People, Places, Business

Swansea Bay

Swansea Bay Bids for City Region Status

MORE investment and job opportunities could be on the way to Swansea Bay if the area is successful in its bid to become a City Region.

Research shows City Region status elsewhere in the UK and Europe in areas like Liverpool, Birmingham and Bilbao has helped drive economic growth.

This is why the Welsh Government has asked areas interested in the status to submit supporting evidence as it considers the introduction of a City Region in Wales.

Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Neath Port Talbot Councils have responded by putting forward a case for Swansea Bay.

The supporting evidence points to links that already exist across the Swansea Bay area. They include the number of people who travel between the Council areas for work, good public transport links and an attractive tourism offer. An impressive selection of multi-national companies is also highlighted as well as the strength of innovation linked to the area's universities.

Mark James, Carmarthenshire Council Chief Executive, said: "The range of multi-national companies across Swansea Bay like Tata Steel, Amazon and Virgin shows investors have confidence in the area as a whole.

"All three universities in South West Wales also have a strong track record of collaboration through the Dragon Innovation Partnership while Swansea Metropolitan University, Trinity St David and the University of Wales are in process of merging to create a regional institution."

Steve Phillips, Neath Port Talbot Council Chief Executive, said: "There's already an extensive track record of collaboration across the private, public and voluntary sectors in Swansea Bay. Examples include bodies like the South West Wales Economic Forum, the Regional Learning Partnership for South West Wales and the Swansea Bay Partnership that address economic and regeneration issues facing the region.

"The call for evidence says City Regions with a population of more than 500,000 are strong drivers of economic growth. With a population of 667,700 in South West Wales, a Swansea Bay City Region would comfortably exceed that threshold. The strong commuting flows across the area also strengthen Swansea Bay's case."

Jack Straw, Swansea Council's Chief Executive, said: "Adopting a City Region approach in Swansea Bay will provide a focus for setting economic policy and targeting investment in our key assets.

"Working as a single entity with a common vision and shared priorities will ensure the region capitalises on its strengths.

 "Links in the area are already very strong and designation of City Region status would help improve Swansea Bay's economic performance."