Cardiff in new wave of Great British city regions
In a speech to business leaders in Cardiff, the CBI’s new Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn will set out the opportunity Cardiff has to be part of a new wave of Great British city regions and a true global player with a new city devolution deal in place.
In her first speech outside London, she will argue that over the next 10 years, just 600 cities are expected to drive two-thirds of global economic growth and it is vital that the UK has 20-30 cities on this list, including Cardiff. The Director-General will recognise the significant contribution of Welsh firms, small, medium and large, in creating jobs and opportunity. She will warn politicians however, that despite the progress made in working alongside business, they must not lose sight of this with the National Assembly elections in 2016.
On Cardiff being a part of a new wave of Great British city regions and a global player, she will say:
“Over the next 10 years just 600 cities will account for two-thirds of global GDP, two-thirds of everything the world produces. The Cardiff City deal is an unmissable opportunity for South Wales to take control and the Northern Powerhouse offers the same potential for North Wales. These deals can use those powers created by devolution to drive growth and jobs and to expand transport links.
“It’s part of a new wave of Great British city regions that are taking action to put themselves at the heart of future prosperity. Our cities need to think not about competing with each other, but with new urban centres around the world, and some in our back yard. Cardiff can and should be a great global city. That’s the prize on offer.
“It’s not about Swansea and Cardiff competing with Sheffield and Leeds, or even with London. But about Swansea competing with Stuttgart, Cardiff competing with Chengdu. Newport with Nairobi, or a city just being born in Indonesia or India.”
On the importance of momentum ahead of Assembly elections, she will say:
“We need to use the momentum from new powers to start delivering for business and the economy. And in Wales, many things are on the right track. Business and government have been working well on the devolution agenda, developing sector plans, running city regions and Enterprise Zones.
“But there is further to go and The Assembly election should not be an excuse to take their foot off the pedal on economic leadership.
“The next Welsh Government must have a laser like focus on delivery, using its power as an enabler of growth and prosperity. Decisions like driving forward delivery of the M4 Black Route and the £600m injection to the economy that will bring.
On Wales’ economic performance and global competitiveness, Carolyn will say:
“From defence and aerospace, to manufacturing and automotive, and financial and professional services – Wales is punching above its weight on the world stage. Wales recently saw its best Foreign Direct Investment performance for 30 years which is thanks in part to a real push by the Welsh Government.”
On EU reform, she will say:
“The EU Single Market offers more customers for business abroad, and more jobs back home. It brings more international investment in the UK economy and, in total, access to a third of the world’s markets through trade deals.
“Wales has long benefited from our EU membership. With over 500 businesses from other EU member states are based here, accounting for 54,000 jobs. And it exported £5.6bn worth of goods to the rest of the EU in 2014 alone.
“But just as we’ve been clear on the competitiveness benefits of the EU and the Single Market, we’ve also been clear on the reforms that business is looking for. Developing the Single Market, more trade deals, less and better regulation, and ensuring that the integrity of non-Eurozone countries is protected.”