Ceredigion MP says Mid Wales Growth Deal investment lacks ambition


The Welsh Secretary has announced that there will be £55m of UK Government spending available for projects to boost parts of mid-Wales.

The Mid Wales Growth Deal, announced back in 2017, is still at a very early stage. It promises to pool funding from both Welsh and UK Governments in order to leverage private investment to make a significant contribution to the economy of Ceredigion and Powys. 

The expectation is that in return for the money from the UK Treasury, the projects chosen will provide a boost to the local economy in terms of productivity or Gross Value Added. 

The Growing Mid Wales Partnership has already held workshops with stakeholders from Ceredigion and Powys, gathering ideas for a growth deal. Along with better communications infrastructure, some of the ideas have centred on new developments in green energy, agricultural techniques - such as vertical farming to get more produce per acre - local sourcing of food and tourism. The aim is to create high-skilled, well-paid jobs that will also keep young people in the area and attract others.

Plaid Cymru says that although the announcement represents a step in the right direction, the proposed investment is insufficient to realise the aims of the policy, and is disappointing when compared to growth deals in other parts of the UK.

In response to today’s announcement, Ben Lake MP for Ceredigion said:

“Having raised this particular issue during Treasury Questions in the chamber earlier this week, I was glad to receive further clarity from the UK Government on progress with regard to the Mid Wales Growth Plan. 

“It is fair to say that the proposed investment of £55m, spread over a 15 year period, falls well below the ambition outlined by the UK Government when it first announced plans for a Mid Wales Growth Deal. 

“Indeed, compared with the A55 corridor in the north, or the M4 belt in the south, both Ceredigion and Powys suffer from poorer transport links and infrastructure, and given that these are key aspects in the foundation of any prosperous economy, one would have expected the level of investment proposed for Mid Wales to be greater in order to address this weakness.

“If the purpose of the Mid Wales Growth Deal is to level up the economy of Ceredigion and Powys, and narrow the gap with that of the north and south, then I do believe that there is a strong case for further investment. Therefore, while I welcome any investment to Ceredigion, I will be pressing the case in Parliament that the £55 million announced must be the first – and not the final – instalment.”

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