The North Wales Growth Deal is gaining momentum and when it arrives it will deliver more powers locally and vital investment. It cannot come soon enough.
But a growth deal in isolation will be limited. That is why it needs to be comprehensive and linked to the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ initiative. I was disappointed that the minister responsible could not give any direct assurances that this is being done. I will be questioning the UK Government further to ensure that it is.
The North Wales Growth Deal, as many of you will know, could deliver greater funding for our communities and more control over how that money is spent. However, it has been announced three times by the UK Government without any solid idea of when it will be implemented.
I asked the Secretary of State a simple question: when would the deal be signed off? He stated that it would require local partners to come together before the UK Government could take further action. But they already have and are awaiting the Government’s next steps. We need this investment now to help combat the rising unemployment and child poverty in our area.
The North Wales Growth Deal, if implemented properly, will deliver more investment for our communities. But it will only work effectively if we have strong links to the Merseyside growth deal also being implemented.
That is why I pressured the UK Government minister to give me assurances that they are working closely with North Wales councils, the Welsh Government and the local authorities in Merseyside. The minister said that he will be visiting the region in the coming days. I hope that this isn’t just a fleeting visit but one that will deliver results and help our local councils in making the growth deal a reality.
The North Wales Growth Deal has been announced several times over now. I have been stating that we need it urgently if we are to stop any increases in unemployment. Sadly, the Government have only just started to take action. That is why I wanted to press the Minister on the increase in unemployment in Delyn announced today.
October witnessed a rise in unemployment and I warned the UK Government if they did not take action it would only rise further. Today’s figures demonstrate that they did not heed these warnings and let unemployment push above the 800 mark. This follows years of fluctuations in unemployment in Delyn, under the Conservatives, but no definitive fall.
Youth unemployment is remaining at 180 people. Showing that despite the efforts of the Welsh Assembly Government in providing excellent education and skills training, the UK Government is squandering our young people’s potential.
What we are seeing is a government who are not competent enough to manage the UK economy. For all their bluster surrounding their credentials on the economy we can see a shambolic approach to bringing down inflation and securing more decent jobs. We now live in the situation where inflation continues to rise to an eye-watering 3.1% and the number of people in secure work plummets. Labour will invest into our community and tackle the cost of living crisis head on.
The Minister seemed to demonstrate an unwillingness to even note the rise in unemployment in Delyn. Instead he opted to say that everything is well in his constituency. This shows a disregard for the people of Delyn and shows this government’s incompetency in implementing a growth deal when it was first needed.