Supporting the White Ribbon Campaign and Empowering Cities

White Ribbon Campaign

Having recently been awarded White Ribbon status, the City of Cardiff Council has joined amongst other organisations in Cardiff campaigning against domestic abuse.

The White Ribbon campaign is the world’s largest male led movement to end men’s violence against women which sees supporters wearing white ribbons. The international day takes place annually on the 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) with 16 days of activism and ends on 10 December (Human Rights Day). Every year in the UK more than one million women suffer domestic abuse and more than 360,000 are sexually assaulted.  Although abuse against women is disproportionately higher, anyone can be affected by violence and abuse.

This year, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women also invites you to “Orange YOUR Neighbourhood” as part of the campaign to end gender based violence.

Supporting the White Ribbon Campaign, with Cllr Daniel De'ath

Supporting the White Ribbon Campaign, with Cllr Daniel De’ath

If you would like to organise your own white ribbon event, please contact Nicola Jones on If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, help and support is available from the 24hr Wales Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Helpline 0800 80 10 10.

Empowering our Core Cities

I’ve blogged previously about the importance of cities to both the Welsh and UK economy. The economic output of the Cardiff City Region accounts for around half the Welsh economy, and represents an annual contribution of some £26.5 billion to the UK. This clearly underlines the importance of successful city regions.

That’s why Cardiff’s involvement in Core Cities UK is so important, as it allows us to make a powerful case for cities and their wider regions to have the funding and flexibilities they need to get on with creating jobs and using their local knowledge to boost growth.

At a recent Core Cities Cabinet meeting- which includes the leaders and mayors of the 10 major UK cities outside London- I met with William Hague MP, chair of a new Cabinet Committee for Devolved Powers. The Committee was set up after the Scottish referendum to look at devolved powers for England, Wales and Northern Ireland alongside Scotland. As Core Cities UK, we are calling for the devolution of powers and responsibilities to the UK’s cities to be delivered in the same time frame as the transfer of further powers to Scotland. The meeting was also an opportunity to highlight the significant contribution that Cardiff is making through a number of key sectors, including the creative industries and financial and business services sectors to the UK economy.

Core Cities Cabinet with William hague

Core Cities Cabinet with William Hague

Earlier in the day we also met with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who has backed calls for greater powers to cities across the UK. This is important because the 10 UK core cities and London together account for around half the UK economy.

On their own, the ten Core Cities and their regions are responsible for 28% of the English, Welsh and Scottish economies, and they are also home to 19 million people. That said, we underperform compared to international cities. This is largely because only around 5% of the total tax base is retained locally by cities, which is damaging their economic potential. The areas that generate growth need to retain some of the money they generate to invest in creating more local jobs, improving the local environment and investing in key infrastructure for a region.

Core Cities Cabinet with the Mayor of London

Core Cities Cabinet with the Mayor of London

It is also important that cities such as Cardiff and Glasgow in the UK’s devolved nations, have access to decision making in the UK Government on policy issues- such as work Visas- that are not devolved but still impact on the competitiveness of local areas.

Have your Say- The Cardiff Debate

The public consultation period on the Council’s budget proposals for 2015/16 is now open. They are planned to run from the 21st of November for 7 weeks and will close at midday on the 12th January 2015.

The Cabinet is committed to understanding your views and I would encourage you to get involved and have your say. The dates and venues of the community engagement events are listed below.

Where​ ​When​
Llanrumney Hub​ ​Friday 28th November at 4-7pm
Whitchurch Community Centre​ ​Tuesday 2nd December at 4-7pm
Plasnewydd Community Hall​ ​Thursday 4th December at 4-7pm
Old Library, City Centre ​ ​Saturday 6th December at 1-4pm
​Thornhill Community Centre ​Wednesday 10th December 4-7pm
​ Western Leisure Centre ​Thursday 11th December at 4-7pm





Consultation and Budget Proposals

At the meeting on Thursday 20th of November, the Cabinet agreed to consult on the budget proposals for 2015/16.

For the foreseeable future, Councils will have less money. This comes at a time when the slow recovery from the recession combined with a number of other pressures, such as an ageing population, means that services are in high demand.

The level of the budget shortfall for Cardiff is an estimated £124 million over the next 3 years. It means that a number of difficult choices will need to be made about what we do and how we provide services in the future.


The stark reality is that the Council can no longer do all the things it has done in the past. Equally our response cannot be to “salami-slice” our budget- that is, constantly cutting small amounts from the budgets of all departments every year. We need to become a smaller, smarter organisation that develops new approaches to how services are delivered. However, how we do this is important.

Earlier this year, we made a commitment to being a ‘Co-operative Council’ which means engaging with our citizens, communities, staff and partner organisations to help shape the future design and delivery of services. We will do this by involving local people and communities in these tough decisions.

