The independent commission appointed to review how the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) could best achieve its economic growth ambitions today (December 16) published its recommendations at an event at the University's Newport City Campus.
The Cardiff Capital Growth and Competitiveness Commission, chaired by international city-region expert Professor Greg Clark, has concluded that the Cardiff Capital Region can be more prosperous, more inclusive and more sustainable if the region becomes better connected and more interdependent. To achieve these priorities, it argues the CCR needs a long-term economic strategy to:
• Invest in education to improve employability and productivity.
• Foster employment growth across distinct skills and different levels of income.
• Work together to support public and private investment in infrastructure to integrate the region better and provide more opportunities.
• Support economic development across the CCR, enabling there to be multiple locations of growth.
• Develop strategic planning to enable house-building and regeneration efforts.
• Improve quality of place and the range of institutions investing in improving city and town centres.
• Foster emerging sectors of employment and new/young companies.
• Further integrate governance structures in the city-region to combine efforts, leverage investment, and simplify decision-making.
The report also stresses the need to ‘move… [to] rapid implementation and avoid further reviews’.
The Commission, a key component of the £1.22billion CCR City Deal, gathered evidence from business, community leaders, and other stakeholders before producing the report on how best the City Deal can be utilised to ensure economic growth across the CCR. The Commission also collaborated with researchers at Cardiff University, and the Centre for Cities, an independent research policy unit.
Evidence was given by over 100 witnesses during open sessions held in September, including business, residents, education, third sector and social enterprise, government officials and elected representatives.
In addition the Commission consulted with key experts in relevant fields as part of the work. More than 1,500 people also gave their views via an online survey.
Professor Clark, who has been an advisor to a number of cities both in the UK and abroad, including Auckland, San Diego, London, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast, said: “Our assessment is that the Cardiff Capital Region can be more prosperous, more inclusive and more sustainable.
“We do not see inevitable or unresolvable tensions between the priorities we have identified.
“But the Commissioners recognise that they can only be achieved if the region becomes much better connected and inter-dependent, and if investment in connectivity is used to drive changes in transport modes, new land uses, the fostering of a multi-centred economy, and improved quality of life for people at all levels of income.”
Prof Clark concluded: “Improvements in rail connections must act as drivers and enablers of broader placemaking, business clustering, higher skills and bolder aspirations for the city-region.”
The Commission report provides:
• Guidance for project development, outlining a strategy for investment and project criteria
• Ideas and details for potential regionally significant investment proposals
• Recommendations for the future development of a more competitive city-region
• A framework for a more detailed economic development strategy, to be developed by the CCR
The Commission was jointly established by the ten local authorities within the Cardiff Capital Region.
The full Commission report can be read on the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal website.