The Cardiff Capital City Deal has now got backing from all ten of the councils in the region. This is great news. The City Deal represents a fantastic opportunity, it could usher in investment, new jobs, and much needed improvements to transport links.

We should see £734m to deliver the South Wales Metro scheme, making it faster and easier to travel around the region by public transport. There’ll also be almost £500 million to invest in other projects, including a new innovation district and software academy. It aims to provide an extra 25,000 jobs in Cardiff and the surrounding areas.

But I’m not ready to fully jump on board the City Deal bandwagon. I’m worried that without proper planning, the City Deal could end up being used to funnel more money to an already thriving Cardiff, while other towns and cities in the region, like Newport, are left out in the cold. Towns in Gwent and the Valleys must not be treated as an extended commuter belt for the capital.

At the heart of the City Deal needs to be a commitment to spread job creation across the region. We need a strategic approach that designates the towns and cities of the South East and the Valleys as growth poles, identifying and developing their strengths and enabling them to work together, rather than compete for prosperity.

For example, this week saw the opening of a new National Cyber-Security Centre in London. Newport has a cutting-edge Cyber-Security Academy based in the University of South Wales that is training its students to be world-leaders in this fast growing field. The Welsh Government should have done everything possible to get that new Centre based in Newport, to build on the work that’s being done there and make sure the community benefits from new jobs. But they didn’t.

Without joined-up, creative thinking about the region’s potential, I’m worried that the City Deal will not be able to deliver real change. Shaving a few minutes off a train journey into Cardiff for commuters is not enough. Valleys towns should be at the centre of the Labour West Government’s economic planning, not the periphery.

The Cardiff Capital City Deal could be a catalyst for growth far beyond the boundaries of Cardiff itself. But if it is going to succeed in spreading new jobs and prosperity across the region, we’ll need to see innovative, strategic economic planning that’s committed to protecting the long-term sustainability of all our communities.