Swansea Bay City Region Deal signed off by the Prime Minister

Our Commercial Disputes Trainee Solicitor, Gosia Evans, gives a Welsh law update as she discusses the recently approved Swansea Bay City Region.

It has been just over a month since the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal was backed by all participating local authorities. This month brings more city deal news for Wales. Yesterday, the Prime Minister, joined by the First Minister Carwyn Jones and the leaders of four Welsh councils – Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea, signed off the Swansea Bay City Region Deal.

The idea behind it is to create a science and innovation hub in Wales. The planned projects include the investment in 5G technology, driverless cars, “the internet coast”, a “cloud enterprise zone” and a steel science centre.

It is expected that the Swansea Bay deal will bring more than 9,000 jobs and encourage nearly £1.3bn investment in the area.

The UK and Welsh governments will contribute £241m towards the deal- £360m will come from the public sector and universities, and the remaining £673m will be paid by private investors.

[Speaking ahead of the signing, Mr Jones said it was a “transformative deal that will drive the regional economy in a new direction, supported by high-quality jobs and a digital infrastructure”.

Rob Stewart, leader of Swansea council and the city region, said: “This is among the biggest investments Wales has ever seen, so it’s a historic day for the Swansea Bay City Region.”

There was criticism of the deal, however.

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans from Bristol Business School said that while the deal was “vitally important”, the deal’s strategy was “very different” to that originally proposed by tycoon Sir Terry Matthews.

Mr Jones-Evans said the deal had gone away from “investing in infrastructure and people” towards “building more buildings”.

“It is a strategy that has been discredited by economic development organisations around the world,” he said.]

BBC, 20 March 2017

You can find out more details and our commentary on the City Deals for Cardiff and Swansea Bay regions and its possible implications here.