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Welsh Secretary to explore Western Powerhouse proposition

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has addressed the Policy Forum for Wales in Newport to outline his ambitions for a Western Powerhouse.

In attendance were representatives from local government, academia and the education and private sectors from either side of the Severn Estuary, all eager to hear more about the Western Powerhouse proposition. While there, the Welsh Secretary issued a call to action and urged the experts to come forward with their own ideas on how to shore up existing relationships and develop new partnerships across the UK.

By the end of 2018, one of the greatest economic barriers to Welsh prosperity will be consigned to history as the UK government retires tolls to use the Severn Crossings. Already, businesses on both sides of the border are benefitting from the removal of VAT on tolls in January.

Now, the UK government wants to see businesses pool knowledge and expertise to deliver the projects that will not only benefit the cities of Swansea, Cardiff, Newport, Bristol and Bath but the wider South Wales and South West England regions as well.

“The cities on the western side of the UK are individually strong, but collectively, we are not strong enough,” said the Welsh Secretary. “We need to light the blue touch paper and make a real step change to the way businesses, people and industry from the cities and towns from both sides of the Severn work together when the tolls are removed.

“And I’m not talking about one city taking the lead, but a collection of cities, of communities, of businesses, sufficiently close to each other that, combined, they can take on the world. Able to provide jobs and opportunities to the many people who live in or are looking to invest in this region.

“So we need to seize the opportunity to create an economic region on the western side of the UK that can compete with the Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine and with the economy of the south east.”

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