Swansea Bay city region launched to boost economy

Location map
Image caption Cardiff is also set to become a city region after Swansea Bay

Swansea Bay has been launched as Wales' first "city region" in an effort to boost investment and job opportunities.

The region includes Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Neath Port Talbot.

It has been set up to develop tourism and inward investment and is about growth and not words, says the boss.

It comes after a report commissioned by the Welsh government showed economic growth increasingly happens in regions centred on a city, attracting higher skilled jobs and pay.

There are also plans for a Cardiff city region to include Merthyr Tydfil, Aberdare, Pontypool, Newport, Bridgend and Barry.

'Ambitious plan'

The idea is to remove boundaries that exist between council areas and organisations to allow for more joined-up thinking as experts found city areas create a big part of the UK's economic output.

Dr Elizabeth Haywood, who chaired a panel looking at new city regions in Wales last year, told BBC Radio Wales that Welsh cities have not been "punching at their weight" until now.

Following that report, business leaders and local authorities have joined forces with the Welsh government to create the Swansea Bay city region, pledging to work together to create jobs and promote economic regeneration.

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Media captionSwansea city region welcome but 'no quick fix' says economy minister

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said a collective approach with a region coming together could deliver.

"I am sure we can boost economic growth and create a sustainable future where the economy can grow and where opportunity can be created for the people of the region, and Wales," she said.

The minister will be at Thursday's strategy launch at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli along with Swansea council leader David Phillips who will chair the Swansea Bay city region board.

"This is an important day for the 700,000 people who live in this first Welsh city region," he said.

"This will not be about words. It will be about jobs, investment and transformational projects which benefit the people and businesses of south west Wales."

Steve Penny, who chairs Swansea's economic regeneration partnership, said: "It demonstrates that as communities, businesses and government we can and will collaborate to promote our joint aspirations for jobs and economic regeneration."

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