Last week the City of Cardiff’s Marketing Suite in Cardiff Bay officially opened.
I was joined at the launch event by the Welsh Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart, Matthew Leach, from Aviva Investors and via video by the Chair of the Cardiff Business Council. The event marked the culmination of lots of hard work by Cardiff Business Council, the City of Cardiff Council, Welsh Government and Aviva Investors, who are jointly providing the space.
The Marketing Suite will be used by businesses and organisations promoting the Cardiff Capital Region to potential investors or businesses looking to locate in Cardiff and the Capital Cardiff Region. The suite is also home to an impressive interactive scale model of the City of Cardiff which has been used in exhibitions in the UK and abroad.
The timing of the opening of this facility really couldn’t be better, with Cardiff bouncing back strongly from the recession. The city today employs more people than it has ever done, and over the last year 8,000 jobs have been added to the city economy whilst business start-up rates have increased by 40%. What’s more, unemployment is at its lowest level for 6 years, and is amongst the lowest of all the core cities.
This facility will help in our efforts to attract and create more – and crucially, better paid – jobs for the people of Cardiff.
But this is not just about promoting Cardiff. We need to make sure that the benefits of the jobs created in Cardiff are felt across the towns and communities of South Wales, making this a resource for the whole Cardiff Capital Region.
Cardiff Capital Region – “Powering the Welsh Economy”
Also held at the new Marketing Suite last week was the launch of a report by the Cardiff Capital Region Advisory Board detailing how local authorities, Welsh Government and local businesses might work more collaboratively to develop and promote the Cardiff Capital Region as a great place to live, work and to do business.
The Cardiff Capital Region includes the ten local authority areas of: Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Newport, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend which collectively has a population of 1.5 million.
The report recognises that cities are where businesses want to locate, new jobs are being created, and where more and more people want to live. For example, in the UK, cities take up just 9% of the land mass but account for 58% of jobs and 72% of high-skilled workers. The same dynamics are at play here in South East Wales. Over the last 10 years the capital city has accounted for nearly 2/3rds of all new jobs created in the city-region.
The report entitled “Powering the Welsh Economy”, identifies four key themes:
- Innovation and Growth
With over 100,000 people moving in and out of Cardiff each day for work, to shop or to visit friends and family, it’s essential that we plan for faster and more accessible transport links, enhance connectivity for people and businesses, build quality housing and create meaningful employment opportunities for people across the ten local authority boundaries.
With the development of the Cardiff Capital City Region, membership of the UK Core Cities network, and with the recent launch of our Great Western Cities initiative with Newport and Bristol – which was specifically named and welcomed by the Chair of the Advisory Board – I’m confident we are putting in place the partnerships which can deliver long term economic growth for Cardiff and across the wider region.