Report recommends Swansea Bay gets City Region status
MORE job opportunities and investment could be on the way to
Swansea Bay after a report recommended City Region status for the
The report says Swansea Bay - an area covering Swansea, Neath
Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire - should be given the new status to
help drive economic growth.
The Welsh Government will now consider the findings of the
report before formally stating its position later in the year.
The recommendation means Swansea Bay could follow in the
footsteps of other UK and European cities like Liverpool,
Birmingham and Bilbao where City Region status has brought
significant economic benefits.
The focus in Swansea Bay would be on developing an innovative
and sustainable economy that taps into its strengths, including
stunning outdoor scenery, quality of life and the area's thriving
colleges and universities.
City Region status could also help rebalance the economy by
expanding the private sector, attracting investment and narrowing
the economic gap with the rest of the UK.
It would mean Swansea Bay could grow from a position of
strength. Many people already commute across the area for work
reasons and the region benefits from strong transport links.
International research also shows economic growth
increasingly happens in regions centred on a city and that
populations of more than 500,000 attract higher skilled, better
paid jobs. Swansea Bay's combined population of more than 667,000
comfortably exceeds that threshold.
Cllr David Phillips, Swansea Council Leader, said: "I welcome
the findings of this report. This is potentially great news because
City Region status would help attract more investment and jobs to
the Swansea Bay area. It would also mean we could make the most of
our key strengths like the area's natural environment and our
expertise in technology and cutting-edge research.
"Swansea Bay could speak with one voice and tackle shared
economic challenges together if the area has City Region status.
This would help boost the economy across the region.
"Working as a region would also mean we'd become a bigger and
stronger player on the UK economic stage."
Cllr Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said: "The
City Region would give a new impetus for collaboration across the
public and private sectors. The new Innovation Campus for Swansea
University, now nearing fruition, is a fantastic example of a
project that could help drive forward the City Region by creating
jobs, promoting innovation, attracting inward investment and
delivering large-scale regeneration."
Cllr Kevin Madge, Carmarthenshire Council Leader, said: "As an
administration we are committed to jobs growth, and this is
potentially excellent news which will support that objective. City
Region status would be good for the region and for investment in
the partnership area. We would look forward to working with our
partners and the Welsh Government to maximise this opportunity for
the benefit of all who live and work in the region."
The new status could build on the region's existing links such
as the closeness of major attractions like Pembrokeshire National
Park, Gower, Margam Country Park, Pembrey Country Park, Parc y
Scarlets, the Liberty Stadium and Ffos Las Racecourse.
The region's three universities have a strong track record of
collaboration through the Dragon Innovation Partnership. Swansea
Metropolitan University, Trinity St David and the University of
Wales are also in the process of merging to create a regional
Further links include bodies like the South West Wales Economic
Forum, the Regional Learning Partnership for South West Wales and
the Swansea Bay Partnership that already address economic and
regeneration issues facing the region.