Prime Minister in Swansea for official signing
The Swansea Bay City Deal has finally been signed, unlocking a £1.3billion fund to regenerate the region.
Prime Minister Theresa May will visit Swansea tomorrow (Monday, March 20) for the historic signing of the deal, which is expected to create more than 9,000 jobs and trigger almost £1.3bn in investment.
The deal formed between the UK Government, local authorities and the Welsh Government, paves the way for major infrastructure investment in the Swansea City Bay region, ranging from research centres to a new waterfront "digital district".
During the visit, the Prime Minister, accompanied by the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU and the Secretary of State for Wales, will meet with First Minister Carwyn Jones as well as representatives from a range of sectors and businesses.
The main point of discussion will be how every part of the UK - including Wales - can make the most of the opportunities offered by Brexit.
The Welsh export market is worth around £12.3bn a year - showing that there has never been a better time for Welsh companies to export overseas.
Wales is already a successful exporter - shipping aircraft wings to the world, cooling technology to the Middle East and TV formats to dozens of countries.
The Prime Minister said: "From my first day on the steps of Downing Street, I made clear my determination to strengthen and sustain the precious Union. I have also been clear that as we leave the European Union I will work to deliver a deal that works for the whole of the UK.
"I want every part of the United Kingdom to be able to make the most of the opportunities ahead and for Welsh businesses to benefit from the freest possible trade as part of a global trading nation.
"Wales' universities already have an excellent international reputation, attracting overseas students and pioneering in research projects here and abroad.
"I also want Wales to be at the forefront of science and innovation - as demonstrated by today's landmark City deal for Swansea.
"The deal is a great example of what can be achieved when the UK Government , the Welsh Government and local authorities work together to secure a deal that benefits the city and the whole of Wales.
"This Government's Plan for Britain will seek to deliver a stronger, fairer United Kingdom and a better deal for ordinary working people in Wales and across the nation."
Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said: "The Swansea Bay Region city deal shows just what can be achieved when government and the private sector come together and find local solutions that can bring lasting benefits to an area.
"The city deal will build on the strengths of the region and the opportunities available, helping Swansea compete with some of the world's best cities through exciting digital technology.
"This is a fantastic chance for Swansea to prosper and reap the benefits from close partnerships that are focused on securing genuine wins for a local area."
Some of the projects to benefit from the city deal
The Swansea Bay City Region deal brings together Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire councils and includes £115.6m of UK Government funding, £396m of other public sector money and £637m private sector investment.
Eleven major projects are planned across the region in energy, smart manufacturing, innovation and life science.
Speaking ahead of the signing the First Minister said: "We have pushed long and hard for this city deal to be signed and have given it our strongest possible backing with £125m of Welsh Government investment.
"This is a package which will deliver jobs and economic growth for all of South West Wales, with clear benefits for all the areas involved.
"Today's announcement is a transformative deal that will drive the regional economy in a new direction, supported by high-quality jobs and a digital infrastructure.
"I want to thank our partners - particularly the leaders of all the local authorities and Sir Terry Matthews - for their leadership and vision in bringing this historic deal to fruition.
"This again shows the viability of city deals for different parts of Wales and we want to see this replicated in North Wales. We welcome the UK Government's commitment in the recent budget to the North Wales Growth Deal and will be pressing ahead with discussions on proposals."
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government Mark Drakeford added: "Today marks the culmination of many months of negotiations and I'm pleased to see this deal now becoming a reality.
"It has taken a lot of hard work to get us to this point but each of these 11 major projects have both the financial backing and potential to deliver for the people of South West Wales, creating high-quality jobs and opportunities that we need to see right across the country."
These are the projects for each region:
In Swansea, the £169m Swansea City and Waterfront digital district project aims to generate more than 1,300 jobs. It will create 100,000 square feet of flexible and affordable new office space on Kingsway in the city centre for tech businesses and to support local enterprise and entrepreneurial talent.
This project will also create a box village development on the University of Wales Trinity Saint David's under-construction Waterfront Innovation Quarter in SA1. Built from shipping containers, this will provide affordable space for start-up firms with links to the university's academic programme.
