Local authorities play a pivotal role in improving the economy of Wales not only through specific economic development initiatives but by creating the right economic conditions for business to thrive. Through their service delivery, local authorities are key players in the provision of the necessary transportation infrastructure, managing the regulatory environment such as environmental health and planning, improving the public realm, improving skills of residents to enable them access to jobs and working with those people furthest from the labour market through initiatives such as Communities First and Communities for Work.
Local authorities are key partners in the delivery of a number of Welsh Government programmes in this area including the Strategic Regeneration Framework Viable & Vibrant Places and Communities First.
More recently local authorities are fully engaged in, and in some areas driving, economic development across the four regions of Wales with the City Regions in South East and South West Wales, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and the Growing Mid Wales Partnership and the Regional Skills Partnerships in the North Wales, South West/Mid and the South East. In South East Wales, local authorities are driving forward a City Deal with the UK Government which has a major focus on connectivity with the implementation of the South Wales Metro project.
The future challenges for the economic development function are:
- To be a valued local government service with WLGA lobbying for it to be a statutory duty
- To maximise the funding available for economic development and regeneration projects including retention of 100% business rates growth
- To play a leading role in the regional economic and skills agenda
- To explore ways to implement new welfare/return to work activities
For more information contact: Tim Peppin