Nick Knight writes for www.countytimes.co.uk:
UK Government Minister Guto Bebb visited Llandrindod Wells to help open the door to a Mid Wales growth deal.
He met leading local authority figures, business people and representatives from the agricultural sector to encourage businesses to play a role in helping to grow the Mid Wales economy.
During the visit the Minister said that the Mid-Wales economy has tremendous potential for growth.
He said that now is a key time for businesses and local authorities to come together and work with the UK and Welsh Governments to build a mid-Wales engine that can create jobs and opportunities across the region. From research expertise at Aberystwyth University to global success stories such as Nidec Control Techniques, the region already has much in the way of innovation, skills and technology.
The Minister will said that the UK Government wants to work with companies and groups on the ground as they develop a bespoke deal that works for the whole of mid-Wales.
Last week the UK Government announced it would welcome proposals for a mid-Wales growth deal, as part of the Budget.
Guto Bebb said: “A Mid Wales growth deal would be the catalyst to revolutionise the way our towns and villages in Mid Wales govern themselves - shifting powers down from London and Cardiff to local leaders who are better placed to take decisions that affect their communities.
“The development of a Midlands Engine across the border offers a unique chance to partner and develop a growth corridor stretching all the way from Aberystwyth to the Midlands.
“With the launch of our Industrial Strategy, which includes opportunities for a growth deal for mid-Wales, there has never been a better time for businesses, local authorities and the agriculture sector to seize the opportunity to come together and build a strong vision for mid-Wales.”
Powys County Council Leader Rosemarie Harris said: “Growth deals have the potential to re-shape the economic development of a region so I welcome the commitment for a growth deal for Mid Wales.
“Any growth deal for Mid Wales could improve the transport infrastructure, digital connectivity and help to develop new job opportunities for the region. This would be of huge benefit to Powys and to Wales as a whole. We want to develop a thriving economy in Powys and a growth deal for Mid Wales will help us to achieve that.”
Chris Davies MP for Brecon and Radnorshire added: “We were pleased to welcome the Minister Brecon and Radnorshire to meet with senior figures at Powys County Council. This is the second Ministerial Visit in three months, with Jake Berry MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government) visiting in September. The Minister and I also met with Gough Transport in Llandrindod Wells to discuss how the Mid Wales Growth deal could benefit companies across Brecon and Radnorshire.
The Mid Wales Growth Deal is the sort of investment our constituency needs, focusing power away from Cardiff Bay and Westminster, and directly to rural communities. I will continue to work at a local and national level to implement this growth deal effectively.”
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