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West of UK ‘next Powerhouse waiting to happen’

A new report sets out how to ‘supercharge’ the economy in the west of Britain so that it can compete with other high growth regions across the world.

The report, by Metro Dynamics, calls for a cross-border partnership between seven cities to improve infrastructure, investment, internationalisation and inclusive growth.

The potential powerhouse – which is yet to adopt a formal name – would stretch along the M4 corridor from Swindon and across the Welsh border to Cardiff and Swansea, and in the north from Gloucester and Cheltenham to Bath and Bristol.

It’s been supported by the Great Western City partners as well as Bath and North East Somerset Council, Gloucestershire County Council, Swansea Council and Swindon Borough Council.

In a statement, the group says that due to strong transport links the proposed powerhouse is ‘uniquely positioned’ to develop and support trade growth in a way which could be complementary to existing local and regional strategies.

The Powerhouse for the West report, commissioned by the Great Western Cities partnership of Bristol City Council, Cardiff Council and Newport City Council, was presented to senior politicians, business and education leaders yesterday (July 8) at the House of Lords.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: ‘Our ultimate vision is to create a serious, long-term, cross-border partnership.

‘We already export £18.4bn of goods and £11bn of services every year – we want to further promote our excellent trade and investment opportunities by developing an internationalisation strategy.

‘In a post-Brexit world export-based growth will be of huge importance to economic development and this collaboration has the potential to ensure this region competes with high growth regions around the world.’

Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council said: ‘This is just the start of the conversation and our next step will be to set up a leadership vehicle to shape this initiative and drive it forward.

‘This report talks about complementing rather than competing with existing strategies and partnerships.

‘We would be developing a partnership between public and private sectors across this seven cities region, with representatives from local enterprise partnerships, businesses and universities and with the backing of national government.’

Read the report at www.apowerhouseforthewest.org.uk

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