A £1.2 BILLION investment deal has been signed today to help boost economic growth in South Wales.
The Cardiff Capital City Deal will affect the Welsh capital and other local areas, attracting as many as 25,000 jobs over its 20-year duration, and an additional £4 billion in private investment over the coming years.
Both the UK and Welsh governments have pledged to commit £500 million each to the project, with 10 local authorities from around Cardiff, including The Vale of Glamorgan, Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly, committing a combined £120m over the deal’s lifetime.
Talks regarding the deal started around two years ago but the deal was signed today at around 2.45pm in the Admiral building in Cardiff City centre.
Leaders from all 10 of the local authorities involved in the deal, along with First Minister Carwyn Jones, Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands MP, were present for the signing.
Chancellor George Osborne indicated on his visit to Cardiff in January that he wanted to get the deal agreed before the Budget announcement which is due to take place tomorrow.
At the time, Osborne said: “Let’s get on with it. It’s a deal that will secure Cardiff’s bright future. We will support a new infrastructure fund for the Cardiff Capital Region as part of this.”
A central component of the deal is the investment in transport infrastructure for Cardiff and the local authorities, including the South East Wales Metro and the electrification of the Valley Lines.
Finance and Government Business Minister, Jane Hutt said: “The authorities asked for the Metro to be a central project in this City Deal and we agreed that it can bring wider economic development. We were pleased to be able to include it and are committed to working closely with the authorities to deliver it.”
A Regional Transport Authority is to be created in partnership with the Welsh Government to co-ordinate transport planning and investment.
The City Deal also promises to increase skills, help people into work and give businesses the support they need to grow in South Wales.
First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones was pleased the deal has been given the green light.
Jones added: “Today’s announcement sees that vision become a reality – it is a vote of confidence in the region and a huge economic boost.
“Today goes to show that governments can work together despite their difference, and marks and important step for the future of Wales.”
Greg Hands, the UK Government’s representative at the signing, saying: “We know this investment is vital to improving the prospects of not only Cardiff but surrounding areas.”
Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb echoed the views of Hands, adding: “I think this is a unique moment for Cardiff and the regions, and it’s good to see the Welsh government working together with the rest of the UK.
“As Wales’ only FTSE 100 company, the new Admiral building seems like a fitting setting for the signing of this important deal.”
Cardiff Council leader 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.
“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.
“The 10 local authorities agreeing to work together to improve transport infrastructure in this area is an important step in attracting more investment to not only Cardiff, but Wales as a whole.
“We are one of the most highly centralised countries across the EU and this is another positive step towards increased devolution being put into force.”