CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has called for a re-think on plans not to develop a city-region in North East Wales.
In July a Task and Finish Group set up by the Welsh Government recommended developing two city-regions in South Wales to drive economic growth in Swansea and Cardiff. However it rejected the possibility of a region in North East Wales.
The AM, who is due to meet the Chair of the Task and Finish Group Dr Elizabeth Haywood next week, has said a cross-border city region could have important benefits for Wrexham and the wider area.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said:
“The task and finish group report makes a very powerful case that something creative needs to be done to boost economic growth in Wales and that the creation of city regions in Cardiff and Swansea could be part of the solution.
“However it is puzzling why the report stops short of recommending one for North Wales given that three of the four city regions Wales has to compete with on its border are in direct competition with North East Wales.
“A new city region linking Chester, Ellesmere Port and the Wirral with North East Wales at the centre would have the critical mass of population to succeed and could bring vitally important jobs and prosperity to an area that badly needs it.
“Local councils in North East Wales have always worked closely with partners in England and will continue to do so, however I fear about the message this report sends out. If we don’t trumpet our ambition as a region then I fear that the city regions of Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham will dilute the important economic strength of this area and the inward investment potential of North East Wales.
“Many of those who gave evidence to the task and finish group showed strong support for the creation of such a city region from the FSB, the North Wales Economic Forum and the Creative Industries Panel, yet this was rejected by the report.
“Our region cannot be left to compete on unfair terms with its closest competitors just over the border and I hope a city region for North East Wales can be progressed over the next few years.”