This project will also enable the digitalisation of the 5,000 to 6,000-seat indoor arena planned for Swansea's St David's development site, and the development of a digital square with digital screens and digital artworks.
The Life Science & Well-being Campus project will build upon an 'open access-open innovation' philosophy. This project will expand research and innovation infrastructure at the Morriston campus alongside world-leading clinical delivery. In addition, a reconfiguration in real estate will see an expansion of the Singleton Campus where a growing cluster of medical and health technology businesses currently operate and collaborate.
The Factory of the Future project, based in Swansea, aims to support and continue to build the region's strong manufacturing base, by creating a network of smart manufacturing innovation centres to provide small and medium businesses with an opportunity to invest in leading edge manufacturing and digital technologies. This project aims to put the region and its enterprises at the forefront of digital and data based manufacturing.
Neath Port Talbot
Within Neath Port Talbot a new development will establish a hub for innovation, commercialising research and development and supporting start up companies. The Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Digital Services (CENGS) aims to bridge the gap between research and innovation and the ability to launch develop and grow commercial opportunities.
The Steel Science Centre project, based in Neath Port Talbot, will provide a Centre focusing on providing commercial R&D to address the current and future challenges of sustaining steel-making capacity in the region and the UK. It will work with industry to reduce its carbon impact and place the region at the cutting edge of low carbon production. It will also provide support for the developments in the steel supply chain and downstream operations.
Of the eleven major projects within the Swansea Bay City Region City deal there are two specific projects in Carmarthenshire - a Wellness and Life Science Village in Llanelli and a creative industry project at Yr Egin in Carmarthen.
The wellness village and life sciences village at Delta Lakes, Llanelli, is being led by Carmarthen Council, as part of the ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) programme, which is a partnership between Hywel Dda and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg university health boards and Swansea University.
The £200m project aims to create 1,800 high-quality jobs and boost the economy by £467m over 15 years.
The proposals include an Institute of Life Sciences with laboratory and clinic space and an incubation facility for business start-up, research and development; a wellness hub incorporating a state-of-the-art sports and leisure centre, a wellbeing centre, a wellness hotel and an assisted living village set within a green eco-park.
The Yr Egin project involves the construction of a creative and digital hub and the development of a creative industry sector cluster. It will create around 200 jobs and help the local economy and support the Welsh language.
In Pembrokeshire the Pembroke Dock Marine is a £76m project to establish a marine energy centre around the Port of Milford Haven. It will become the centre for marine energy development, fabrication, testing and deployment.
Projects for the whole region
The remaining three projects will provide benefits across the whole region -
Led by Pembrokeshire, the Digital infrastructure project aims to improve broadband and mobile continuity underpinning all projects within the Deal.
A Homes as Power Stations project will target both new build housing projects and retrofit of existing housing. Led by Neath Port Talbot Council, this project will deliver innovative low carbon homes, supporting carbon reduction targets. The project aims to provide security of housing supply in the region and support a reduction of demand on electricity and gas grid systems. A major aim will be to reduce fuel poverty and its impact on health, together with a focus on digital connectivity and smart metering.
Led by Carmarthenshire a skills and talent initiative will support skills development for all 11 of the city deal projects spread across the Swansea Bay Region. This initiative seeks to ensure the creation, attraction and retention of a workforce equipped to deliver each of the City Deal projects.
Key elements of the Swansea City Bay region include:
- £1.3bn funding made up of £115m from the UK Government; £125.4m from the Welsh Government; £396 million from businesses with the remainder coming from local area and university contributions
- 100% coverage for next generation broadband services and 5G test beds
- A partnership with TATA steel to establish an innovation and knowledge centre for steel, including a focus on zero carbon steel making and future sustainability of the industry.
- A mixture of new facilities to attract tech and digital business to Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District.
The Swansea Bay City Region Board - including the four local authorities together with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda University Health Boards, Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity St David's, and private sector companies - worked under the Chairmanship of Sir Terry Matthews for over a year to develop and submit the City Deal proposal to the Welsh and UK Governments.
It culminated in a pitch to Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, and other UK Ministers and their advisors, following months of rigorous challenge and negotiation.
