A NETWORK of representatives of business, education, housing, sport and other organisations across Newport dedicated to growing the city's economy is to be set up on a formal basis.

The Newport Economic Network, which also includes representatives of Newport City Council and the Welsh Government, was set up on an informal basis in 2014 as a sounding board for ideas to improve the city's economy.

Now the council is planning to formalise the group, which will be led by an executive board led by an independent chair.

A report to be presented to the council's Labour-run cabinet on Wednesday, July 19, said the plan was being proposed as "a great deal has changed since 2014".

"Cities are key to the UK economy and Newport is vital to the success of the Welsh economy," it said.

"Whilst there will always be challenges to face, Newport is well placed to take drive economic growth and has seen a number of significant developments in recent years.

"The opening of the Friars Walk retail and leisure scheme in 2015 has transformed the city centre and the opening of the Wales International Convention Centre in 2019 will bring significant economic activity to Newport.

"The city continues to grow and the Cities Outlook report 2017, published by Centre for Cities shows that for the first time Newport has the highest productivity per worker of cities in Wales (as measured by Gross Value Added)."

The report also said the signing of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal last year, the result of the European Union referendum and the Great Western Cities partnership with Cardiff and Bristol also meant Newport's situation had changed drastically.

"As we move to the next stage of the city’s development, it will be more important than ever for partners to work together effectively and a successful economic partnership can be key to helping economic growth," it said.

The plan is said to be cost neutral.

Wednesday's meeting at Newport Civic Centre will begin at 4pm and is open to the public.

To view the full agenda visit newport.gov.uk