I am deeply disappointed by today’s (22 November 2017) Autumn Budget as it once again held no details on the future of the North Wales Growth Deal.
This comes off the back of continued UK Government announcements that they will investigate or start the process of establishing a North Wales Growth Deal. In the Autumn Budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer said:
“We will begin negotiations for growth deals for North Wales and Mid-Wales…by the end of next year.”
During the Autumn Statement of 2016 the very same Chancellor said that he welcomes:
“…the investment in Wales through the growth deal for North Wales, the Swansea Bay city region deal, and much needed infrastructure investment.”
In this year’s Spring Budget the Chancellor stated that he:
“…has also opened negotiations for a city deal with Stirling and is considering proposals for a Tay Cities Deal and a North Wales Growth Deal.”
Three times the Chancellor has promised a North Wales Growth Deal and no action has been taken.
There are no firm dates or concrete proposals on what this means. Only raising more questions about the UK Government’s determination to help businesses, communities and individuals in North Wales to prosper.
The North Wales Growth Deal has been pursued by Welsh Labour MPs, AMs and Councillors. All of whom know that the sooner it is implemented the better it will be for their local constituents.
During the General Election the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, visited Mold and espoused the Growth Deal but has now reneged on that promise to Delyn residents.
The Budget also announced what was claimed to be £1.2bn of ‘new’ money for Wales. However, this doesn’t take into account that much of this will have to be repaid by the Welsh Assembly Government to the UK Treasury and will come with restrictions on how it can be spent.
Three times the Chancellor has promised a North Wales Growth Deal and each time he has failed to deliver. A growth deal would mean extra financial support for businesses and communities. It would also mean improved investment into our roads and rail. Without this deal we will lag behind the rest of the country undermining the entrepreneurial drive of residents.
The Growth Deal is crucial for North Wales. Labour MPs, AMs and Councillors have been pressing for its implementation along with the Welsh Labour Government. Even if the process does finally start the Chancellor has not made clear what form the Growth Deal will take.
The UK Government has dragged its feet on the Growth Deal for too long. They have shown their true values and it does not include prosperity for North Wales. I will continue to work with my North Wales colleagues to ensure that this deal becomes reality sooner rather than later.