Councillor Rob Stewart, lead Leader of the Swansea Bay City Region and Leader of Swansea City Council, said: "This is among the biggest investments Wales has ever seen, so it's an historic day for the Swansea Bay City Region.
"The City Deal will improve people's lives in Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire by generating up to 10,000 jobs and investing in world class technology that will revolutionise the way sectors like energy, social care, healthcare and entrepreneurship are delivered and supported here.
"This has always been about making sure South West Wales gets its fair share of investment for the benefit of our residents.
"The state-of-the-art projects the investment will deliver will turbo-charge the regional economy and help attract even more investment in future.
"The approved City Deal is also terrific news for our businesses because not only will the introduction of cutting-edge digital infrastructure help embrace and harness innovation, but the construction of new developments will boost the regional supply chain as well.
"Enormous credit should go to everyone involved in the City Deal bid. The 'Team Swansea Bay' approach between partners in the public and private sectors will considerably benefit many people in the near future, with our focus now on aggressive spending to ensure residents reap the rewards of the investment as soon as possible."
Mark James CBE, lead Chief Executive of the Swansea Bay City Region and Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: "This City Deal is a once in a generation opportunity to further consolidate the region's role in technological innovation.
"The Swansea Bay City Region will now lead innovation in developing and commercialising solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the fields of life sciences, energy, smart manufacturing and digital networks in both urban and rural areas.
"This is a unique opportunity to increase prosperity and opportunity for the region."
WHAT THE CITY DEAL MEANS…
LED BY SWANSEA
In Swansea, there are a number of City Deal projects. These include the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District.
Under this project, 100,000 square feet of flexible and affordable new office space will be constructed on Kingsway in the city centre for tech businesses as part of a digital village that will benefit from world class digital infrastructure.
This will help support local enterprising and entrepreneurial talent, allowing these businesses to set-up and flourish.
The City Deal will also lead to a 215,000 square foot box village development on the University of Wales Trinity Saint David's under-construction Waterfront Innovation Quarter in SA1.
Built out of shipping containers, this will provide affordable space for start-up firms with links to the university's academic programme.
City Deal approval will also enable the digitalisation of the 5,000 to 6,000-seat indoor arena planned for the city centre's St David's development site, as well as the development of a digital square with state-of the-art digital screens and digital artworks.
Overall, the £169m Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District will generate over 1,300 jobs. The digital village on Kingsway will also complement broader plans to develop an employment district on Kingsway, which is why the environment will soon be improved there to help attract major employers.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: "This is an historic day for Swansea and the Swansea Bay City Region as a whole because City Deal approval will lead to an unprecedented level of investment, helping improve thousands of people's lives.
"Across the region, the City Deal investment will create more than 9,500 new jobs, opening opportunities for people to find well-paid employment.
"As well as supporting local business talent to set-up, thrive and generate high-quality employment opportunities, the projects we've identified for Swansea will transform Swansea's cultural and entertainment offer, thanks to enabling the digitalisation of an indoor arena that will attract world class musicians, comedians, exhibitions and conferences to the city centre. This will generate more footfall and spending for our existing businesses, while also creating far more opportunities for local supply chain companies during construction of the developments.
"The 'Team Swansea Bay' approach between the public and private sectors we've developed over recent years was always aimed at delivering innovative projects for the benefit of local residents. It's hugely satisfying that we've delivered on our promises by ensuring Swansea gets its fair share from the UK Government.
"Our focus will now be on aggressive delivery to ensure the people of Swansea benefit from this investment as soon as possible."
LED BY NEATH PORT TALBOT
A new development that would be based in Neath Port Talbot to attract clusters of high-tech companies, modelled on a successful approach in Canada, developed by Sir Terry Matthews.
Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Digital Services (CENGS) will be at the heart of the regional digital super hub, providing a data analytics facility that would support rapid commercialisation of entrepreneurial ideas by turning innovations into new products and services.
The aim of CENGS is to make the UK a global leader in the commercialisation of technologies that will underpin the next generation of converged global communication services.
