The Executive Board considered a report and received a presentation, which provided an update of negotiations between Welsh and UK Government and the Swansea Bay City Region in respect of the City Deal Investment Package and to seek Members’ approval to delegate to the Leader of the Council or the Chief Executive, authority to sign a City Deal agreement (Heads of Term).
The Board was advised that the Swansea Bay City Deal focussed on the benefits of digital infrastructure, the energy sector, smart manufacturing and innovation in life science for both urban and rural areas across the region. Since the original submission of the City Deal proposal in February last year, an intensive period of work had led to the submission of a detailed bid covering 11 specific projects. The Deal involved a total investment of some £1.3 billion over a period of 15 years. This would consist of £241m of government funding to be split between the Welsh and UK governments. Some £360m of other public sector funding and £673m of private sector contributions would make up the total investment package. This investment would deliver up to 9, 465 new jobs for the region, contributing to an uplift in GVA of £1.8bn. It was explained that following the submission of the bid, there had been a series of discussions with both governments as well as engagement events with Assembly Members and others across the region. It was noted that it was hoped that the Deal would be signed off by the beginning of March.
It was highlighted that the City Deal provided a once in a generation opportunity to increase prosperity and opportunity within the region. The region’s GVA had fallen from 90% of the UK average to 77% over the last three decades with low productivity, high economic inactivity and poor health just some key challenges facing the region. Without the City Deal proposals closing this gap would be extremely challenging.
The governance arrangements were outlined and it was noted that the Swansea Bay City Deal was a partnership between 8 organisations and the private sector. Utilising the existing statutory framework, the local authorities would establish a Joint Committee which would have ultimate responsibility for the City Deal investment package. It was noted that the only voting members would be the four local authorities.
The financing of the deal would be based on a 15 year programme. The four local authorities would ask to borrow the required sum for its relevant projects and the funding would be drawn down as the project develops over a period of 5 years. The capital borrowing (in respect of the Government funded element) would be re-paid as Government funds were received over the 15 year period.
It was explained that there was a package of 11 projects, which were focussed on four key elements:
- Internet of economic acceleration
- Internet of energy
- Internet of Life Science and Wellbeing
- Internet of Smart Manufacturing
The County would benefit from all the proposals, however, the Life Science and Wellbeing Village and the Skills and Talent Initiative would be specifically lead by Carmarthenshire.
Members commented that a lot of work had gone into developing the proposed Deal and thanked the teams that had been involved. The importance of private investment in the Deal was also recognised.
It was queried if the City Deal was not accepted would some of the elements still be delivered, such as the Well-being initiative in Llanelli. It was explained that funding was required to deliver such projects and it would be dependent on what other funding was available. The City Deal would allow projects to go ahead in a timely manner. It was noted that some City Deals started with concepts and projects developed from them, in the case of this City Deal there were 11 definite projects already identified that could be up and running fairly quickly.
The Board was presented with an overview of the proposed Life Science and Wellbeing Village.
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO COUNCIL that delegated authority be given to the Leader of the Council or Chief Executive, to sign a City Deal agreement (Heads of Terms) on the basis described in the report.