A series of key projects to help shape the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) as one of the most investable areas in the UK have been approved by the CCR Regional Cabinet.
The projects, all submitted through the Investment and Intervention Framework, will see investments ranging from initial sums totalling £215k to progress next steps business cases, through to a £30m commitment of City Deal funding for a Housing Investment fund, and £1.5m to scale up the CCR graduate programme.
The Framework, launched by the Economic Growth Partnership, focuses on the region’s three priorities, innovation, infrastructure and challenge, enabling maximum leverage of the £495 million the CCR City Deal has available for investment. It is anticipated the decisions made this week will result in a further £900m of private sector capital being invested into the region through the approved schemes, with the housing fund alone contributing approx. £700m of that projected sum.
The projects, which have benefited enormously from the expert advice and discipline provided by both the Economic Growth Partnership and Investment Panel, were approved following Investment Panel recommendation and final approval of the Regional Cabinet. They include:
- The scaling up and roll-out of a full programme for the CCR Graduate Scheme – an already successful pilot, £1.5m has been committed to scale up to a four-year programme delivering 500 graduate placements. The scheme will now sit within the newly approved ‘Future Ready’ Skills Framework, which aims to co-ordinate the development of all skills, learning and talent development activity for the City Deal.
- The creation of a Housing Investment Fund entitled ‘Homes for all the Region’ – a £45million fund set to deliver up to 2,800 homes for the region, with at least 50% of the fund targeted at the areas of lowest economic competitiveness. Created to complement already established schemes, the Fund will seek a co-investment of £15m from Welsh Government, to support a City Deal investment of £30m.
- The development of a Fibre Provision Programme – as part of a plan to enhance region-wide digital connectivity needed to optimise economic growth, this programme aims to bring the benefits of fibre connectivity to 330,000 premises in core CCR towns and settlements. The Programme sets out a £200m plus investment requirement, made up of a combination of City Deal, Welsh Government and private sector funding, with an initial £35k released by the City Deal to begin an early business case.
- The roll-out of a Wales 5G Programme – The Programme will see the City Deal work closely with Welsh Government and other public, private and HE partners to build on a Rural Connected Communities (RCC) project to scale into 5G Wales. Backed by an approved £5m grant from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, matched by £5m private sector contributions, an upfront funding contribution of up to £150k has been approved by the City Deal to develop the wider strategy. The Wales 5G programme, led by Welsh Government, is seeking £31m in total with a requirement of up to £3.65m from CCR with the remainder being made up from other public and private partners.
- Funding to support the creation of a joint venture Life Sciences Park, Junction 32, Coryton/ Lower Taff Valley as part of the evolution of a Medical Devices and Diagnostics priority cluster. With over 200 businesses, mainly SMEs, operating in the MedTech sector in the CCR, with a combined turnover of £1.5bn and 8,000 employees, this sector offers enormous opportunity for the Cardiff Capital Region. City Deal funding of £30k was agreed to be set aside for the immediate commissioning of demand analysis and initial due diligence for the project.
- Funding for essential design requirements for advancement of Metro Central – £4m of City Deal funding has been approved towards the £10m cost of finalising design work and technical specification for the development of Metro Central. £40m of City Deal funding has already been set aside for the project which is set to see the substantial redevelopment of Cardiff Central Station to the total value of £185m. Metro Central is a critical component of the overall South Wales Metro, set to benefit the entire Cardiff Capital Region.
The CCR City Deal is a catalyst for long-term economic revival, aiming for the whole region to become self-sufficient. It includes the ten local authorities of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan. The Regional Cabinet comprises the leaders of the ten unitary authorities.
Of the £1.2 billion available, £734 million is ringfenced for the South Wales Metro, and the remaining £495 million is available for the funding of high-potential projects in the region through its Investment and Intervention Framework, launched last year. So far, £38m has already been invested in creating the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster in South-East Wales, CS Connected.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Chair, CCR City Deal Regional Cabinet Committee and Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, said:
“The calibre of the proposals coming through the Framework highlight just how investable the Cardiff Capital Region truly is.
“The Economic Growth Partnership has been the absolute catalyst for bringing these momentous projects to fruition, which will create sustainable growth, drive economic inclusion and have the ability to transform our region.
“The projects are absolutely critical in further cementing the CCR as one of the most economically competitive and socially resilient regions within the UK and we look forward to working further with Welsh Government and other private sector organisations as we progress to the next stages.”
Kellie Bernie, Director CCR City Deal said:
“I am delighted with the decisions made by the Regional Cabinet to progress this series of investments.
“We have spent a lot of time to date putting firm foundations in place, through things like the Economic Growth Partnership and The Investment and Intervention Framework, to help ensure we invest in the right things, in things that will truly help us become a Connected, Competitive and Resilient region.
“That is now paying dividend; the impact of these investments will be truly pan regional, and will be critical in ensuring we create the right infrastructure and conditions precedent for our businesses to grow with confidence and create resilient communities for the benefit of all our people across the region.
“We are making things happen. I am proud of what we’ve achieved to date and I am very much looking forward collaborating across our business communities, Welsh Government and our 10 local authorities to progress these investments through to implementation.”