Cities launch bid for ‘Great Western Powerhouse’

The cities of Bristol, Cardiff and Newport have launched a report calling for the development of a ‘Great Western Powerhouse’.

Great Western Cities (GWC), a collaboration between the three cities, launched the report and argues that the Severn region has the potential to become Britain’s next major economic powerhouse.

The report follows from Chancellor George Osborne’s plans to form a Northern Powerhouse, with GWC arguing that greater collaboration could strengthen the voice of the West in UK economic and public policy decisions.

The report examined the benefits of greater ‘sharing, matching and learning’ between the three city regions, and argues for greater transport links in the area, claiming that there is already higher levels of commuting between Cardiff or Newport and Bristol than between Manchester to Leeds or Liverpool, and that a reduction in journey times could result in savings of more than £1 billion over the next 60 years.

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol said: “The Great Western Cities offer a strong economic area with huge potential for further growth. This welcome report confirms what we suspected when we formed this extremely promising alliance with Cardiff and Newport – that we are stronger working together and between us there are many areas which are ripe for collaboration which can benefit all sides.”

Phil Bale, the leader of the City of Cardiff Council, said: “This report makes clear that the Great Western Cities represent a big opportunity for the British economy. Though our economic performance is strong, it could be stronger. Though we perform well compared to other UK powerhouse areas, we are lagging behind the top European performers. This report marks an important moment in making sure that this happens. We will now build on the great work currently underway in our respective city-regions to make sure that the Great Western Cities are better connected to each other, to other Powerhouse areas and to the world.”