This should allow us to design services that are based on need, are efficient, offer value for money and are sustainable. Whatever the choices we are faced with, all our budget proposals have been developed in line with our values, which are:

Open Fair Together

For our budget proposals this means that:

• We will be open in communicating and explaining all our budget proposals
• The proposals will be based on fairness by ensuring that the most vulnerable are least affected
• The proposals have considered how we can best work together in partnerships- with people and organisations- to deliver services more effectively and efficiently.

The public consultation period on the budget proposals for 2015/16 is planned to run from the 21st of November for 7 weeks, closing at midday on the 12th January 2015.

During this time, you will be able to have your say on any of the suggested budget saving proposals. You can do this in the following ways:

• Complete the online questionnaire which will be available on the City of Cardiff Council website from the 21st November –

• Complete a paper copy of the questionnaire. These will be available at local Hubs, Libraries and Leisure Centres.

• Contribute to the online debate on social media using the hashtag #cdfbudget

• Attend any of the planned community engagement events, details of which can be found here.

Any further questions or information can be sent to

This is an important time for the Council, and I would encourage you all to get involved in the consultation process. The final budget will be set at the meeting of Full Council in February 2015, following consultation with the public, other political parties in the Council and an intensive Scrutiny process.

Wales’ National Field of Remembrance

Wales’ National Field of Remembrance

With Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Margaret Jones paying respect to Service People who lost their lives in conflict.

With Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Margaret Jones paying respect to Service People who lost their lives in conflict.

Last Wednesday Wales’ National Field of Remembrance opened to the public at Cardiff Castle. The field filled with over 10,000 poppies pays tribute to our brave Service men and women who have served in our Armed Services since the First World War.

Although a sombre occasion, it was also a moment of optimism for many friends and family of Service People who lost their lives, who were able to pay their respects and look positively towards the future.

Citizens have their own opportunity to dedicate a personal Remembrance Tribute in memory of a loved one who lost their life serving in the Armed Forces.

The Field of Remembrance will remain open daily until Saturday 15th November.

Central Square Development – New Images Revealed

Central Square 1

New artist impressions have been released from the developers of the  Central Square Scheme, depicting a new business district to rival that of any in Britain, and a new gateway to Wales.

The area will reach from Central Station to the Millennium Stadium and could include a 27 storey, 92 metre high building – the tallest building ever constructed in Wales. In addition to this, there are plans to construct a million square foot space for offices, retail and residential use which I’m sure will provide a huge boost for the economy of the Cardiff Capital Region.

Central Square 3

Central Square 2

The Depot – Street Food

Street Food

I also recently visited the popular street food pop-up market on Dumballs Road, near the site of the new Cardiff and Vale College Campus. The food market is being held in a large warehouse, and this indoor space has been transformed into a modern and vibrant festival of world street food, sold by a variety vendors.

On offer are homemade contemporary snacks including; wood-fired pizzas, gourmet hot-dogs, tapas as well as a selection of unique beverages. There’s even a stand designated solely to crème-brulees. I tried to sample as much as I could, and there are certainly more than enough stalls to satisfy any appetite.

I think it’s a fantastic example of “meanwhile use”, where people and communities can make exciting things happen in spaces around Cardiff. Stores are regularly rotated and menus are available by visiting Street Food Cardiff’s website. The market will be open every Friday and Saturday (6pm to 11pm) until 31st December.

My Blog gets 10,000 hits

I initially started my Blog as a method of sharing information and engaging citizens in an alternative way. Since my first post in April this year, I’ve now reached over 10,000 hits.

For me this conveys the interest in the work of the City of Cardiff Council and its staff and the great things that are happening in our city.



President of Ireland’s Official Visit to Cardiff

President of Ireland’s Official Visit to Cardiff

Irish President

Last week, Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins, made his first official visit to Cardiff. The visit attracted plenty of media attention in Ireland and I was honoured to welcome the President at a reception at the Mansion House.

As part of the visit we had an opportunity to meet with our Irish colleagues and discuss some of our shared challenges and aspirations. It is remarkable how connected our two countries have been over the years, and they told me that in 1861, one third of Cardiff’s population were Irish.  Cardiff has always been a city connected with the outside world, drawing on the talents and contributions of people who have chosen to make Cardiff their home.

We also discussed the great enjoyment our nations derive from sports.  Legendary boxer Jim Driscoll, known as ‘Peerless Jim’, was a Cardiff born son of two Irish Catholics. He grew up in an area of the city know then as Newtown, or ‘Little Ireland’, and you may have seen the statue of him in our city centre.

Today, it is perhaps during rugby internationals that the Irish are most visible in Cardiff. I am pleased that the city offers such a warm welcome and a lively destination for visitors, but this is also important for the city’s economic performance.  Work undertaken by Cardiff University suggests that, of all the major events the city hosts, the biggest economic impact is when the Irish provinces visit Cardiff for European Rugby Cup Finals.

