This week began with some really exciting news, with the announcement that fast-growing US cyber-security firm Alert Logic has chosen to establish their Headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Asia in Cardiff, bringing over 100 well-paid, highly skilled jobs to the city.
For me, this is not just about attracting significant new investment from the United States. It’s a clear demonstration that our city’s economic strategy is working and that the Central Enterprise Zone, centred around Callaghan Square, is beginning to deliver tangible benefits for residents and businesses across the city-region.
Talking to Executives from the company earlier this week, they were very impressed with the all-round package of support that the City of Cardiff and its partners have been able to provide. This really is testament to the great work being done by staff within the Council’s Economic Development team, the Cardiff Business Council and the Welsh Government.
I am convinced that Alert Logic will be the first of many such innovative and successful companies attracted to what Cardiff has to offer.
Over recent times, Cardiff has become renowned internationally for hosting great sporting events, with several more in the pipe-line. We already know that we will be hosting key games during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, including 2 quarter finals, as well as the round-the-world yacht race and the IAAF half marathon. This is in addition to the events coming up this year such as the Heineken Cup final in May and the UEFA Super Cup Final in August.
I’m therefore confident that Cardiff’s bid to be chosen as one of the 13 host cities for the EURO 2020 European Football Championships will be successful. I’m equally confident Wales will qualify and that Bale will be the tournament’s top scorer! That’s Gareth Bale, not me.
On a more serious note, events like these are important for Cardiff. Bringing the world’s most prestigious and most watched sporting events to Wales will also bring visitors to the city, enhance our international profile and will make Cardiff an even better place to live.
Taken together, Alert Logic and the Euro 2020 bid are two great examples of what we are doing with partners to make Cardiff Europe’s most liveable capital city.
Finally, this week saw the publication of a report which sets out how the City of Cardiff Council will need to change to meet the challenges it faces. Over the next 3 years, in the region of £90m savings must be found, on top of the £50m savings that will need to be delivered this year. And this is at a time when demand for our services is rising.
I believe that we have to respond positively to these challenges. The time for simply salami-slicing budgets is over. This is important if we are to have a clear understanding of the needs of those who are using our services and what they are likely to need in future. We need to reflect on how we deliver services in the city, and lead a change in our approach based on the principle of co-operation and the involvement of communities in shaping the services they receive.
That is why I will soon be launching the Cardiff Debate, a series of events which will enable you to have your say on the future of local public services in the city. This is a really important issue, and so I’d encourage everybody to get involved in the community events that will be taking place over the months ahead.