The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised Labour’s approach to a Cardiff City Deal, claiming that the Deal is a “sham” without the devolution of extra powers to the region.
The City Deals initiative was launched in 2011 by former Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as a way to allow cities to “stand on their own two feet” by providing them with resources and extra powers to grow their economies and improve infrastructure.
Welsh Liberal Democrats are concerned that despite today’s announcement of £580m from Welsh Government and £120m from the region’s councils, no arrangements for extra powers to be devolved to the region appear tohave been suggested.
Eluned Parrott has also criticised suggestions that the Welsh Government’s contribution to the Deal’s financing may be money already committed to the South Wales Metro, which includes £125m provided by the UK Government.
Eluned Parrott AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Economy Minister and Assembly Member for South Wales Central, said:
“The whole point of City Deals is to empower city regions to lead their own regeneration, by giving them both the resources and the additional powers to do so.
“Today’s announcement may include a request for money, but there’s no mention of any extra powers to deliver that economic growthnor any suggestion for the kind of projects that a City Deal should deliver. Without those powersand specific plans, this City Deal is nothing more than a sham.
“Using money that’s already committed to the Metro for match-funding would reek of a lack of ambition by Labour Ministers, and including the UK Government’s contribution as part of that would be downright cheeky. The Welsh Government must now come clean on where this money has come from, and whether it really is new money for new ideas.
“Glasgow’s bid was finalised nearly 18 months ago, yet thanks to Labour’s inaction in City Hall and Cardiff Bay dragging their heels ours is only just getting going. Quite frankly, Labour’s poverty of ambition is holding us back – and people in Wales rightly expect better.”