City Deals look to the long term
FIRST of all it should be emphasised at the outset that City Deals are effectively the only way in which the Government will co-fund long-term economic growth strategies.
Bridgend is fortunate in many ways, as the borough location would mean our residents would be able to access both City Deals and would have access to employment and training opportunities within the Swansea City Deal. This is evidenced, by 10% of the workforce in Tata Steel living in the borough of Bridgend. With the major investment from the Swansea City Deal in the steel industry in Tata Steel, this can only be of benefit for our residents who work and have apprenticeships in the plant.
As a borough it is important, therefore, to grasp the opportunities on offer, where City Deals target a package of projects designed to raise the region’s economic performance over a relatively long time frame of 10 years. This helps to focus competing projects into a longer term s strategy, which is in contrast to other initiatives that are often short term and not integrated. The core philosophy is achieving economic growth, which demands a medium to long-term approach. They e encourage combined working between local authorities providing the o opportunity to create and deliver a shared economic vision over a w wider area, which in many cases is more representative of the labour market. The a approach encourages a move away from “silo” budgets, focusing instead on an “economic growth” budget with priorities and success assessed in terms of job growth and productivity gains.
A central feature of the City Deal is the opportunity to use public sector funding as a lever for private sector finance, hence providing an economic multiplier, which effectively doubles the investment from around £600m to £1.2bn in the case of both the Swansea Bay and Cardiff Capital Region City Deals. There is strong evidence in other areas of the UK, where City Deals have worked and provided economic growth, employment and training opportunities.
It is very common these days for people to travel to work and I travel outside of the borough, along with many thousands of others for our employment, and this will continue when the City Deal projects become real.