1st August 2021

Llanelli Online News

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THE city deal for the Swansea Bay City Region needs to accelerate its creation of jobs to meet its 15-year goal.

The £1.15 billion public-private programme has generated 135 jobs so far, four years after being launched, according to a written answer by Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart.

The current estimate is 9,728 city deal jobs in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire after 15 years – equating to 648 jobs per year.

But it has only been in the last year or so that the nine projects which make up the city deal have begun to be signed off by the Welsh and UK Governments, which are contributing £241 million to the overall cost.

Four projects have been given final approval to date, with the other five awaiting sign-off or in various stages of development. So it’s still early days.

There are two projects specific to Swansea: the development of the indoor arena, combined with a new office block at the former Oceana site on The Kingsway and an innovation centre on SA1, and also two life science, health and sports campuses in Morriston and Sketty.

The arena project has been approved and has created five jobs so far. The campus project hasn’t been approved, and has created one job.

The bulk of the 135 jobs (102) are in the Yr Egin digital and creative hub, Carmarthenshire, with 15 for the Pembroke Dock Marine energy project.

The figures were given by the Swansea Labour leader in response to a question by Lib-Dem councillors Chris Holley, Jeff Jones and Peter Black.

Cllr Stewart said the development of the indoor arena and surrounding park, car parks, shops and flats – a scheme called Copr Bay – would create 2,000 construction jobs and lead to 600 full-time equivalent jobs thereafter.

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He also said the office block on The Kingsway would provide space for 600 jobs in the tech, digital and creative industry sectors.

The £1.15 billion city deal will be funded by the private sector (£591 million), Welsh and UK Governments (£241 million), and eight participating councils, health boards and universities (£330 million).

But it won’t fund all of the indoor arena project, for example, requiring the council to borrow money.

Cllr Chris Holley said was important that the jobs’ figures were in the public domain, given the level of borrowing needed.

The Swansea Lib-Dem leader claimed the arena would only generate around 25 full-time jobs, although many casual workers would be needed when events and concerts were held.

“As a public body, we are investing a huge amount of money,” said Cllr Holley. “We are not getting the jobs that go with the investment.”

Public sector leaders hope the city deal will pave the way for further investment and jobs across the region.

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