WE HAVE had confirmation and signing of the deal to bring a new compound semiconductor foundry to Newport.

The estimates of 2000 new jobs and over £350 million of new private investment could be potentially revolutionary for Newport but, as with many Welsh Government promises over the years, we must wait and see if rhetoric is translated into reality.

So it is with cautious optimism that I welcome this investment.

Certainly it should be praised for setting a new economic direction for Newport, as too often we have been left as an afterthought.

The aims for the project are very high, with some government press releases calling it a great prospect for a new Silicon Valley.

But, it must be questioned whether enough is being done both to support such an ambitious new economic vision and to ensure it is realistic.

We have heard similar promises of economic transformation for Newport before.

The LG factory, where the new foundry is to be located, was the most notorious of such lofty promises for Newport.

We all know what a catastrophic failure it was as, even at the site’s peak, it only created a third of the promised jobs.

In light of this I am concerned that the Welsh Government and Capital City Region may underestimate the scale of the challenge to set up a successful digital cluster.

We need to hear about what happens to the initial public sector investment if the promised private sector investment does not occur.

We also need greater clarity on how this investment is going to benefit the existing Newport residents, e.g. will there be sufficient education and retraining courses made available?

The Software Academy is of course in a great position to link in with the foundry, as is the new specialised department at Cardiff University, but can those currently in low paid work retrain to benefit from these new jobs?

I welcome a strong push to ingrain a new digital economy into Newport.

I hope the Welsh government will continue with these efforts, build upon existing successes such as the Software Academy, and link into the Bristol economy as well, to make this investment a success.

I will be holding the government to account on this issue to ensure they do everything they can to make this investment work for Newport and our region.