The Chancellor’s Budget commitment to kick start discussions on a growth deal for Mid Wales has been welcomed by Mid Wales AM, Russell George.
The Montgomeryshire Assembly Member, who has consistently championed the need for a Mid Wales Growth Deal, welcomed the Chancellor’s proposal contained in yesterday’s Autumn Budget (22nd November 2017).
Mr George said: “I am delighted that the Chancellor has made a commitment to a Mid Wales Growth Deal. I’m hopeful that the Welsh Government will now follow the Chancellor’s lead with a similar commitment in the near future. We need close collaboration from both the Welsh and UK Governments if a Mid Wales Growth Deal is to become a reality.
“This is something which I have been calling for over many months. The National Assembly’s Economy Committee, which I’m privileged to Chair, has recently made recommendations to the Welsh Government that a Mid Wales Growth Deal would have the potential to transform the economic fortunes of the region. I'm therefore delighted that the issue has now been given national prominence by the UK Government.
“Cardiff and Swansea are set to have City Deals and there are plans afoot for a similar arrangement in North Wales. These new regional deals, worth billions of pounds, are re-shaping the economic development priorities of South and North Wales.
“As a result, all of these regions will see money invested in better transport links, better broadband connectivity as well as other programmes designed to boost innovation, create employment and raise living standards. Mid Wales deserves the same kind of investment.
“Earlier this month, I met with representatives of Station Couriers as well as Ceri Stephens from the Mid Wales Manufacturing Group and Nick Evans who chairs Powys FSB to discuss the prospect for a Mid Wales Growth Deal and to gain their thoughts on how it should work so that it benefits Mid Wales businesses.
“A Mid Wales Deal would complete the jigsaw for an ambitious economic vision for the region which would integrate Mid Wales into the wider Midlands economic engine.”
Cllr Aled Davies, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, added: “The Chancellor’s announcement could be a real game changer for Mid Wales and I’m grateful to the Secretary of State for Wales for fighting Mid Wales’ corner and securing this commitment in the Budget.
“Here in Powys, we believe that a Mid Wales Growth Deal has the potential to re-shape the economic development of the region - improving transport infrastructure, digital connectivity and help to develop new job opportunities for the people of Powys.
“I and my Cabinet colleagues will do everything we can to ensure that a Mid Wales Growth Deal happens and we will work with the UK Government, Welsh Government and the business sector to make this a reality.”
Cllr Dan Rowlands, County Councillor for Newtown, also said: “The Chancellor’s commitment to a Mid Wales Growth Deal is an opportunity which towns like Newtown can’t afford to pass up.
“Powys has been left behind by the Welsh Government for far too long and it is this kind of kick-start which the county needs.
“GVA per head in areas like Powys have seen a sharp reversal in recent years and lag way behind cities like Cardiff, and further still behind the UK average, because the Welsh Government has consistently failed to stimulate the Mid Wales economy.
“A Mid Wales Growth Deal would be just the boost Newtown needs to attract inward investment, increase trade, and create more jobs.”
Pictured: Russell George AM at Station Couriers.
See full story in the County Times