About Cardiff Capital Region

Creating sustainable success and thriving communities in South East Wales.

What is Cardiff Capital Region?

Cardiff Capital Region is a regional body (also known as a Corporate Joint Committee) made up of the 10 councils across South East Wales. We’ve been working together successfully as a partnership since 2017. Our investments and wider activity has already created and safeguarded more than 3,000 jobs across our region; we’ve supported over 200 businesses and invested millions in our Metro transport system.

We invest in things that improve our residents’ quality of life – jobs, transport, homes and communities – and have recently adopted new responsibilities for transport and planning mean we will have the opportunity to do more. 

We work with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority on strategic planning issues, and we work with our councils and the national park authority to plan ahead for the region’s future, looking at where people will need homes and better transport links. There is robust and transparent decision making made in public by democratically elected members. 

We also work collaboratively with our partners in the Welsh and UK Governments to improve the lives of our region’s 1.5m residents. 

Corporate Joint Committees are being implemented across the four regions of Wales and provide a framework for greater collaboration between councils, leading to a more consistent, simplified and democratically-controlled way of regional working.

ccr-map

Our Goals

Connected.

A connector of people, their ambitions and the opportunities to fulfil their true potential. Nurturing the best conditions for business success and community cohesion, through targeted investment in world class digital communications. Creating cutting edge integrated transport infrastructure, connecting affordable and accessible spaces to live, work and play. 

Competitive.

A catalyst for continuity investment, bringing key industry clusters to life. A trusted partner enabling companies to innovate and realise their full potential. A shaper of economically significant hubs, producing multiplier effects that fuel local and regional supply chains as well as the broader foundational economy.

Resilient.

A focus for creating the conditions where our businesses and our people are best equipped to embrace the future. A keystone presence helping the region adapt, improvise and overcome periods of economic turbulence or social unrest.

About the Region

Cardiff Capital Region covers the 10 council areas of Blaenau Gwent; Bridgend; Caerphilly; Cardiff; Merthyr Tydfil; Monmouthshire; Newport; Rhondda Cynon Taf; Torfaen, and Vale of Glamorgan. 

Our region has a population of 1.5 million, which equates to almost half the total population of Wales. We are a diverse region, comprising the two cities of Cardiff and Newport, a range of market towns, the industrial heartland of the South Wales Valleys, rural communities, and a coastal belt.

There has been significant regeneration and investment over recent decades to redevelop heavy industrial areas and to create new business parks, housing and recreational initiatives. 

Drawing on its industrial heritage, it has a number of anchor manufacturing businesses in aerospace, defence and automotive. It is home to 50,000 local businesses.

It also has growing diversity in its business base with emerging, competitive business clusters in areas such as cyber, compound semi-conductors, life sciences and the creative industries. It is home to three universities, and is well skilled with a high proportion of the population with qualifications of degree level or equivalent. 

It has a vibrant capital city at its heart with excellent cultural and sporting facilities, is characterised by a diverse environment of coastline, forest and parks, and has very high reported levels of quality of life and wellbeing.

Our Values

Ambitious

We strive to be the best we can be. We are leaders in our fields, opinion formers and influencers - challenging conventional thinking, innovating continually, having the courage of our convictions, and believing passionately in the pursuit of excellence.

Collaborative​

We listen, we share information freely and we keep everyone informed. We never pass on an opportunity to help a colleague - recognizing that our collective impact is greater than our individual impact.

Adaptable

We embrace the challenges we meet and maintain our effectiveness at all times. We have an agile mindset and view setbacks as learning opportunities, striving to create an environment where we ‘learn by doing’, seeking to continuously improve our working practices - and ourselves.

Inclusive

We respect each other and value diversity of opinion. We take the time to ensure everyone feels seen and heard. We value the input of our partnerships and advisory bodies - and ensure that we leverage their collective genius.

Priority Sectors

We have various priority sectors where we have comparative strengths and competitive advantages.

Compound Semiconductors

Compound Semiconductors provide the underpinning technology behind most of today’s high-tech products and services including smartphones, sensors, and fibre-optic communications.

Fintech

Wales has the fastest growing digital economy outside of London, and the growth of the financial and professional sector in Wales has led to a thriving Fintech industry.

Cybersecurity & Analytics

Cybersecurity is a core pillar of Welsh Government’s international strategy, and one of the Capital Region’s priority sectors for economic growth.

Cybersecurity & Analytics

Cybersecurity is a core pillar of Welsh Government’s international strategy, and one of the Capital Region’s priority sectors for economic growth.

