Challenges for Cardiff city deal

When people ask me about the seriousness of the questions over the level of support among Cardiff councillors for the city deal, I tell them the clue is in the title.

This is after all the Cardiff city deal and we are talking about Cardiff council.

If it was any other authority then worries about support would not have so much resonance.

There will now be 10 votes in council chambers across south east Wales at the beginning of 2017.

We are at the sharp end. The broad agreement for the city deal is now being replaced by 20 year financial commitments and setting the criteria that will ultimately decide which projects get the go-ahead.

Bale

Every effort will be made to lock councils in before the elections in May. The last thing anyone involved in the deal wants to do is have to start again from scratch with a load of new administrations who may have more pressing matters to deal with in the summer.

The concerns clearly revolve around the potential vulnerability of the Cardiff leader Phil Bale, whose enthusiasm for the city deal has been a defining feature of his time in the job.

His leadership within the Labour group has been challenged and he has a tiny working majority. He now has the job of persuading people this is the way the city should go.

Many outside the capital will find it odd that Cardiff councillors have concerns when they believe it will be the city that benefits most.

Sales

The problem is that many don't see it that way. Take Judith Woodman, the leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group, who actually believes the city deal is broadly a good idea but has reservations about making a 20 year commitment without knowing the full details.

And what the city deal backers will be battling against is the pre-election build-up where concerns over spending will be amplified as voters look for assurances that every penny will be spent in their own particular communities.

The potential economic opportunities from the city deal are clear, and will be outlined this week. What's far less clear is whether of trying to get agreement from so many different organisations.

We can expect to see a big sales job hitting full speed in the new year.