Guest Article – Mersey Dee Alliance
The Mersey Dee Alliance, representing the interests of the unique, cross border, functional economy in Flintshire and Wrexham in North Wales and Cheshire West and Chester and Wirral in the Northwest of England today launched a transformational plan for a £400m Fiscal Stimulus Package for the Mersey Dee Economy. The proposal has been submitted to Ministers in the UK and Welsh Governments.
Councillor Mark Pritchard, Chair of the Mersey Dee Alliance said, “The MDA economy has been hit hard by Covid 19. Our GVA has contracted by 15%, equivalent to £3.5bn of the pre-pandemic, £22bn value of the economy. Thousands of jobs have been lost. Deeds not words are needed now to deliver an urgent fiscal stimulus to the MDA economy to save jobs and secure the future of our world class, manufacturing industry cluster.
Our proposals to the UK and Welsh Governments will create and safeguard 5000 jobs and generate £1.2bn of net economic value in a short space of time.”
The package aligns with UK Government priorities to strengthen the union, deliver “levelling up” and implement the 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution”.
We will meet the needs of future generations with inclusive and sustainable growth as required by the Welsh Government’s Future Generations Act.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said, “I am passionate about climate change and sustainable growth. The MDA Fiscal Stimulus Package will accelerate investment in switching from carbon-based fuels to renewables and greener fuels like hydrogen, with carbon capture and storage for initial phases of hydrogen production.
We are proposing a major investment in cycleways and public transport to reduce carbon and noxious emissions from cars. Our Active travel proposals will enable delivery of a strategic cycling corridor linking Birkenhead to Chester and Ellesmere Port, and from West Kirby through to Deeside in Flintshire, removing barriers and opening-up employment opportunities.
Councillor Stuart Whittingham, Wirral Council and Vice Chair of the MDA said, “Businesses and residents of the MDA area do not see a border between England and Wales. They just see enterprise, supply chain, employment and leisure opportunities in an area with an integrated economy and close cultural ties. That’s why there are 153,000 inter regional journeys both ways over a 24-hour period per day
Our economy will prosper more with a strong partnership between the UK and Welsh governments. The MDA Proposition is not only an opportunity to maximise sustainable and inclusive growth but also an opportunity to develop a positive partnership between the UK and Welsh Governments.
The Mersey Dee Alliance is a high performing partnership between Councils, businesses and universities. We are a model partnership that the UK and Welsh governments can build on.”
Ian Roberts, Leader of Flintshire County Council said “We have worked with neighbouring local growth partnerships to develop our proposals. The MDA will continue to work closely with the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, the Cheshire and Warrington LEP and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. We will avoid duplication and complement the programmes of our partners.
“Flintshire supports this package as the home of Airbus. We must do everything we can to support our excellent manufacturing firms who provide skilled work with good pay.”
Councillor Mark Pritchard concluded, “The MDA economy faces big challenges to recover from Covid-19 and to adjust to “net zero” operations. We have made transformational and innovative proposals to meet those challenges.
We want to get things done and we will work creatively and flexibly with both governments to deliver investment from multiple sources at pace. This will include seeking some investment via a future fiscal event with provision made for the MDA in the Comprehensive Spending Review to be announced in the autumn of 2021.