Creative Economy

The Cardiff Capital region is acknowledged as one of the UK’s largest media production centres outside of London.

Creative Economy

The Cardiff Capital region is acknowledged as one of the UK’s largest media production centres outside of London.

MedTech

Cardiff Capital Region is focusing specifically on medical diagnostics and devices.

Energy & Environment

Creating the conditions for a transition to a carbon neutral economy and society in the CCR, using low carbon energy are considered a key enabler of economic regeneration and fundamental to improving the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Key Areas of Focus

These represent areas of key enabling capability essential to achieving our ambition to be Connected, Competitive and Resilient.

Skills

35% of graduates stay in the region ten years later and it’s not just graduates that are needed; apprenticeships and other skilled career paths are needed more than ever and CCR’s approach is to mentor, motivate and sometimes fund the discrete types of skills development that will drive job creation and resilience for now and future generations.

Digital

The provision of high class digital services is a stimulant for innovation and the creation of new business streams, leading in turn to economic growth, social inclusion and cohesion.

Sites & Property

Infrastructure encompasses a wide range of components from the physical structures that underpin transportation to power generation that is sustainable and economically viable, working with our local authority partners to ensure that strategic sites are available for investment opportunities and job creation.

Innovation

Innovation is the cornerstone of sustained economic growth and prosperity. According to McKinsey, 84% of executives say that their future success is dependent on innovation.

Latest news from the region

Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) is co-sponsoring the Science & Technology Village (SaTV) at the 2024 National Eisteddfod along with the University of South Wales (USW). 

Regional Economic Plan

Governance

What is the City Deal?

Compound Semi-Conductors

Compound Semi-Conductors provide the underpinning technology behind most of today’s high-tech products and services including smartphones, sensors, and fibre-optic communications. They function at speeds much faster than traditional silicon-based semi-conductors and offer photonic properties that used in a wide range of sensor technologies and optical communications. Semiconductors in the form of both silicon and compound semiconductors, form the heart of many of today’s technologies. Without semiconductors, many devices and applications that we rely on simply would not exist, yet these atomically engineered materials go largely unnoticed amongst the end user brands with which we are so familiar.

The next generation of semiconductors, compound semiconductors will be used in everything from 5G to the Internet of Things, taking in robotics, healthcare, autonomous vehicles and energy efficiency along the way. And the good news is that south east Wales is at the forefront of development, with a world leading cluster emerging in the region. Pioneering companies such as IQE are already well established here, working closely with Cardiff University in the Compound Semiconductor Centre. Cardiff Capital Region has supported the industry with a £38m investment in a manufacturing facility, the Compound Semiconductor Foundry, at Newport, ensuring that manufacturing of the semiconductors, and the jobs that go with it, is not offshored.

Fintech

Wales has the fastest growing digital economy outside of London, and the growth of the financial and professional sector in Wales has led to a thriving Fintech industry. In the CCR financial services companies such as Admiral are among the region’s largest employers. Historically, the financial service sector was generally slow to embrace change and adopt new technologies. However, the accelerated pace of technological advancement has infiltrated and disrupted the traditional financial services sector in Wales, as key players recognise the benefits of new technologies.

The Welsh fintech scene is now one of the most active in the UK thanks to its innovative talent pool and growing investment opportunities. Wales’ thriving tech ecosystem with its growing supply chain combined with entrepreneurial universities provides a firm foundation for fintech to thrive.

With Welsh fintech hubs located in Cardiff and Newport, Swansea and Wrexham, almost 40,000 people are actively employed within the fintech industry in Wales. The technology sector is worth an estimated £8.5bn to the Welsh economy, and it is continuing to grow with financial and professional services in tow.

There is a vibrant community in Wales’ technology scene, which allows start ups, investors and larger companies to meet and share ideas through accelerators and incubators as well as networking events and flexible workspaces. Furthermore, Wales is home to the first financial technology undergraduate degree.

With the changing economic and technological climate in Wales, financial services and the technologies that run them will continue evolving to meet newer and faster-changing demands. The agility required in the financial markets of the future will require new innovations in technology and systems.

The opportunities and potential for the Fintech sector in Wales are immense and we are actively working with Fintech Wales, having provided seed funding to support the creation of a robust cluster development strategy.

Cybersecurity & Analytics

We all rely on technology throughout our lives, either directly or indirectly. Whether banking on your smartphone, working on a laptop, keeping up-to-date on a tablet, we are constantly storing vast amounts of personal information on devices or online. The security of that information, and the protection of those devices is defined as Cybersecurity, and is a huge business, expected to exceed £759bn globally from 2017 – 2021. Whilst there are personal implications of a cyber-attack, the economic impacts are huge – the Department for Health calculated that the 2017 WannaCry Ransomeware attack cost the NHS £92m and led to the cancelation of 19,000 appointments.

