South Wales Development Plans, Cardiff. 30.01.19

South Wales was urged to wean itself off the culture of hand-outs by the Director of the Cardiff Capital Region. Opening the South Wales Development Conference Kellie Beirne said the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will cut off an important source of support for the South Wales economy.

She said: “We’ll no longer be accessing European structure funds, which we have heavily relied on and are a net beneficiary of.”

With the Westminster Government singing no more city deals, she said that all areas would have to compete for new economic innovation funding from its industrial strategy.

The Cardiff Capital Region must ensure that the support it awards generates a self-sustaining pot to bankroll future activity, Beirne said: “The vision for the city-deal is to be ever green. We don’t give grants. To make sure we have enough growth potential to drive a new future for the region, we have to live off our interest and not our capital.”

She added that South Wales contained some of the poorest parts of the entire UK economy with Blaenau Gwent having sat at the bottom of the UK-wide productivity league table since 1999 while both Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly were only slightly ahead: “We have scarce resources for public services so the more we have, the more we can target those who really need it and don’t have same options and choice. This is an opportunity to really solve some of the endemic problems in the region.”