The South East Wales City Deal puts down the foundation stone for a great leap forward in growing the economy of this part of Wales (note the topically Maoist reference!)
By bringing together funding from the UK Government, Welsh Government and the ten local authorities, we will be able to achieve far more than any of the partners could achieve on their own – with £1.2 billion to be shared among imaginative projects in transport infrastructure, labour skills and business innovation.
We are consciously building upon the experience of successful city regions throughout the world in which scores of community based local authorities work together and with business and national governments to create the integrated mix of people and places necessary for economic growth.
It is going to be brilliant and credit belongs to so many people from all parts of south east Wales who are making this happen.
But only yesterday the Welsh Government published its (Anti) Local Government Bill which seeks to abolish the local authorities which are helping to make this happen and places a moratorium on the creation of new collaborations and partnerships like the City Deal. This is the same Welsh Government which in 2012 abolished the regional Transport Alliance which was the precursor of the City Deal.
I am sure that this apparent contradiction is just the confusion of competing values that happens in any government. I am confident that the Welsh Government will soon come to recognise that allowing and supporting community based local authorities to combine to promote shared interests is the way that successful regional economies grow throughout the globe. The Welsh Government and the Welsh Assembly will dump the ill considered Local Government Bill and put their energies into making the very best of this very important City Deal.