultant surgeon in the Royal Air Force, where he also ran its oncology unit.