PLANS to turn parts of South Wales and southwestern England into an economic powerhouse have moved a step closer today with the publication of a new report.

The Powerhouse for the West report, commissioned by the Great Western Cities partnership of Bristol City Council, Cardiff Council and Newport City Council, was presented to senior politicians, business and education leaders today at the House of Lords.

The report by Metro Dynamics promotes a cross-border partnership, bringing improved infrastructure, investment across a region of seven cities and 4.4 million people.

Cllr Debbie Wilcox, Leader of Newport City Council, said: “The opportunities that a powerhouse could capitalise and enrich are vast. The region already has an economy worth £107 billion, which is 10 per cent higher than the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine, yet our growth is slower than average. If we only grow to meet the UK average, we will become a £1.21 billion economy – just think of the potential if this powerhouse was created.”


The potential powerhouse – which is yet to adopt a formal name - would stretch along the M4 corridor from Swindon and across the Welsh border to Cardiff and Swansea, and in the north from Gloucester and Cheltenham to Bath and Bristol. To support this venture the Great Western City partners have already been joined by Bath and North East Somerset Council, Gloucestershire County Council, Swansea Council and Swindon Borough Council.

Five key areas of collaboration are highlighted:

• an industrial strategy linking sector strengths;

• integrating road and rail improvements;

• an internationalisation strategy which promotes the region’s industrial strengths;

• establishing a productivity and innovation observatory which makes better use of data;

• connecting the most deprived communities with the region’s highest growth sectors.

To read the full report, visit