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12.04.19

Council reveals ‘significantly’ different approach to £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal in response to criticisms

A Welsh council announced a “significantly” changed approach to the £1.3bn city deal for Swansea Bay after multiple reviews have raised concerns over progress and transparency.

Councillors in Neath Port Talbot have said the new approach is “essential” to securing progress with the Swansea Bay City Deal, which will see investment in 11 major projects across the city region.

The leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Rob Jones, said the last few months had been difficult for the city deal, and therefore the authority had proposed a different package of projects which will be put in front of the cabinet as soon as possible.

The Swansea Bay City Deal is a £1.3bn investment in major projects across the Swansea Bay City Region, which is made up of Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, and Swansea.

But two recent reviews, one from the government and another by a joint committee internal review, found that progress had been ‘unduly slow’, and also raised concerns over transparency and trust.

The deal is being funded, subject to the approval of project’s business cases, by a combination of the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector.

The authority said the city deal will boost the regional economy by £1.8bn and generate nearly 10,000 new jobs, with the projects backed by the deal based on economic acceleration, life science, energy and well-being. 

Anthony Taylor, deputy leader of the council, commented: “The council still believes that there is great potential in the City Deal for all parts of the region, including our Valleys; but the two reviews identified that progress and delivery has, so far, been too slow.

“There are a number of reasons for this but we must now aim for clear and rapid progress so that people in Neath Port Talbot can begin to see the tangible difference it can make to our local economy.”

Jones added that the new package “builds upon the strengths of some existing projects; but also includes new elements.”

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