It was a real privilege for Cardiff to host the President and I look forward to building on the strong links between our two countries.


As part of the City of Cardiff Council’s approach to supporting and empowering communities, Cardiff is working with Space-Hive to develop a crowd funding platform for the city.

Crowdfunding is a way of raising finance for a project, initiative or idea by asking a large number of people to each contribute a small amount of money. Those seeking to raise funds will summarise their project on a web-site to explain what they want to achieve and encourage people to donate funding. This is often referred to as a “crowdfunding platform”, and will be promoted through social media and more conventional means.

Spacehive were the world’s first civic project funding platform and have developed a reputation for making crowdfunding an easy and accessible process for communities.  Projects that have received crowd funding have sought as little as a few hundred pounds whilst others have generated millions. In the UK more than £3,500 is being raised every hour through crowd funding and since the beginning of 2014; more than 6,561 projects have been launched.

Over the next few weeks we will be promoting this opportunity with communities across Cardiff and inviting people to come forward with project ideas. Cardiff’s Crowdfunding initiative will be launched early in the New Year but please get in touch with us about any ideas you may have that could be crowd funded!

The Cardiff Convention

Last week the City hosted the Cardiff Convention.  This event brought together some of the leading thinkers in city development to Cardiff, and gave us an opportunity to learn from the best. The event was chaired by Tim Williams, director of think tank The Committee for Sydney, who recognised the contribution that Cardiff makes to Wales and the opportunities that a thriving capital can bring to both city residents and the wider region.

It is crucial that as a city we reach out to those at the forefront of city policy, and to work with partners to help us deliver our vision of becoming Europe’s most liveable capital City.

Cardiff is well positioned to deliver this. We are one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, and have established a reputation on the world stage as a great place to visit and an event better place to live. This has been achieved on the back of sustained investment in the city’s cultural and leisure infrastructure, and on the knowledge and hard work of the people of Cardiff.  We also know however that we can’t stand still.

All the evidence shows that cities represent the UK’s great economic opportunity. As one of the UK’s Core Cities, I am determined that Cardiff is at the forefront of this agenda, and it is therefore essential that those who understand the most about our city are at the heart of what we do.

The Cardiff Convention was an opportunity for us to build new partnerships, and to think more creatively about how we deliver our vision. There is much to be proud of about our city, but we are now writing the next chapter of success.

The Two Cities Debate

Two Cities Debate

I recently participated in a “Two Cities Debate” with the Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson. It was the first time that the Leader of Cardiff and the Mayor of Bristol have engaged in such a public setting.

Chaired by Douglas Friedli, Editor of Wales Business Insider, we discussed many of the key issues facing our regions, most notably our position as one of 6 ‘power-house super city regions’ upon which the British economy will rely.

I have previously discussed the strategic collaboration opportunities between Cardiff and Bristol with George, and the case is compelling. The total economic output of the Cardiff-Bristol City-Region is just over £66bn, almost £20bn higher than the total output for Wales, and substantially larger than any other major conurbation in the UK except London.

The West, as a region, is more economically productive than Greater Manchester, Merseyside and any of the northern regions and, with 2.5million people, we are bigger than all but one of the other city-regions in the UK (excluding London).

Our partnership must focus on the key strategic priorities- connectivity and energy- so that we deliver the big infrastructure projects that will drive forward economic growth for our regions. The recent announcement on HS3 in the North of England highlights the importance of having clear investment priorities for our region. Bringing the rail travel time between Cardiff and Bristol down by 20 minutes would be transformational for the success of the two cities- and the success of the UK economy. We can’t afford to be left behind in the high-speed rail debate, and Cardiff-Bristol being HS6 is simply not an option.

That’s why it is important that we are very much influencing the debate so that large scale investment from the UK Government is secured for South East Wales. As a city, we must be pushing for the right powers and investment for our city so that we can deliver on behalf of Wales and the wider UK economy.

31 October 20141st UN World Cities Day

31 October 2014 also marked the UN’s inaugural World Cities Day. World Cities Day encourages people and organisations to raise awareness of the challenges affecting cities and consider the opportunities they face. This is timely, particularly in view of the policy agenda being taken forward across the UK.

Over half the world’s population now live in cities. They are centres of energy and innovation that bring forward solutions to some of the prevailing issues that we face.  They are also recognised drivers of economic growth and prosperity, and as we discussed at the Cardiff Convention it is crucial that we work in partnership with Welsh Government and other UK core cities to ensure Cardiff has the funding and flexibilities to deliver on behalf of Wales.

To celebrate World Cities Day, Guardian Cities and UN-Habitat also announced the World Cities Day Challenge, where people from cities around the world were invited to share their city’s most pioneering idea for other cities to adopt.

World Cities Day 2014 also marked the conclusion of the UN’s Urban October. Urban October promoted participation, sharing knowledge and international engagement in a New Urban Agenda.