Hart admits 'slow progress' with city regions

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Economy Minister Edwina Hart admitted "slow progress" had been made with the development of city regions across Wales.

The Enterprise and Business Committee was scrutinising the minister on 25 September 2013.

In Autumn 2011, Ms Hart established the City Regions Task and Finish Group to focus on economic development in Wales.

The group found that Wales has a strong tradition of settlements based around trade and industry that connected Wales to the wider world.

It recommended that two City Regions should be recognised; one in South East Wales and one in Swansea Bay.

However during the committee the minister expressed concerns that progress was slow, but stressed the importance to allow the city regions to develop on their own.

Ms Hart said: "We're in the early stages of this, it could take a few years, but I am not going to rush this model."

"I am keen to see emerging how they wish to take this forward."

She added: "This is not a top down approach, it is a bottom up approach as it has got to last."

The task and finish group has made 22 recommendations with regards to city regions across Wales, nevertheless Edwina Hart did not feel it was necessary to publish a report in response to the recommendations.

Ms Hart said that the city regions were at the top of the government's agenda, but stressed enterprise zones, local growth zones as well as other business developments in other parts of the country were fundamental.

According to the economy minister, city regions should collaborate with existing local structures to develop better transport and housing services for people.

Professor Kevin Morgan, Professor of Governance and Development in the School of City & Regional Planning at Cardiff University also gave evidence and reassured the committee that "this is not a soviet style goss plan".

He added: "We're building the road as we travel, this is a pragmatic approach".

Liberal Democrat AM Eluned Parrott expressed concerns that there was a "lack of clarity" with regards to the governance of city regions.

The minister assured the AM that this information would eventually "go into the public domain".

Ms Hart agreed that it was fundamental for the public to understand "where the decisions were taken".

Darllenwch hwn yn Gymraeg

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