Swansea confirms interest in bidding for a UK Government City Deal
A city deal proposal for Swansea could use the Tidal Lagoon and renewable industries as a starting point
Swansea could have its own city deal if exploratory talks being held in the region come to fruition.
Members of the Swansea Bay City Region board have held early stage discussion over the possibility of a city deal which could boost the economy of the area.
Steve Phillips, chief executive of Neath Port Talbot Council and secretary of the Swansea Bay City Region partnership board, said: "I think when the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon comes off that could be a game changer for the whole region in terms of making it a centre for the renewable energy industry and that is where we should start.
"A city deal is a possibility for Swansea."
The news comes as BT revealed earlier this year it will be trialling super fast broadband with 100 homes and businesses in the Swansea area and the UK Government has confirmed Swansea is to become one of six digital economy centre across the UK.
What is a city deal?
A City Deal is an agreement between government and a city.
City Deals give local areas specific powers and freedoms to help the region support economic growth, create jobs or invest in local projects.
Which cities have been granted city deals?
Glasgow and Clyde Valley signed a deal worth £1.2bn in August last year which will be used to take forward up to 20 infrastructure schemes across the city-region.
This is one of 26 city deals which have so far been announced with cities and urban areas across the country.
Some cities and their local areas are proposing City Deals focused on tools and powers to equip local people and businesses with the skills they need to take advantage of significant expansion in high value jobs in their areas; others on creating ecosystems to foster innovation and private sector growth; others to invest in infrastructure to unlock housing and jobs sites.
What about Wales?
Ten south east Wales local authorities have formally agreed to join forces to help deliver a City Deal for the Capital City Region.
The commitment to work together is a major step forward in the bid to bring a City Deal to the region.
A £500,000 fund has been created to help develop the bid with each of the councils committing cash to the project.
In partnership with the Welsh Government, the 10 councils will begin work to develop a proposal for the UK Government for investment in the city-region economy to provide jobs and increase economic output.
How would it work in Swansea?
Mr Phillips said: "There are a whole range of city deal in locations around the UK, some akin to Swansea like Inverness.
"We are a different city region to Cardiff and we would have to come up with a different proposition.
"We are looking at it in exploratory terms and working up ideas."
The local authority chief executive said a proposal for a city deal could be worked up around the renewables sector in Swansea based around the £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.
He added: "Cardiff Capital Region is looking into something similar to what Glasgow did.
"I think we would need something different in Swansea and exactly how it will pan out would be for formal discussion with the Welsh Government and the UK Government.
"We are a way away at the moment from having a proposition and we are talking and having a discussion of ideas."
Swansea Labour councillor John Bayliss tweeted about the need for a city deal in Swansea and wrote:
Who is involved in the talks over a city deal in Swansea?
Members of the Swansea Bay City Region partnership board, various people who haver been engaged in city deals elsewhere in the UK and local authorities have all been included in the early stage talks.
Mr Phillips said: "Sir Terry Matthews (owner of the Celtic Manor Resort and chair of the Swansea Bay City Region partnership board) is very keen that we focus on the job in hand and city regions are perceived as having long term objectives.
"You have got to come up with a balance otherwise people lose interest."
Source: Wales Online