Cardiff Capital Region five-year business plan receives overwhelming support from councils

Cardiff Bay

The five-year strategic plan to leverage maximum economic and social benefits from the £1.2 billion Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal fund has been formally approved by the members of all 10 local authority partners.

The strategic business plan details what is needed to achieve the long-term objectives of the CCR City Deal, outlines the required actions and outcomes of the CCR City Deal, and how the £1.2bn ‘Wider Investment Fund’ will be used over the next five years to drive the actions forward.

The business plan was approved by the CCR Regional Cabinet comprising the 10 local authority leaders in February, subject to approval from the members of each of those authorities. All 10 authorities have now debated, voted, and approved the plan.

The plan specifies the regional strategic objectives of the CCR City Deal, which are:

  1. Prosperity and Opportunity – Building the capacity of individuals, households, public sector and businesses to meet challenges and grasp opportunity, creating a more productive economy
  2. Inclusion and Equality – A vibrant and sustainable economy which contributes to the well-being and quality of life of the people and communities in the region now and in the future
  3. Identity, Culture, Community and Sustainability – Forging a clear identity and strong reputation as a City Region for trade, innovation, and quality of life

The overarching economic objectives of the City Deal are to create 25,000 new jobs and leverage £4billion in private sector investment.

Key themes have been identified to focus the approach: Skills and Employment, Innovation, Connecting the Region, and Regeneration and Infrastructure.

Supporting these strategic themes are three programmes, which were agreed at the Regional Cabinet meeting on February 12:

  1. Regeneration and Infrastructure – the Housing Investment Fund has been proposed to support the need for more homes to be built across the region. The Fund will support house building, ranging from larger builders and developers on stalled housing sites on former industrial sites, through to small builders, community builders, custom builders and regeneration specialists, on small sites across the region. The fund will also help stimulate the SME building sector across the region by providing loan development finance and launching a Customer Build Scheme releasing smaller plots of public sector land with a full package of support for SMEs to deliver new homes in the communities.
  2. Connecting the Region – the digital strategy will help to make the area a “smart region,” driving innovative and disruptive solutions to attract private sector partnership and investment., including Welsh and regional connectivity, regional and community fibre connectivity, mobile 5G Access and maximising open data.
  3. Skills and Employment – the Skills for the Future project supports the Skills and Employment theme and will provide region-wide school engagement with pupils and parents to offer careers advice and guidance, support for businesses to address barriers of participation, including a skills investment fund and a commitment to support delivery of over 10,000 additional apprenticeships, graduate internships and upskilled employees in the private sector.

The CCR City Deal aims to benefit to the whole of the CCR Region, which includes the ten local authorities of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan. The City Deal was formally signed by the ten leaders of the local authorities on March 1, 2017.

Of the £1.2billion City Fund, £734million has been committed to support the South East Wales Metro.

The Regional Cabinet of the 10 local authorities’ leaders have agreed two significant investments already. In May 2017, the Cabinet agreed to invest £37.9 million to support the development of a compound semiconductor industry cluster in the region.

The project is expected to leverage up to £375 million of private sector investment over the next five years, and the creation of up to 2,000 high value, high-tech jobs, with the potential for hundreds more in the wider supply chain and cluster development.

In January, the Cabinet agreed to commit £40 million to support in principle the £180 million Metro Central Development, a project that will deliver a new Central Transport Interchange at the heart of Cardiff’s city centre Core Employment Zone.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Chair of the CCR Regional Cabinet and Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, said: “We are delighted by the overwhelming support for the business plan. In total, more than 500 council members from across the South-East Wales local authorities have shown their support of the business plan and formally approved it. It is a great step forward for the CCR City Deal and the support for the plan reinforces the idea of collaborative working to encourage economic growth and change.

“The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal is a unique programme of collaborative working which will enable economic change, improved digital and physical connectivity, improved skills and educational opportunities, and regeneration across the region.

“It is an investment in its people, and aims to bring fairness and opportunities for all, no matter where they live in the region. It builds on the region’s proud heritage, the beauty of our natural landscape, and the vibrancy of our rich cultural and social life.

“It will enrich lives in other ways too, reforming our public services, provide new, affordable homes, improve family life, and create a workforce which can adapt to the changing needs of the 21st Century.

“To do this, the City Deal partners will work together, with a clear vision of what life and its demands will look like in 20 years’ time, to ensure the Cardiff Capital Region maximizes its potential on a global stage.

“By attracting new investment and growing more successful businesses, by improving our connectivity, by developing our skills and education, we will restore the capital region to its historical role as the “engine room” of the Welsh economy.”