City Deals look to the long term

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - Coun­cil­lor David White Brid­gend County Bor­ough Coun­cil

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.

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