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In December 2018 the UK and Welsh Governments announced that an independent review would be carried out into the Swansea Bay City Deal. The review has now concluded and today we are publishing the review report.

Both governments welcome the report which provides us, local partners and the private sector with the confidence to invest in the region and bring about economic growth . We are pleased that the report recognises the continuing commitment of all partners to the deal, as well as the positive impact a successful City Deal would have across the region. Both governments accept the review recommendations.

The report acknowledges the strengths of the City Deal, in particular as a key enabler to regional partnership working. It provides a solid foundation upon which our two governments and the regional partners can move forward with rapid delivery of the City Deal. We have already discussed the recommendations with the leaders of each local authority in the region and will continue to work closely with them over the coming weeks to consider how the recommendations can be implemented.

Our initial priority will be the urgent finalisation of the business cases for the Swansea Waterfront Digital District and the project at Yr Egin in Carmarthen. As soon as the final business cases are brought forward, both governments commit to expediting the appraisal process to enable these projects to move into the delivery phase as quickly as possible.

It will ultimately be for the leaders of the four local authorities to decide how they wish to strengthen the region’s Programme Management Office and to consider the roles of their committees. However, the report makes a compelling case for these changes - both governments recognise the potential to drive forward the City Deal through the establishment of a strong portfolio management structure. We will support the region to introduce changes needed to ensure this deal is a success and delivers upon the commitments made in signing the Heads of Terms. Importantly, we want to see the region bringing forward a robust plan and timetable for delivery of the next tranche of projects.

The private sector is a key partner in this City Deal and the Economic Strategy Board has an important role to play in helping it to succeed. The review report rightly recognises the contribution the board makes and its ability to help identify opportunities which the deal can capitalise on. We want to see this board take a more active role in the oversight of the deal, ensuring the best possible projects are supported.

Our commitment to the Swansea Bay City Deal is strong and both governments are determined to see it deliver for the communities of south-west Wales. Working with our regional partners, this review report will help us to achieve this ambition.