16 Mar 2016 Swansea Bay City Region deal gets nod in March Budget

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Plans for a £1billion City Deal for the Swansea Bay Region have been boosted after Chancellor George Osborne confirms he has opened discussions with its backers.

Yesterday, a £1.2billion City Deal for Cardiff was signed with at least £734million earmarked for the integrated Metro transport project, starting with electrification of the Valley Lines.

The Swansea Bay City Region, chaired by billionaire telecommunications Sir Terry Matthews, submitted its transformative Internet Coast City Deal bid last month. ARCH forms the Internet of Health & Wellbeing part of the proposal and is a key element driving the ambitious bid.

In his Budget Mr Osborne said: "In Wales we are committed to devolving new powers to the Assembly and yesterday my right honourable friends the Welsh Secretary and the Chief Secretary signed a new £1billion deal for the Cardiff region.

"We are opening discussion on a City Deal for Swansea and a growth deal for North Wales so it’s better connected to our Northern Powerhouse."

Sir Terry said: "I welcome the statement in the budget statement today from The Chancellor of the Exchequer that the UK Government is prepared to open negotiations with the region and the Welsh Government on a City Deal for Swansea Bay.

"We will be responding to this invitation with urgency based on the proposals that were published last month to develop a new ICT technology industry.”

Sir Terry added: “We are also pleased with the announcement yesterday of a City Deal for the Cardiff Capital Region. An important step forward for Wales as a whole.

"We are committed to working in partnership with our colleagues in that region and in North Wales to improve both productivity and growth.

"We were delighted by the confirmation from Welsh Government Economy Minister, Edwina Hart that the UK Government has agreed to support enhanced capital allowances in an enterprise zone at Port Talbot.

"This was part of our City Deal bid and provides early momentum to the process.”

As part of the City Region deal, the Arch (A Regional Collaboration for Health) programme is working to address the challenges we face in health and healthcare across the region.

Arch chairman Professor Andrew Davies, who is also chair of ABMU Health Board and a member of the Swansea Bay City Region Board, explains how the plans will benefit the health and wellbeing of people in South West Wales.

He said: "The City Deal will accelerate the rate at which the Arch partners can deliver  an innovative and pioneering healthcare service in this region.

"Arch is working on a regional footprint of one million people - with an effective digital infrastructure in place through the City Region Deal we will be able to really create a new model of pro-active, personalised and co-ordinated healthcare delivery, which will be seen as an exemplar in the NHS.

"Through health science innovation and research, Arch will also be able to attract highly-qualified people and high growth business to South West Wales."

To find out more about the City Region Deal click here

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