News that the Chancellor has reconfirmed the UK Government's commitment to a Mid Wales Growth Deal has been welcomed by Montgomeryshire AM, Russell George.
Confirmation that progress has made on a Mid Wales Growth Deal was provided by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, in a letter to Mr George following the UK Governments budget this week.
In the letter to Mr George this week, the UK Government Minister said:
“The deal is an exciting opportunity for the people of Mid Wales to drive economic growth and with the potential to revolutionise local governance - shifting powers down from London and Cardiff to local leaders who are better placed to take decisions that affect their communities.”
This follows a successful meeting chaired by Mr George at NPTC in Newtown earlier this month at which local business leaders and representatives were invited to meet with the Lord Bourne, to discuss ideas on how a potential Mid Wales Growth Deal could work in practice, providing important local input into ongoing discussions.
Mr George said:
"Confirmation from the Chancellor that progress will be made on the Mid Wales Growth Deal underlines the UK Government's ambition to see proposals developed by local partners including local authorities, education establishments and the private sector.
"There is of course an important role for me to play as Montgomeryshire's AM in developing a deal, and ensuring that it delivers for people living and working all across the region.
"However, in my view, the Mid Wales Growth Deal will only be a success if it engages a wide variety of interested parties from the very start.”
Powys and Ceredigion Councils have commissioned a consultancy, AECOM, to produce an economic analysis of the region. The report will be presented shortly, and at that point the local authorities, along with the private sector, will begin to produce a growth vision and a set of proposals before entering in to negotiations with both the UK and Welsh Governments.
Mr George added:
"Both Lord Bourne and I have recently met with a wide range of businesses and organisations in Mid Wales to discuss what different partners can contribute to a deal, as well as potential opportunities and challenges.
" Lord Bourne was particularly impressed by the widespread enthusiasm among local people to be involved in the deal, however I believe that more could be done to involve the private sector in these earliest stages of development and I would encourage Powys and Ceredigion Councils to press ahead on this."