Cardiff Capital Region is stepping up a gear as its 2020-21 business plan reveals some transformative new projects are expected to reach legal completion this year.
This is the fourth annual business plan for the capital region, which has seen some of the highest levels of relative GVA growth in the UK in 2018-19. But there is still much to do and the plan focuses on the next steps that are expected to take shape over the coming year.
One of the key themes in this year’s business plan is economic inclusion. Parts of the region remain stubbornly low in competitiveness compared to the rest of the UK, with Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr stuck at the bottom of the UK Competitiveness Index.
Consequently, the CCR Regional Economic and Industrial Plan and Investment and Intervention framework are focused not just on projects, but on where the benefits will be felt. In the words of the business plan, “Sustainable, inclusive and distributed growth is a key aim, ensuring we make sincere attempts to share and spread prosperity.”
In terms of projects, the business plan lists some of the highlights of the past year, including the compound semiconductor foundry in Newport, which is now in production after a drawdown of £33m out of a planned project investment of £37.9m.
There have been 65 new jobs created at IQE and a further 545 roles safeguarded at IQE and NWF. An additional 259 indirect supply chain jobs have been created as a result of the foundry, and so far 697 jobs have been indirectly supported in the region’s semiconductor cluster since the foundry began. The £37.9m investment by CCR is expected to leverage £375m in private sector investment.
For 2020-21 the business plan anticipates progress on pushing forward further projects from strategic outline case through to legal completion. These include:
Additionally, there are a number of other initiatives that are at an advanced stage, and these include:
There is no shortage of future projects for the Regional Cabinet to consider, with 15 having completed their initial enquiry documentation and a further 28 in the pipeline, of which between three and six are expected to be brought forward for formal consideration.
The business plan lists four key objectives for 2020/21:
The overarching objective of the CCR is defined as growing a connected, competitive, and resilient economy, and establishing the CCR as a place where prosperity is shared and wealth and wellbeing are compatible goals. The 2020/21 business plan signposts the next stage of the journey towards that goal.