Chancellor's commitment to Swansea Bay City region welcomed
Swansea Bay City Region leaders have welcomed news that the UK Government has recommitted its support for a Swansea Bay City Deal.
Chancellor Philip Hammond made the announcement during his Autumn Statement to parliament earlier this afternoon (Wednesday November 23).
The region’s City Deal bid, if approved, could be worth billions of pounds to Swansea Bay over the next 20 years.
Focussing on the region becoming a digital superhub through major investment in digital infrastructure, the 'Internet Coast' City Deal proposals would have major benefits for Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
It’s estimated the approval of the City Deal would be worth £3.3bn to the south west Wales economy, helping deliver thousands of job opportunities for Swansea residents and others.
Sir Terry Matthews, Chair of the Swansea Bay City Region, said:
“The Chancellor’s recommitment to the Swansea Bay City Deal in today’s Autumn Statement is great news.
“We are pleased to have the Government’s full support as we work towards sustainable economic prosperity for the people who live, work and invest in our city region.
“Our vision is that by 2030 South West Wales will be a confident, ambitious and connected European City Region, recognised across the world for its knowledge and innovation.
“We have already made great strides towards achieving this, with significant investment already made and more in the pipeline. The support we have received today from the Chancellor gives us more strength as we progress with the delivery of our Economic Regeneration Strategy.
“We are also pleased to hear that the Chancellor has also committed funding to create 5G broadband regions around the UK. We are already positioning the Swansea Bay City Region as an international internet gateway, developing and delivering new digital applications and advancing Swansea Bay as The Internet Coast.
“There is a rapidly growing global market for new broadband networks and services, in particular for 5G - the next generation wireless. We are working towards this with partners, with a vision to lead on improved broadband connectivity in particular in rural locations.
“We look forward to updating the Chancellor as we move forward.”
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “The Chancellor’s announcement was hugely encouraging for people in Swansea, as well as across the South West Wales area as a whole. These proposals will create thousands of jobs, attract major private sector investment and considerably boost the regional economy.
“An approved City Deal would be transformational for Swansea Bay, helping revive the region’s economic wellbeing by placing Swansea Bay at the heart of global digital innovation and enterprise.
“This would benefit existing businesses, help tackle poverty by opening up employment opportunities, and encourage entrepreneurial start-up companies to invest and flourish in Swansea. Our City Deal bid would revolutionise the way sectors like energy, health and social care are delivered here, helping further raise Swansea’s profile across the world as a business-friendly city at the forefront of innovation.
“Along with the business leaders who are supporting our bid, I’ll be visiting London in the next week or so to meet with Secretary of State Alun Cairns to further push the case for approval as soon as possible. We’re hopeful our City Deal bid will be approved over coming months.”
The Swansea Bay City Region encompasses the four local authority areas of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. Its vision for the region is that by 2030 South West Wales will be a confident, ambitious and connected European City Region, recognised internationally for its emerging knowledge and innovation economy.