Influential business leaders and politicians from across both sides of the Welsh border have met to discuss how economic opportunities from the Northern Powerhouse Region can be maximised for North Wales.
The cross border summit, held at Coleg Cambria, Flintshire, was intended to drive focussed discussion and raise business awareness on how cross border economic development can be accelerated by a range of mutually-advantageous initiatives. These included modernising the transport network, maximising on energy sector opportunities, a clear cross-border economic development strategy and a strong cross-border economic team.
Wales Office Minister Guto Bebb together with the Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates were joined at the Northop campus by representatives from a range of business organisations including the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses, CBI, the WLGA, the North Wales Business Council, Welsh Enterprise Zone chairs, the Cheshire and North Wales Chamber and the Mersey Dee Alliance.
Speaking ahead of the Summit, Welsh Office Minister, Guto Bebb said:
This summit reflects the importance of North Wales and the role it plays in it’s connection to the Northern Powerhouse.
We are very pleased to be here working side by side with the Welsh Government, which only helps us to achieve more for the area. In wake of the EU referendum result it is critical that we look to all opportunities that can strengthen our economy. Securing a growth deal will most certainly help build the region’s economy and maximise on the connections to the Northern Powerhouse. We welcome the Chancellor’s commitment and cross border collaboration. This is very good for news for North Wales.
Ken Skates, Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, said:
I have high economic ambitions for North Wales and am determined to do all I can to drive economic growth and prosperity across the region.
The Northern Powerhouse represents a huge opportunity for North Wales and I am committed to ensuring Wales is right at the forefront of decision making and bid development so we can secure the very best future for the region.
We must ensure we are aligning our priorities with that of the Northern Powerhouse, particularly in the context of the North Wales Growth deal, as well as developing the very best vehicles for effective cross border working.
The North Wales Summit follows publication of The Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review last week which highlights areas in which the North is a world leader. It also identifies the measures needed to bring about improvements to the region’s economy concluding radical change is needed to close skills and productivity gaps but that such changes could potentially result in 850,000 jobs by 2050.