Are city deals the way ahead for those regions starved of private sector investment? That is the question being posed at a Swansea University conference for academics, politicians and those people most affected by the four regional partnerships being developed across Wales.
The second Symposium on City Deals, being held at the University’s Bay campus on September 18, will consider the delivery of the four City Deals and Development Partnerships in Wales, in the Cardiff City region, Swansea Bay, Mid Wales and North Wales.
Sessions will look at the ambitions of City Deals and growth deals and will include papers and discussion about their governance and ambitions for growth, in the context of a strategy for economic development in Wales.
The event is aimed at decision-makers, those working in local authorities, businesses and academic researchers and has been organised by Swansea University’s Morgan Academy (named after the former First Minister of Wales, Rhodri Morgan), and WISERD (the Welsh Universities’ Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods).
The conference will hear from prominent academics including Professor Kevin Morgan, Dean of Engagement at Cardiff University speaking on the governance of city deals, and Professor Martin Jones of Staffordshire University on the limits of city regions projects. It will also feature representatives of each of the four city deals and regional partnerships in Wales.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal’s Joint Committee, said: “City Deals will have a transformational impact for regional economies in Wales, helping create many thousands of well-paid jobs while closing the gap with other, more affluent parts of the UK.
“Also helping raise the profile of Wales as a place to invest, visit and live, the importance of City Deals can’t be overstated. They have a key role to play in creating a more prosperous Wales for residents and businesses now, and generations to come.
“In the Swansea Bay City Region, considerable progress has been made in recent months. This includes the approval of the first two Swansea Bay City Deal projects, with similar approvals expected in coming months.
“Combined, the Swansea Bay City Deal programme will improve people’s lives through major investment in sectors like digital innovation, healthcare and zero-carbon energy, while future-proofing our steel industry. This is an exciting time for South West Wales.”
Swansea University’s Professor David Blackaby said: “This is a timely opportunity to assess the success or otherwise of regional partnerships and city deals in Wales. We will have experiences of other city deals in the UK to draw on, and this conference promises to be a great opportunity to pool our knowledge and expertise.”