A Homes as Power Stations project will target both new build housing projects and retrofit of existing housing. Led by Neath Port Talbot Council on behalf of the region, this programme will deliver innovative low carbon homes.
The project will support the delivery of carbon reduction targets, security of housing supply in the region and a reduction of demand on electricity and gas grid systems.
A major aim will be to reduce fuel poverty and its impact on health and wellbeing, together with a focus on digital connectivity and smart metering.
A new housing development pilot will be constructed in Neath and the concept will then be rolled out across the region.
The Steel Science Centre would be based in Neath Port Talbot, providing an Open Access Innovation Centre for the UK steel sector and its supply chains. It would build on regional excellence and Tata's recent commitment to the steel sector to develop carbon positive products, environmentally friendly steelmaking processes and supply chains and new construction materials.
It builds on regional strengths in steel production and strong partnerships between business and academia to develop research and supply chains.
The project aims to ensure that there is a long term future for the steel sector by making the City Region the UK's natural centre for research and development in steel science.
Cllr Ali Thomas OBE, Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, said: "The City Deal provides an important long term vehicle for increasing economic resilience in our region, for restructuring our economy and for opportunities for young people in particular.
"It will not only help us deploy digital technologies to improve productivity and competitiveness in our regional economy but help us address fuel poverty, energy efficiency and innovation in the health and wellbeing sector in our local communities.
"I am particularly pleased to see that the city deal package includes projects to support existing jobs and grow supply chains in our businesses and industries including in steel, construction and in engineering."
LED BY CARMARTHENSHIRE
There are three specific projects for Carmarthenshire - a Wellness and Life Science Village in Llanelli; a creative industry project at Yr Egin in Carmarthen; and a skills and talent initiative which will support skills development for all 11 projects.
The Wellness Village and Life Science Village at Delta Lakes, is being led by the council, under the ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) programme, which is a partnership between Hywel Dda and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Boards and Swansea University.
The £200million project aims to create 1853 high quality jobs and boost the economy by a staggering £467 million over 15 years.
The proposals include an Institute of Life Science with laboratory and clinic space and an incubation facility for business start-up, research and development; a wellness hub incorporating a new 'state-of-the-art' sports and leisure centre, a wellbeing centre, a wellness hotel and an assisted living village all interlinked and set within a 'green' eco-park.
Yr Egin involves the construction of a creative and digital hub and the development of a creative industry sector cluster. It will create around 203 jobs and help the local economy, along with boosting the Welsh language.
A skills and talent initiative will provide educational and training pathways to support the next generation workforce delivering specific sector skills required in order to meet the demand of the City Deal themes of Digital, Life Science and Wellbeing, Energy and Smart Manufacturing.
Carmarthenshire County Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole said: "This is a unique opportunity for Carmarthenshire and the wider region to increase prosperity and opportunity. The City Deal will help the long-term sustainability of the economy in Carmarthenshire, creating jobs, growth and training opportunities.
"This is a truly exciting time for the region; the level of investment we are talking about is incomparable to anything we have seen before. The City Deal will allow us to deliver what we have worked so hard to achieve and local people and businesses will soon start to reap the benefits."
LED BY PEMBROKESHIRE
Pembrokeshire is involved in three key schemes as part of the City Deal.
Spearheaded by the Port of Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock Marine is a £76million project to establish a marine energy centre around the Milford Haven waterway.
The world class facility will be the centre for marine energy development, fabrication, testing and deployment in the town's naval dockyard.
The other two schemes - which will be rolled out across the whole region - involves improving broadband and mobile continuity and creating a new industry based around innovative and sustainable energy generation.
Pembrokeshire County Council Leader, Cllr Jamie Adams, said: "This announcement is the culmination of several years hard work by the Leaders, Chief Executives and officers not only from the region's local authorities but also those from universities, health boards and the private sector.
"The Port of Milford Haven has partnered with Marine Energy Wales, ORE Catapult and Wave Hub and is working alongside Swansea University and Pembrokeshire College.
"Together they are poised to drive innovation and herald the commercialisation of wave and tidal stream technology in Wales.
"It will make a vital contribution to the Welsh economy; increasing productivity, export potential and skilled employment opportunities for today and for future generations."