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.
Local authorities are key partners in the delivery of a number of Welsh Government programmes and initiatives in this area including the Targeted Regeneration Investment(TRI), Building for the Future, Town Centre Loans and the Valleys Task Force.
More recently local authorities have been driving economic development across the four regions of Wales with City Deals and Growth Deals in South East and South West Wales and by the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and the Growing Mid Wales Partnership. Regional Skills Partnerships in North Wales, South West/Mid and the South East are assessing labour force demand and supply and making recommendations for training provision in light of anticipated future requirements. The City and Growth Deals are being taken forward working with the Welsh and UK Governments, with a wide range of projects designed to achieve inclusive and self-sustaining growth.
The future challenges for the economic development function are:
- To be a valued local government service, that delivers on the preventative agenda by sustaining communities and helping individuals realise their potential
- To achieve true co-production of regional plans and deliver them, working with partners in each of the regions and contributing to national economic goals
- To maximise the funding available for economic development and regeneration projects following the UK’s exit from the EU
- To play a leading role in the regional economic and skills agenda
- To ensure the type of development taking place is sustainable
For more information contact: Tim Peppin