Cybersecurity is a core pillar of Welsh Government’s international strategy, and one of the Capital Region’s priority sectors for economic growth. Whilst the sector is relatively small, with the Dept. for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport suggesting 69 companies in Wales, there are significant strengths to build from and the impact of effective cybersecurity solutions is felt by every company. Cardiff Capital Region already has some major international players in cyber security operating here in Airbus and Thales. The focus of their work is protection, attempting to predict cyber-attacks and prevent them before they happen, rather than the forensic work of analysing attacks after they have taken place. Crucially – and this is a major reason for companies like Airbus and Thales being here – their presence supports and is supported by a growing ecosystem of SMEs in the cyber sphere, fortified and fed by the expertise and talent pool coming out of the region’s universities.

The Capital Region boasts 2 Universities (Cardiff and USW) formally recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre as centres of excellence in cybersecurity research and teaching, and over £18m industrial investment from Airbus and Thales (as well as investment by Welsh Government) into cybersecurity innovation in the region. Cardiff University, Airbus and Thales are part of a consortium led by Bristol University for £40m research and innovation investment from UKRI, which would help catalyse significant growth of the cybersecurity in the capital region.

Creative Economy

The Cardiff Capital region is acknowledged as one of the UK’s largest media production centres outside of London. Film and TV represents a significant part of the CCR economy, with more than 600 firms contributing £350m. 7% of the region’s workforce are engaged within Media. Wales has a growing international reputation for high end TV drama, with more than 30 films and dramas shot in the country since 2017 including Dr Who, Sherlock and His Dark Materials.

Key to the growth of film and TV in CCR is world-class studio capacity (BBC Drama Studios, Bad Wolf Studios, Seren Studios) meaning that we are a magnet for companies including Hollywood filmmakers coming here to use the region’s studios and outside locations. We also have a very strong University sector including Clwstwr, a £10m Creative Industry R&D programme led by Cardiff University and an endless stream of skills and talent driven by the University of South Wales.

In addition to film and TV, the region has strengths in broadcast media, digital content, home grown music and boasts a vibrant, and growing, gaming sector.

The sector also provides significant spill-over benefit into other parts of the economy, including roles across wide range of skills including; crafts and trades such as costume and stage design, lighting and sound engineering logistics, carpentry, catering and post production.

In 2019, an ambitious consortium led by Cardiff University, was awarded £50,000 from UK Research and Innovation to develop their proposal for a Creative Capital cluster. If successful, the cluster, with partners from Screen Alliance Wales and BBC, ITV, S4C to Tramshed Tech, Nesta and the Alacrity Foundation, will secure an additional £19m to grow the Creative Cluster in the Capital Region, ensuring more of the content we enjoy from Netflix, Amazon, and Disney etc. will be filmed and produced in our region.

MedTech

The life sciences sector is a huge one, but Cardiff Capital Region is focusing specifically on medical diagnostics and devices. Here the region is strong and is home to mature Medical Devices and Diagnostic companies, cutting-edge genomic research at Cardiff University and a vibrant cohort of young MedTech companies. The region is also already home to the other ingredients required to transform CCR into the home of next generation diagnostics including:

  • The Life Sciences Hub – funded by Welsh Government to break down the barriers to innovation in the NHS
  • A devolved NHS – flexible enough to adopt innovation to transform the health and wellbeing of the region
  • The Compound Semiconductor Cluster – the future of electronics; faster, lighter, cheaper, with additional functionality

Our aim is to bring these strands together into a thriving, R&D-led MedTech cluster, creating an ecosystem where businesses can work in tandem with cutting-edge research, draw on the potential that compound semiconductors present, and deliver innovation directly into the NHS, benefitting the health and wellbeing of the region whilst also driving economic growth.

Energy & Environment

Creating the conditions for a transition to a carbon neutral economy and society in the CCR, using low carbon energy are considered a key enabler of economic regeneration and fundamental to improving the health and wellbeing of our communities.

We have a unique opportunity to sustainably rebuild our economy and make greener investments and climate positive decisions that set us on a pathway that aligns with the Welsh, UK and international climate targets.

Cardiff Capital Region, with support from Welsh Government, has an Energy Vision which has been modelled to set out a potential decarbonisation route that will put the region on track to achieve a net zero energy system by 2050, in line with UK Government objectives. To meet the targets Cardiff Capital Region needs to reduce emissions from its energy system by 55% by 2035, split by sector as follows:

  • 51% reduction in domestic heat and power emissions
  • 54% reduction in commercial and industrial emissions
  • 60% reduction in road transport emissions

We are committed to achieving this.

