A landmark £1.3bn city deal for the Swansea Bay region will transform the economy of South West Wales, First Minister Carwyn Jones said today.
Backed by £125.4m of Welsh Government funding, the deal is the biggest single investment in the region and is expected to create 10,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.
The Swansea Bay City Region deal brings together Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire councils and includes £115.6m of UK Government funding, £396m of other public sector money and £637m private sector investment.
Eleven major projects are planned across the region in energy, smart manufacturing, innovation and life science.
The First Minister will be joined by the Prime Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Mark Drakeford, the four leaders of the local authorities and the Secretary of State for Wales to sign the city deal document at a ceremony in Swansea’s Liberty Stadium this morning.
Speaking ahead of the signing the First Minister said:
“We have pushed long and hard for this city deal to be signed and have given it our strongest possible backing with £125m of Welsh Government investment.
“This is a package which will deliver jobs and economic growth for all of South West Wales, with clear benefits for all the areas involved.
“Today’s announcement is a transformative deal that will drive the regional economy in a new direction, supported by high-quality jobs and a digital infrastructure.
“I want to thank our partners – particularly the leaders of all the local authorities and Sir Terry Matthews – for their leadership and vision in bringing this historic deal to fruition.
“This again shows the viability of city deals for different parts of Wales and we want to see this replicated in North Wales. We welcome the UK Government’s commitment in the recent budget to the North Wales Growth Deal and will be pressing ahead with discussions on proposals.”
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government Mark Drakeford added:
“Today marks the culmination of many months of negotiations and I’m pleased to see this deal now becoming a reality.
“It has taken a lot of hard work to get us to this point but each of these 11 major projects have both the financial backing and potential to deliver for the people of South West Wales, creating high-quality jobs and opportunities that we need to see right across the country.”
Of the eleven major projects within the Swansea Bay City Region City deal there are two specific projects in Carmarthenshire – a Wellness and Life Science Village in Llanelli and a creative industry project at Yr Egin in Carmarthen.
The wellness village and life sciences village at Delta Lakes, Llanelli, is being led by Carmarthen Council, as part of the ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) programme, which is a partnership between Hywel Dda and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg university health boards and Swansea University.
The £200m project aims to create 1,800 high-quality jobs and boost the economy by £467m over 15 years.
The proposals include an Institute of Life Sciences with laboratory and clinic space and an incubation facility for business start-up, research and development; a wellness hub incorporating a state-of-the-art sports and leisure centre, a wellbeing centre, a wellness hotel and an assisted living village set within a green eco-park.
The Yr Egin project involves the construction of a creative and digital hub and the development of a creative industry sector cluster. It will create around 200 jobs and help the local economy and support the Welsh language.
In Swansea, the £169m Swansea City and Waterfront digital district project aims to generate more than 1,300 jobs. It will create 100,000 square feet of flexible and affordable new office space on Kingsway in the city centre for tech businesses and to support local enterprise and entrepreneurial talent.
This project will also create a box village development on the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s under-construction Waterfront Innovation Quarter in SA1. Built from shipping containers, this will provide affordable space for start-up firms with links to the university’s academic programme.
This project will also enable the digitalisation of the 5,000 to 6,000-seat indoor arena planned for Swansea’s St David’s development site, and the development of a digital square with digital screens and digital artworks.
The Life Science & Well-being Campus project will build upon an ‘open access-open innovation’ philosophy. This project will expand research and innovation infrastructure at the Morriston campus alongside world-leading clinical delivery. In addition, a reconfiguration in real estate will see an expansion of the Singleton Campus where a growing cluster of medical and health technology businesses currently operate and collaborate.
The Factory of the Future project, based in Swansea, aims to support and continue to build the region’s strong manufacturing base, by creating a network of smart manufacturing innovation centres to provide small and medium businesses with an opportunity to invest in leading edge manufacturing and digital technologies. This project aims to put the region and its enterprises at the forefront of digital and data based manufacturing.
In Pembrokeshire the Pembroke Dock Marine is a £76m project to establish a marine energy centre around the Port of Milford Haven. It will become the centre for marine energy development, fabrication, testing and deployment.
Neath Port Talbot
Within Neat Port Talbot a new development will establish a hub for innovation, commercialising research and development and supporting start up companies. The Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Digital Services (CENGS) aims to bridge the gap between research and innovation and the ability to launch develop and grow commercial opportunities.
The Steel Science Centre project, based in Neath Port Talbot, will provide a Centre focusing on providing commercial R&D to address the current and future challenges of sustaining steel-making capacity in the region and the UK. It will work with industry to reduce its carbon impact and place the region at the cutting edge of low carbon production. It will also provide support for the developments in the steel supply chain and downstream operations.
Projects for the whole region
The remaining three projects will provide benefits across the whole region –
- Led by Pembrokeshire, the Digital infrastructure project aims to improve broadband and mobile continuity underpinning all projects within the Deal.
- A Homes as Power Stations project will target both new build housing projects and retrofit of existing housing. Led by Neath Port Talbot Council, this project will deliver innovative low carbon homes, supporting carbon reduction targets. The project aims to provide security of housing supply in the region and support a reduction of demand on electricity and gas grid systems. A major aim will be to reduce fuel poverty and its impact on health, together with a focus on digital connectivity and smart metering.
- Led by Carmarthenshire a skills and talent initiative will support skills development for all 11 of the city deal projects spread across the Swansea Bay Region. This initiative seeks to ensure the creation, attraction and retention of a workforce equipped to deliver each of the City Deal projects.