City region bid 'key to Welsh economy'
Wales will lose out if Cardiff does not become part of a bigger economic region to bid for UK government investment, researchers have claimed.
Chancellor George Osborne is expected to give extra help to Leeds and Sheffield in his Autumn Statement on Wednesday.
It follows support for Greater Manchester and Greater Glasgow.
Centre for Cities called on Cardiff to work more closely with its south Wales neighbours and with Bristol.
The UK government's support of big cities is both political - after the independence campaign in Scotland - and economic, to try to address the imbalance between the London economy and the rest of the UK.
Now Greater Manchester has been given even more powers over housing, transport and welfare.
It is also working in partnership with other big cities across the north of England to bid for large strategic investment.
Andrew Carter, acting chief executive of Centre for Cities, said Cardiff and Bristol needed to respond to the prospect of competition from other regions.
"There is a real fear that Cardiff and Wales will miss out from not being able to organise to make a coherent argument to the UK government," he said.
He said the first step was for Cardiff and its neighbouring local authorities to work together more closely so that they would be on a stronger footing.
Cardiff could then reach out to Bristol to look at areas where they could collaborate, added Mr Carter.
These could include rail electrification, creative and digital industries and the development of a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast, he said.
Dylan Jones-Evans, professor of entrepreneurship at University of the West of England in Bristol, agreed, and said Wales should make the most of electrification of the main railway line from London.
"If we don't work more closely together, Bristol will be the stop for major investment coming from London during that period," said Mr Jones-Evans.