Skills

To compete effectively in today’s global economy confidence in a highly skilled, adaptable and dependable workforce is essential. Supply of local skills is one of the key considerations for any business deciding where to locate its operations and is of huge importance to how our region performs. The CCR has a strong ecosystem of skills, knowledge, and research and industry collaboration. Home to Cardiff University, University of South Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University and The Open University in Wales, together they account for around 75,000 students. This is alongside five Further Education Colleges – : Cardiff and Vale College, Coleg Gwent, Bridgend College, Coleg Y Cymoedd and the College Merthyr Tydfil supporting the learning and upskilling of an additional 60,000 learners.

There is a strong culture of collaboration between HE, FE and Industry in the region. The Universities and their industrial partners make a strong contribution to the economic and social resilience of the region and are key to future growth strategies.

The future prosperity of the region relies on a vibrant and inclusive education sector, which promotes opportunity for all and has clear and tangible links to the growth of the regional and national economy.

Digital

The provision of high class digital services is a stimulant for innovation and the creation of new business streams, leading in turn to economic growth, social inclusion and cohesion. Accordingly it is a critical enabler enablers for the achievement of the CCR strategic ambition and growth plans.

To date the region has suffered from a lack of commercial investment in digital infrastructure that consequently has resulted in an underlying gap in delivery capability compared with other regions of the UK. This has been brought into sharp focus throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. It is imperative we address the gap and future-proof fixed fibre and mobile networks in order to provide a transformative foundation for both businesses and citizens across the region and indeed across Wales.

Sites & Property

Good housing is one of the key determinants of quality of life, yet for many in the Cardiff Capital Region a good quality, modern home is an unmet need. The statistics for house building paint a stark picture. New homes construction dropped sharply after the financial crisis in 2007, and as of 2018 had yet to reach pre-crisis levels. Recovery had been taking place before the Covid-19 lockdown with some boroughs booming, but that recovery was uneven, exacerbated in many areas by the prevalence of stalled sites.

A lack of new house building has a big impact on individuals and businesses. It contributes to affordability problems as house prices grow relative to incomes. Across the region, median house prices in 2018 were more than five times median annual incomes.

Other negative effects of low house building include a lack of labour mobility; higher costs for business because of limited local labour supplies; the retention of old, poor quality housing stock which is difficult to heat efficiently; and poor quality of life for residents. In this sector our focus will be on unlocking potential for commercial activity and access to good quality affordable housing through the re-generation of brownfield and stalled sites across the whole region. Our aim will be to unlock sites that have stalled, invest in projects that will deliver housing and commercial properties in areas where it is needed most, generate construction activity, jobs and sustainable developments and enhance the long-term growth prospects and competitiveness of the region through improved infrastructure, increased connectivity and regeneration.

Innovation

Innovation is the cornerstone of sustained economic growth and prosperity. According to McKinsey, 84% of executives say that their future success is dependent on innovation. Without innovation, there isn’t anything new, and without anything new, there isn’t any real progress. Thus if organization isn’t making any progress, it simply cannot stay relevant in a competitive market. In addition, over the last decades, innovation has become a significant way to combat critical social risks and threats. Examples include issues such as the climate crisis, caring for an ageing population, food poverty, clean tech infrastructure to a new kind of knowledge economy steeped in data and automation. Innovation is important to the advancement of society as it solves these kinds of social problems and enhances society’s capacity to act. In an uncertain world and in uncertain times one thing is certain, and that’s the need to continually adapt, and innovate, and to be able to show agility, flexibility and the ability to change at pace.

However despite the undoubted importance of research and innovation we have persistently under-funded it as a nation This has led to the UK gov commitment to 2.4% of national spend being invested in innovation and research by 2027, and 3% over the medium term. In Wales, it is estimated that around 1% of national output is currently invested in R&D. This is not enough.

Our focus in the CCR will be multifold and will include:

  • The creation and management of challenge funds, bringing together public sector, private sector and our universities to solve the big societal issues of the day. Issues exacerbated by Covid.
  • Supporting and participating in Strength in places bids to UKRI for developing our priority sectors. In July 2020 we successfully secured £25.4m for the development of CS Connected – a major project within our compound semi -conductor cluster based around integrating research excellence from the region’s universities with the region’s unique supply chains in advanced semiconductors.
  • Creation and management of a bespoke innovation fund to help accelerate the growth of our strategic SME’s.
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