Will the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal benefit the entire region?

The Growth and Competitiveness Commission for the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) is going to publish its report this Friday 16th December. So what is the Commission and what should we hope the report says?

There is still a lot of complexity around the goings on within the Capital Region. The CCR is taking forward a regional approach to economic development within south-east Wales. There are various structures but at its essence is the £1.2 billion City Deal agreement signed between the 10 local authorities in south-east Wales, the Welsh Government and the Treasury back in March.

As part of the deal, the Treasury committed £580 million to support economic growth in the region, with a similar amount from Welsh Government and around £120 million from the local authorities. The money is to be spent on the South Wales Metro as well as other projects including an innovation district, a software academy and a compound semiconductor centre (the technology behind smartphones).

The report of the Growth and Competitiveness Commission is a key ‘deliverable’ of the City Deal. The Commission’s job is to review the evidence and advise the ten councils about how best to generate growth in the region.

My view is that the report needs to go beyond the traditional approaches to economic growth that have clearly not worked for many people. The report also has to address some key questions, for instance:

  • How will the plans set out for City Deal investment help our region deal with the social and economic changes predicted over the next two decades, such as increasing automation, and demographic change?
  • How will the Commission’s proposals benefit communities outside Cardiff?
  • What measures will be put in place to ensure that the poorest communities gain from planned development?
  • How will success be measured? For instance if a measure of success is the number of jobs created, will the pay and conditions of those jobs be taken into account?

The City Deal presents a huge opportunity to create jobs, improve infrastructure and regenerate communities. It’s important that this opportunity benefits communities across the wider south-east Wales region, and hopefully the commission’s proposals will reflect this importance.

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