Wales-England Western Gateway ‘as important as Northern Powerhouse’ says UK Government minister
A cross border economic region that aims to break down barriers between Wales and England is as important as the Northern Powerhouse, a UK Government minister has said.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke said that the Western Gateway was a “phenomenally important part of our wider UK growth package.”.
“The western gateway has equal standing alongside the northern powerhouse and the midlands engine,” he said in the House of Commons.
One stated aim of the scheme is to provide faster transport connections across the Wales and England border.
The scheme however came under fire at its launch when then Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns referred to the new economic area as ‘West Britain’.
Carmarthen West and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards responded by calling the project an attempt to “see our country turned into West Britain”.
In the House of Commons Newport East MP Jessica Morden asked the UK Government for a progress report on the Western Gateway.
“It is still yet to receive the same level of recognition from the Government as other pan-regional partnerships, such as the northern powerhouse,” she said.
“Will the Government address that and get behind the western gateway?”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke responded that he was “always happy to support its work”.
“The western gateway is a phenomenally important part of our wider UK growth package,” he said.
“I can certainly confirm that I and, indeed, Ministers in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are always happy to engage substantively with the hon. Lady and with the leadership of local authorities in that area.”