My patience is wearing thin with the promises of the North Wales Growth Deal being put in place by this Government. I was told in December last year that everything would be in place by April and we are yet to see any action.
That’s why I wanted to make it easy for the minister. I asked him the simple question when will we see the first spade hit the soil in North Wales on any project, any spade anywhere.
Local authorities in North Wales are ready and raring to go. It is the Government who is dragging their feet on investment in our communities.
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.