Andrew Morgan says that the infrastructure is now in place to deliver on the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.
The ink is now dry on the historic Cardiff Capital Region City Deal document signed by the ten local authority partners with ministers from the UK and Welsh Governments.
And three months on, significant progress has been made to ensure a strict but rigorous governance infrastructure is in place to deliver it.
The City Deal document outlines a programme of investment amounting to £1.2 billion that is anticipated to unlock significant economic growth across the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR).
Over its 20-year lifetime, it is hoped the City Deal will deliver as many as 25,000 new jobs, and £4 billion of private sector investment across the region.
The ten leaders of the local authorities in the CCR, the Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands, and First Minister Carwyn Jones signed the City Deal document in a ceremony at Admiral’s head office in Cardiff.
It was important for us to hold such a momentous signing as this at the region’s only FTSE-100 listed company.
Admiral is a shining beacon of what can be achieved Wales, and we hope the City Deal can provide the opportunities as well create an environment and conditions that will enable many others to thrive and follow in such footsteps.
I also think it is important to stress that this City Deal is for the whole Cardiff Capital Region – and indeed, we would expect to see its benefits reach many other parts of Wales as well through an ‘economic ripple’.
Yes, of course, our capital city is a major economic driver for Wales: we can improve that even further, whilst ensuring the rest of the region benefits.
How? This is the largest-per-head City Deal in the UK to date, and will help boost economic growth by improving transport links, increasing skills, helping people into work and giving businesses the support they need to grow.
It will also establish strong governance across the region through a Cardiff Capital Region Cabinet. Through this, the ten local authority leaders will join up decision making, pool resources, and partner with business.
- £1.2 billion investment in the Cardiff Capital Region’s infrastructure through a 20-year Investment Fund. A key priority for investment will be the delivery of the South East Wales Metro, including the Valley Lines Electrification programme.
- The creation of a non-statutory Regional Transport Authority to co-ordinate transport planning and investment, in partnership with the Welsh Government.
- The development of capabilities in Compound Semiconductor Applications. The UK Government will invest £50 million to establish a new Catapult Centre in Wales. The CCR will also prioritise investment in research and development, and provide support for high value, innovative businesses.
- The Cardiff Capital Region Skills and Employment Board will be created (building on existing arrangements) to ensure skills and employment provision is responsive to the needs of local businesses and communities.
- The CCR and the Welsh Government will work with Department of Work and Pensions to co-design the future employment support from 2017 for people with a health condition or disability and/or long term unemployed.
- A Cardiff Capital Region Business Organisation will be established to ensure that there is a single voice for business to work with local authority leaders.
- The Welsh Government and the Cardiff Capital Region commit to a new partnership approach to housing development and regeneration. This will ensure the delivery of sustainable communities, through the use and re-use of property and sites.
Both the UK and Welsh Government are contributing £500 million to the CCR Investment Fund respectively. The ten local authorities in the CCR will contribute a minimum of £120 million over the duration of the Fund.
Decisions on the prioritisation of the proposed schemes other than the Metro will be taken by a CCR Cabinet, in consultation with business leaders and education professionals.
The ten local authorities have committed to adopt an assurance framework for the Investment Fund, which will be agreed by the UK and Welsh Governments, to ensure good value for money and that proposed projects are underpinned by a robust business case.
In order to deliver the CCR‘s City Deal commitments and a longer-term economic strategy, the ten local authorities have requested greater financial autonomy and flexibility. As part of this City Deal the Welsh Government will explore with the Cardiff Capital Region:
- The devolution of business rate income above an agreed growth baseline to provide funding for the City Deal programme.
- Providing the ability to levy an infrastructure supplement.
- Creating the option for the local authorities to use alternative finance sources.
- Removing conditions around some specific Welsh Government grants, to allow funding to be pooled at the regional level in areas such as school support and interventions that seek to address poverty.
The key now is putting the delivery infrastructure in place, rolling our sleeves up, and getting on with the work. There is much to do.
No one said it will be easy, but the partners are committed to achieving this truly transformational programme.
I would like to finish by wishing our colleagues in the Swansea Bay region every success with their own bid. It is important for Wales that both regions have City Deals.