CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has welcomed news that the Welsh Government is set to re-examine the case for 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 third city region in North East Wales.
During a debate in the Senedd on Tuesday the Labour AM expressed his concerns the area may get left behind other areas of the UK.
The Minister for Enterprise and Business Edwina Hart said in response that she was asking officials to re-examine the case for closer cross-border collaboration in North East Wales.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said:
“As the Welsh Government’s Task and Finish Group report makes clear, the case for the development of city regions is a very compelling one and I was very worried that in rejecting the concept outright for North East Wales we may have been left behind other regions of Wales and the UK.
“Welsh cities currently generate only 33% of our income as a country which is a significantly lower proportion that all the other UK nations and regions so we need to do more to generate extra growth from our city areas.
“That is why I am delighted that the Minister for Business has now asked the reports authors to go back and re-examine the possibility of developing a city region, or other such model, for North East Wales. We may not have a big city in North East Wales itself, but we can utilise the big urban centres that are just across the border to drive forward economic growth.
“There is the possibility that the next round of EU Structural Funds may in part be linked to the development of City Regions and if this happens, millions of pounds could be lost if North East Wales is not a part of that policy.
“The Federation of Small Business, the North Wales Economic Forum, the Creative Industries Panel and local authorities on both sides of the border all support the creation of a unique, dynamic cross border city region.
“The concern is that cross border collaboration of this kind may lead to an excessive amount of housing development or to a dilution of our cultural identity. However the reality is that economic stagnation and decline are a bigger threat to our region than anything else.”