City Leaders and the Rugby World Cup visit Cardiff

Core Cities

On the one year anniversary of the Scottish independence referendum, it was with great pleasure that Cardiff welcomed the Leaders and Elected Mayors of the Core Cities.

Cardiff joined Core Cities last September, the same month the Scottish referendum captured the public’s imagination and triggered a debate about the future of the United Kingdom and the devolution of power away from Westminster.

Core Cities believes in the devolution of more powers to cities. It believes that by strengthening the ability of city-regions to drive economic development they can realise their full potential. I believe that too, and seeing Cardiff realise its full potential is what I want for our city.

This is why Cardiff’s role as a Core City is so important.

Core City Leaders visiting Cardiff

Core City Leaders next to Cardiff Castle’s Ball in the Wall

The best way to reboot our local economies – and rebalance the British economy away from London and the South East of England – is to invest in and give more power and responsibility to our cities.

And with public services under attack as austerity bites, I am convinced the only way of meeting this challenge is for central government to empower local authorities who are best placed to meet the challenges facing city-regions and their citizens.

Cardiff people should decide on Cardiff issues.

This is beginning to happen, with a series of city deals and devolution deals being struck between English cities and the UK Government, and the £1bn City Deal for Glasgow and the Clyde Valley in Scotland.

Crucially, here in Wales, while we are developing our own City Deal proposition we have a devolution advantage. Currently the powers English cities are calling on to be devolved do not come close to the powers we already have devolved to us in Wales, or those soon to come with the Wales Act.

Working with Welsh Government we can use the flexibilities of Welsh devolution – far greater than those available to almost all other British cities – to support game-changing projects like the Cardiff City Deal and the Cardiff Metro.

As leader of the City of Cardiff Council I am determined to grasp every opportunity to ensure our city is delivering for all of our citizens.

RWC Fanzone

Once again, Cardiff is home to one of the world’s major sporting events!

The Rugby World Cup is upon us, and Cardiff will host 8 matches in total, which started over the weekend with Ireland beating Canada and with Wales’s opening victory against Uruguay. This is the second successive Northern hemisphere tournament where games will be hosted in the Millennium Stadium, after Wales successfully hosted the tournament in 1999.

If you haven’t got tickets to attend a game you may want to go to one of the tournament’s largest official fanzone’s based in Cardiff. Cardiff Arms Park, the former home of Welsh rugby, has been transformed into a Rugby World Cup Official Fanzone for 11 dates during the tournament and will be open for the eight games being played in the Millennium Stadium, as well as two Wales away games.

There’s no doubt it’ll be a brilliant place to watch the games and experience the atmosphere that a major tournament brings – having already attracted over 65,000 people in the opening week of the Rugby World Cup.

It’s also free to enter! Holding 10,000 people it is the largest venue in the city showing the games on a giant screen so imagine the atmosphere! Alongside showing the matches, there is live entertainment, including street theatre, Fijian fire eating, a Haka Day Out and a number of rugby activities making it a fun day out for the whole family.

You can find all about opening dates and times on the Rugby World Cup website.

Visiting Xiamen

Following a delegation from Xiamen’s visit to Cardiff earlier this year, I was kindly invited to attend the China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) in Xiamen earlier this month. CIFIT is currently China’s only international investment promotion event aimed at facilitating investment in each country.

It provided an excellent opportunity to meet with investors, promote Cardiff and the city-region, and help build connections with businesses in one of the world’s biggest economies. It also helped further cement the twin city ties between Cardiff and Xiamen.

I’ll now be working closely with colleagues in the Council’s Economic Development team to build on the conversations held at this event and to try and attract investment into the city to create jobs and opportunities for local people.

Legal and General Invest in Central Square

Please watch the video below where I talk about the exciting news that Legal and General have agreed to provide a facility to fund the redevelopment of Central Square, in one of the largest property deals in Wales.

Top Marks for Cardiff Schools!

Access to good schools is a really important part of making Cardiff a liveable city. That’s why better education and skills for all is one of the City Council’s four priorities.

Education performance has been improving year on year since 2012 and this summer’s results were really pleasing. I visited both Llanishen High School and Willows High on GCSE results day, the air was filled with nervous energy, but it was great to meet some of the teachers who have helped pupils achieve so much this year.

The provisional GCSE results show that the percentage of pupils in Cardiff secondary schools achieving at least five A* to C grades, including mathematics and English or Welsh has risen to 60 percent, a five percent rise since last year.

A successful results day at Llanishen High!

A successful results day at Llanishen High!

 Likewise, A-Level performance is also improving with results well above the average for Wales. Of this year’s total entries in Cardiff, an impressive 31.1 percent were A* and A grades, up from 27.4 percent in 2014. This compares to a 23.1 percent average for Wales as a whole and 25.9 percent in England.

I’d like to personally thank all our school staff, governors and pupils for their hard work over the last year.

On the subject of our schools, you cannot fail to have miss the interest in Educating Cardiff on Channel 4.  The series focuses on life at Willows High School and reminds us all how dedicated our school staff are in supporting young people in our city. The turnaround in results at Willows over the last few years is a remarkable achievement and is well worth a watch.

After these latest results, it’s important to now build on this success, which has been the result of a lot of hard work with a number of different partners across our city.

We have worked with Welsh Government to make significant investment in new school buildings, continuing efforts to transform our secondary schools and meeting the needs of the rapidly growing primary age population. Over the coming years we will be investing £168m to modernise our schools, as well as delivering a new secondary school for the West of Cardiff.

I know, however, that education doesn’t begin and end at the school gate. We have therefore been working with universities, businesses, and third sector organisations – with expertise in arts and sport – to get education and skills training right for everyone in the city.

Find out how you can get involved and make the difference!

A campaign has recently been launched by the City Council to promote education in Cardiff and to let people know how they can get involved to make the difference.

‘Education is Everybody’s Business’ uses social media to highlight the key messages and a website has been created to provide more details in one easy to find location.

The campaign features four ways for people to get involved:

  • Become a School Governor
  • Share who inspired you
  • Develop your child outside the classroom
  • Share your inspiring moments

The City Council is using its Facebook page and Twitter account to promote the campaign using the hashtag #EduCardiff.

To find out more about how you can get involved, visit