Swansea Council leader says it's a major step forward.
Ambitious plans to create thousands of highly-paid high-tech jobs for Swansea Bay has won backing from Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
He’s given the green light for ministerial talks to start on an innovative ‘Internet Coast’ City Deal for Swansea Bay which could be worth in excess of £500m over 20 years.
The move has been welcomed by Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart, who said UK Government backing is both a necessary and major step forward for the plan.
He said: “The Chancellor’s Budget announcement that Ministers can begin talks with us to develop the proposals is excellent news for Swansea and for the whole Swansea Bay City Region.
“The ‘City Deal’ proposal aims to harness the transformational power of digital networks and the asset base of Swansea Bay so that we can develop our potential to become a world-leading centre for technological innovation.
“We’ve estimated that the City Deal investment could lever in total around £3.3bn of output and £1.3bn of gross value added for Wales, while supporting around 39,000 jobs in the region.”
The City Deal bid has been led by Sir Terry Matthews, Chair of the Swansea Bay City Region Board, who wrote to the Chancellor, urging him to seize the opportunity to unlock potential that could benefit Britain’s reputation for technological advancement as well.
Speaking before Mr Osborne’s response in Westminster, Sir Terry said: “In my letter to the Chancellor I described the widest possible regional public sector commitment to this City Deal bid as ‘a leap of faith’ that has immense value. I sincerely hope that the bold vision and support is recognised by Government in Westminster and Cardiff Bay.”
Cllr Stewart said: “There’s been a huge amount of public and private sector collaboration throughout the Swansea Bay City Region to get to this stage, and the Chancellor’s endorsement adds significant impetus to our plans.
“Under Sir Terry’s leadership, the bid helps reinforce Swansea’s future as a City of Innovation. It also shows how seriously we’re taking our commitment to improving people’s lives right across the region.”