THE £1.2 billion Cardiff Capital Region City Deal must benefit all areas of south Wales, a Gwent AM has said.
All 10 local authorities in south Wales, including Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly, have now signed off on the deal, which is intended to bring more investment and create more jobs.
But speaking in the Senedd yesterday, Wednesday, Caerphilly’s AM Hefin David said it was important all areas involved, especially the northern Valleys, benefitted from the agreement.
Addressing finance and local government secretary Mark Drakeford the Labour AM said: “These areas have not benefitted from public or private investment on the same scale seen on the M4 corridor and Heads of the Valleys.
“How will the Cardiff capital region deal ensure, going forward, that they do?”
Mr Drakeford replied plans to revamp the ways councils in Wales work currently in progress included a requirement for local authorities to ensure all areas benefitted from schemes such as the city deal.
“That will mean taking a view of responsibilities that are not simply aligned with the particular part of that geography that any individual comes from, but focused on what matters for the region as a whole,” he said.
Plaid Cymru South Wales East AM Steffan Lewis backed Mr David’s call, saying he believed the city deal should be used to “turn the Heads of the Valleys area into an arc of prosperity rather than a corridor of underinvestment.”
Mr Drakeford replied a city deal cabinet will be formed with representatives of all councils involved, and it would be their responsibility to ensure no area loses out.
And Conservative South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar said joint working between different areas was key to making the deal a success.
“One of the opportunities identified by the Cardiff capital region is that it will enable people, particularly in disadvantaged areas, like the northern Valleys, to take advantage of existing education and training programmes and opportunities,” he said.
“What discussion has the cabinet secretary had with ministerial colleagues and local authorities on the Cardiff capital region about assisting young people with the travel costs associated with accessing education and training now that the Welsh Government has cancelled its bus discounts scheme for young people?”
Mr Drakeford said the idea would be “regularly kept under review”.