Ten Local Authority Leaders, and UK and Welsh Governments Agree £1.2 billion Regional Investment Fund
A £1.2 billion City Deal to unlock significant economic growth across the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) was formally signed today.
Over its lifetime, local partners expect the City Deal to deliver as many as 25,000 new jobs, and £4 billion of private sector investment across the region.
The ten leaders of the local authorities in the CCR, the Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands, and First Minister Carwyn Jones signed the City Deal document in a ceremony at Admiral’s head office in Cardiff.
The City Deal will help boost economic growth by improving transport links, increasing skills, helping people into work and giving businesses the support they need to grow.
It will also establish strong governance across the region through a Cardiff Capital Region Cabinet,. Through this, the ten local authority leaders will join up decision making, pool resources, and partner with business.
The City Deal includes:
• £1.2 billion investment in the Cardiff Capital Region’s infrastructure through a 20-year Investment Fund. A key priority for investment will be the delivery of the South East Wales Metro, including the Valley Lines Electrification programme.
• The creation of a non-statutory Regional Transport Authority to co-ordinate transport planning and investment, in partnership with the Welsh Government.
• The development of capabilities in Compound Semiconductor Applications. The UK Government will invest £50 million to establish a new Catapult Centre in Wales. The CCR will also prioritise investment in research and development, and provide support for high value, innovative businesses.
• The Cardiff Capital Region Skills and Employment Board will be created (building on existing arrangements) to ensure skills and employment provision is responsive to the needs of local businesses and communities.
• The CCR and the Welsh Government will work with Department of Work and Pensions to co-design the future employment support from 2017 for people with a health condition or disability and/or long term unemployed.
• A Cardiff Capital Region Business Organisation will be established to ensure that there is a single voice for business to work with local authority leaders.
• The Welsh Government and the Cardiff Capital Region commit to a new partnership approach to housing development and regeneration. This will ensure the delivery of sustainable communities, through the use and re-use of property and sites.
Both the UK and Welsh Government are contributing £500 million to the CCR Investment Fund respectively. The ten local authorities in the CCR will contribute a minimum of £120 million over the duration of the Fund.
Decisions on the prioritisation of the proposed schemes other than the Metro will be taken by a CCR Cabinet, in consultation with business leaders and education professionals.
The ten local authorities have committed to adopt an assurance framework for the Investment Fund, which will be agreed by the UK and Welsh Governments, to ensure good value for money and that proposed projects are underpinned by a robust business case.
In order to deliver the CCR‘s City Deal commitments and a longer-term economic strategy, the ten local authorities have requested greater financial autonomy and flexibility. As part of this City Deal the Welsh Government will explore with the Cardiff Capital Region:
• The devolution of business rate income above an agreed growth baseline to provide funding for the City Deal programme.
• Providing the ability to levy an infrastructure supplement.
• Creating the option for the local authorities to use alternative finance sources.
• Removing conditions around some specific Welsh Government grants, to allow funding to be pooled at the regional level in areas such as school support and interventions that seek to address poverty.
Welcoming the City Deal, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:
“I want to create a devolution revolution around the UK and empower local leaders in Wales, so it’s fantastic to announce a historic City deal in the Cardiff City Region worth over £1.2bn.
“This landmark deal is expected to create up to 25,000 jobs and leverage £4 billion of private sector investment by handing real power to local decision makers that are best placed to ensure the Welsh economy is fit for the future.”
Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb said:
“Cardiff is one of Europe’s youngest and most dynamic capital cities, with a growing international profile and a burgeoning reputation as a destination for businesses to invest.
“The City Deal provides the springboard for Cardiff to emerge as a leading engine of growth in the UK. It will help transform Cardiff city region, expecting to unlock billions of pounds of private sector finance and deliver thousands of new jobs in South Wales.
“Wales is a small country and we pack a much bigger punch when we work together. This genuine partnership between the UK Government, Welsh Government and ten local authorities in South Wales will help the Cardiff city region to realise its full potential.
“It represents the confidence that the UK Government has in empowering local decision makers to find their own ways to deliver economic and civic improvements that could benefit virtually half the population of Wales.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands said:
“I’m very proud to be able to sign this historic deal – the first of its kind in Wales. The UK Government’s £500m investment in the economy of South East Wales will help ensure that the infrastructure and transport links in the region come up to the standard that local people and businesses deserve.
“It’s vital that those making these decisions are local leaders, the people that know Cardiff and the wider region best.”
The First Minister said:
“We have lobbied hard for a City Deal for the Cardiff Capital Region and put more than £500m on the table to support improving transport infrastructure within the region. Today’s announcement sees that vision become a reality – it is a vote of confidence in the region and a huge economic boost.
“Central to the success of a City Deal is the close collaboration and partnership between all ten local authorities. It is a great example of what can be achieved by coming together for the greater good of our Capital region.”
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Chair of the City Deal Leaders Group and Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said:
“This is a momentous day for the Cardiff Capital Region for many reasons.
“The City Deal should enable us to unlock significant economic growth, and bring about social improvements and regeneration.
“It will see a new form of regional governance with collaboration between the local authority partners, and close working with business and further and higher education.
“The partners would like to pay tribute to the hard work undertaken by the City Deal team, especially the local authority officers involved.
“We would also like to thank the UK and Welsh Governments for their support, and their confidence in the City Deal team to now deliver this exciting programme.”
City of Cardiff Council Leader, Councillor Phil Bale, who was part of the negotiating team, said:
“We have worked long and hard to bring a City Deal to the Cardiff Capital Region and I’m delighted we’ve been successful. Financially we have secured a bigger deal for our residents than the Glasgow City Deal, but the real work starts now.
“We want this Deal to make a real difference to people’s lives, improving prospects for all our citizens. Today’s signing means work can begin on creating a more inclusive and prosperous region.
“I want everyone to know we are determined to deliver better opportunities for all our residents. Securing the City Deal can help us do this. We want to create better job opportunities for people and we want to enable them to take those job opportunities when they arise. At the end of the day we want to improve everyone’s chances of enjoying a better future.”
The City Deal signed today must be formally ratified by the members of the ten local authorities.