Tuesday, 4 July 2017

We need an All Wales Deal not City Deals

I must admit that I am somewhat sceptical of City Deals , It seems to me that  it could lead to centralisation of  resources and and over concentration to the detriment  of those living outside the designated area
So Labour AM  Eluned Morgan should be applauded in saying  that Rural Wales needs the equivalent to the city deals struck around Cardiff and Swansea. 
Ms Morgan said a strategy is needed as a matter of urgency so rural areas can have the same kind of attention parts of urban Wales have had.
It is one recommendation in a wide-ranging report calling for a coherent rural economic strategy post-Brexit.
The Welsh Government said it would ensure rural interests were protected as the UK prepared to leave the EU.
The Labour AM for Mid and West Wales has worked with a group of business people to draw up the report, which she is presenting to Economy Secretary Ken Skates on Monday.
The Cardiff City Region Deal is expected to be worth £1.2bn to the capital and surrounding authorities over 20 years - while the Swansea Bay equivalent has been billed as potentially triggering £1.3bn in investment.
 Ms Morgan said .
"There are two major challenges confronting rural Wales today," "One is Brexit and the fact that we are not only going to be losing structural funds... but also we will be losing subsidies to farmers."Secondly, there is and has been a focus in Wales in recent years on city deals. That money is now being agreed with UK central government and there is as yet no such deal in sight for rural Wales."That's why we have to start to develop a strategy where we can catch-up and have the same kind of attention that those city areas have had.""We now need a rural deal," 
The report said consideration should be given to establishing an independent rural commissioner, to be responsible for rural-proofing policy and to ensure rural Wales is considered in Welsh Government programmes.
It said a "plan must be in put in place... to ensure rural Wales has an ability to flourish economically in the future, and continue to be a viable environment for young people and old to live and work."
However  if we were to to do this it would effectively mean that  we are basically investing  in Rural Wales in the same way we are in the Cities,
We could also see  calls for a new Strategy  for the Valleys or we will see resources  being put in to the coastal cities  and draining resources from areas like  the Rhondda.
In other words  we need  an All Wales Strategy ,
Well that is what the Assembly is there for and our AM must insure that we simply follow Westminster diktats  on City Deals  that bypass any plans that "Our Welsh Government" have especially  if as been pointed out it may have a departmental  affect on other parts of Wales .
However we need an Assembly with not only the political power but the political will to do so.
Despite Eluned Morgan's  statement at the moment  we have neither.
Can Plaid rise to the challenge ?

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