Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure
On Friday, 8 July, I held a successful North Wales Summit with key stakeholders from both sides of the border to discuss how economic opportunities across the region can be maximised for North Wales.
The findings of the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review were launched by Sir Richard Leese, John Cridland and Lord O'Neill in Liverpool on 30 June. It is vitally important that North Wales is fully linked into this flagship economic plan and I will be seeking meetings with the UK government to press this matter.
I was joined at the summit by the Under Secretary of State for Wales and a number of representatives from a range of business organisations including the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses, CBI, the WLGA, the North Wales Business Council, Welsh Enterprise Zone chairs, the Cheshire and North Wales Chamber and the Mersey Dee Alliance.
It is my belief that we can help to drive an arc of prosperity from Holyhead to Wrexham and on to Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and beyond. At the meeting, we discussed how cross-border economic development can be accelerated to help achieve this vision, by a range of mutually-advantageous initiatives, including modernising the transport network, a clear cross-border economic development strategy and a strong cross-border economic approach.
The Mersey Dee Alliance, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, and representative bodies have been working closely for some time now to identify appropriate projects to include in a bid being developed in response to the Chancellor of the Exchequer who has invited proposals for a North Wales Growth Deal, linking into the Northern Powerhouse.
We have now agreed to establish a small working group to review and inform this work and I will be meeting the North Wales local authority leaders at their meeting this Friday, 15 July. I will also be meeting with the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Mersey Dee area and we will be consulting widely with social partners and trades Unions as part of our wider economic priorities for a prosperous and secure economy.
I will continue to keep Members up-dated as matters develop with this work.