North Wales has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to capitalise on the Northern Powerhouse and drive fresh wave of investment and opportunity across the region, the Secretary of State for Wales said today.
He also made the case for devolution within Wales to equip North Wales with the tools and levers it needs to unlock the economic potential of the Northern Powerhouse.
The Secretary of State said:
The Northern Powerhouse has taken off at startling speed as the great cities of the north form an arc of innovation supported by new regional plans for housing, investment, employment and elected mayors. Last month, the Chinese president - leader of one of the world’s most powerful economies - visited Manchester to learn more about what the Northern Powerhouse can offer the rest of the world. The fact that China regards the North as a distinct region to do business with is evidence that our efforts to rebalance the UK economy are bearing fruit.
Mr Crabb said that business leaders should be in the driving seat to ensure North Wales reaps the benefits of the Northern Powerhouse.
In North Wales, we have always looked east to Liverpool and Manchester for economic growth as much as we look south to Cardiff and Swansea. The Northern Powerhouse represents our best chance to bring transformational change to North Wales. But in the same way that the UK government has had the confidence to devolve powers from the centre down to Manchester, we need to see the same confidence in North Wales from politicians in Cardiff.
I want to see a strong alliance between the business community in North Wales and their partners. It is their role to hold the feet of both the UK and Welsh Government to the fire so this part of the country can secure the world class infrastructure it deserves.
After addressing the IoD, Stephen Crabb will visit Wrexham prison with Prisons Minister Andrew Selous.
They will meet some of the small and local business owners who are benefiting from contracts generated by the building work.
This is an exciting time for North Wales which has a fast growing economy based on a dynamic mix of major exporters and a thriving small business sector,” Mr Crabb will say.
Public sector projects like Wrexham prison demonstrate how the region is in prime position to make multi million pound investments work.
The prison will create around 1,000 jobs and provide a multi-million boost to the local and national economy once operational.
It is expected around £50 million will be spent with small and medium sized businesses, £30 million with local businesses, and half of the entire workforce will be recruited from the local area, including around 100 apprenticeships.