Liverpool and Chester part of a ‘supercharged north Wales corridor of growth’ says Michael Gove
Liverpool and Chester are part of a “north Wales corridor” which will be “supercharged” by the Conservatives, the secretary for Levelling Up Michael Gove has said.
Responding to a question by Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes in the House of Commons, Michael Gove said that Wales had been “neglected” under Labour governments but those communities would now “get the investment they deserve”.
A bid to revitalise the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site received £13.3m as part of the UK Government’s levelling up funding scheme.
“I am delighted that the UK Government have recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Wrexham and Denbighshire councils in order to allow the first phase of the £13.3 million levelling-up projects in Clwyd South to progress,” Simon Baynes said.
“Will my right hon. Friend provide further detail on how he sees these levelling-up fund projects addressing regional inequality in my part of north Wales?”
Michael Gove responded that the north of Wales had been “neglected under previous Labour Governments”.
“It is only this Conservative Administration who are making sure that communities such as Wrexham and Llangollen get the investment they deserve,” he said.
“He and my honourable friend the estimable Member for Wrexham [Sarah Atherton] have put forward exciting propositions and we want to make sure that the whole north Wales corridor, from Ynys Môn, over the border into Liverpool and Chester, becomes a supercharged corridor for growth, and that will only happen under this Government.”
Michael Gove’s comments come after a Welsh Conservative MP called for a new city region “straddling the border between England and north Wales” last week.
David Jones said that the Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, should work with the Welsh Government to bring the project to fruition.
He referred to a 2012 report by Dr Elizabeth Haywood, City-regions, which suggested that city regions be created in the south east of Wales and Swansea Bay and that the existing Mersey Dee Alliance be strengthened in the north east of Wales.
He said that he had recently met with UK Government Minister Neil O’Brien, the Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up, to discuss how such a cross-border city region might be pursued.
“I strongly urge my right honourable friend the Secretary of State to work with colleagues in the Welsh Government to reassess that report and to work to create that city region, with a formalised role for the Mersey Dee Alliance, to produce coordinated policies for the whole region,” he said.
“I think the proposal has widespread support in north Wales and north-west England, and it would do a great deal to improve still further the economic potential of what is already one of the most important industrial areas of the country.”
Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes said that he supported the proposal, saying that “such cross-border interaction is vital for my Clwyd South constituency”.
Currently, there are two city deals and two growth deals in operation in Wales, which are agreements between the UK Government, Welsh Government, and the local authorities in the city region.
The Cardiff City Region deal covers ten local authorities in the south-east of Wales, and includes a £1.2 billion investment fund. The Swansea City Deal covers the local authorities of Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and City and County of Swansea and ncludes £1.3 billion in funding.
A North Wales Growth Deal was signed in December 2020 and covers the local authorities of Conwy County Borough, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey and Wrexham County Borough.
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