One of our priorities as a Council is to do more to grow our city and regional economy, to deliver jobs and opportunities. Cardiff and the Vale’s economy accounts for 21% of the total economic output of Wales, meaning that a successful capital city is vital in attracting investment into Wales and creating more job opportunities for our residents.
To do this, we need to be working with the private sector to raise the profile of our city. This is why a delegation from Cardiff attended the 26th MIPIM held in Cannes recently. MIPIM is the world’s leading property market conference, bringing together influential players from all international property sectors – office, residential, retail, healthcare, sport, logistics and industrial. Through attending this event the Cardiff delegation were able to showcase some of our capital city’s major developments to potential investors from around the world.
The star of the show from the Cardiff delegation was undoubtedly the 350 square foot city model which was unveiled for the first time at this major international event.
The model, which is normally based in the new Marketing Suite in Cardiff Bay, highlights the key regeneration projects within our city, including developments to the north and south of Cardiff Central railway station.
In addition to major property development, one of the most talked-about innovations at this year’s MIPIM was the decision to focus attention on the Digital Revolution. This was great to hear, as Cardiff is making great progress in becoming a ‘Smart City,’ with the highest broadband penetration for residents of all UK Core Cities. Recently launched initiatives like free access to WIFI in public buildings, on the city-centre streets and on buses in Cardiff are also important developments and add to the city’s offer.
Another set of discussions were focused on urban alliances. In an increasingly competitive market, neighbouring cities around the world are working together in partnership to develop joined-up development strategies in transport and infrastructure. We have seen this happen in the UK already with cities including Liverpool and Manchester marketing themselves with their neighbours. Here in South Wales, we are working with our city region partners as well as Newport and Bristol as part of the recently launched ‘Great Western Cities’ initiative. More widely, through the Core Cities group of 11 of the largest UK cities outside London, we are lobbying Government on the issues that can help us deliver local priorities.
Last week I travelled to Barcelona to meet with the Chairman and CEO of the Celsa Group, Francesc Rubiralta, and the Managing Director, Javier Echávarri. The purpose of my visit was to understand how we could better support what is a major employer within the city.
The Celsa Group have a company in the UK (Celsa Steel UK), based here in Cardiff, that employs over 500 staff and several hundred subcontractors from the Cardiff region.
From its Cardiff base, around 1.2 million tonnes of finished product is produced and delivered to UK and Irish markets. Celsa has in recent years invested in new technology and Cardiff boasts a “state of the art” steel making plant with one of the EU’s most efficient Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF).
One of the current issues impacting the sustainability of Celsa (and indeed the steel sector as a whole in the UK) is the levels of non-EU imports that do not meet the British Standard (BES6001). Steel that meets this standard is not just better quality, but also produced and sourced more sustainably.
The City of Cardiff Council is looking to support the Welsh and UK Steel industry by including the need to meet the relevant British Standard in future procurement tendering, where steel is a major component of the project. That is why we recently wrote to every local authority in Wales calling on them to support the Welsh and UK steel industry by signing up to UK Steel’s Charter for British Sustainable Steel and supporting the BES 6001 standards.