£1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal to kick-start biggest-ever investment in south-west Wales
A £1.3bn City Deal for the Swansea Bay area has been formally signed, signalling the biggest-ever in south-west Wales.
The deal will see Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire councils lead projects designed to boost the local economy by £1.8bn and generate 10,000 jobs over the next 15 years.
The total investment package comprises £241m from the UK and Welsh governments, £396m in other public sector cash and £637m from the private sector.
The City Deal was developed by the Swansea Bay City Region Board, which saw the four councils work with the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda University Health Boards, Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity St David's, as well as private sector firms, under the chairmanship of Sir Terry Matthews.
Eleven major projects will now get underway to deliver state-of-the-art facilities in energy, smart manufacturing, innovation and life science, all underpinned by investment in digital infrastructure and skills.
Projects include a £200m Wellness & Life Science Village at Delta Lakes in Llanelli, which aims to create more than 1,800 jobs and boost the economy by £467m over 15 years. The scheme will be led by Carmarthenshire County Council under the ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) programme, which is a partnership between Hywel Dda and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Boards and Swansea University.
Swansea City Council will lead the development of the City and Waterfront Digital District. This will deliver 100,000 sq ft of flexible and affordable new office space for tech businesses as part of a "digital village".
The deal will also lead to a 215,000 sq ft box village on the University Wales Trinity Saint David's under-construction Waterfront Innovation Quarter. Built out of shipping containers, the village will provide affordable space for start-ups with links to the university's academic programme.
In Pembrokeshire, the £76m Pembroke Dock Marine project, led by the Port of Milford Haven, will establish a marine energy centre.
Meanwhile, Neath Port Talbot will lead the development of a Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Digital Services, which will provide data analytics to support the rapid commercialisation technologies created by the region's entrepreneurs.
Swansea City Council leader Cllr Rob Stewart, leader of the Swansea Bay City Region, said: "This is among the biggest investments Wales has ever seen, so it's an historic day for the Swansea Bay City Region.
"The City Deal will improve people's lives in Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire by generating up to 10,000 jobs and investing in world-class technology that will revolutionise the way sectors like energy, social care, healthcare and entrepreneurship are delivered and supported here.
"The approved City Deal is also terrific news for our businesses because not only will the introduction of cutting-edge digital infrastructure help embrace and harness innovation, but the construction of new developments will boost the regional supply chain as well."
Mark James CBE, chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council and lead chief executive of the Swansea Bay City Region, added: "This City Deal is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to further consolidate the region's role in technological innovation.
"The Swansea Bay City Region will now lead innovation in developing and commercialising solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the fields of life sciences, energy, smart manufacturing and digital networks in both urban and rural areas.
"This is a unique opportunity to increase prosperity and opportunity for the region."