Regional plan to unlock £138m funding pot
Aimed at securing funding worth nearly £138m to South West Wales over the next three years, a new regional investment plan is being produced.
The plan now being put together by the region's four local authorities will unlock money already earmarked for Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea as part of the UK Government's Shared Prosperity Fund.
In line with UK Government guidance, the plan is being developed through local strategic partnerships made up of public, private and voluntary sector organisations in each county.
To help further shape the plan, all four local authorities will be seeking feedback from local people and local businesses to find out which key themes are most important to their areas.
Based on the feedback, a final plan will then be submitted to the UK Government by August 1 for approval in the autumn.
Local authorities have not yet received any Shared Prosperity Fund money. Detailed guidance from the UK Government on how the funding will be distributed to projects is also yet to be confirmed, although the preference is for a competitive process.
Once the funding has been secured, each regional local authority will let its businesses and other organisations know how they can bid for funding.
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Investment and Tourism, said: "This funding from the UK Government has already been set aside for each local authority area, although a regional investment plan is needed to unlock it.
"The plan is now being prepared, although it will soon be further informed by the key themes identified by local people as priorities in their respective local authority areas throughout South West Wales.
"Businesses and residents across the region will be kept updated on consultation opportunities. We'll also let people know once the regional plan has been approved and businesses and other organisations can start bidding for funds."
Cllr Gareth John, Carmarthenshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said:
Carmarthenshire looks forward to this exciting funding opportunity and to work locally with our communities and our businesses in order to grow the economy. Maximising sustainable growth and jobs for our county is one of our key priorities."
Cllr Martyn Peters, Neath Port Talbot Council's Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: "We have been working closely with our regional and local partners to ensure the funds that have been allocated to Neath Port Talbot make an impact for local people and businesses. We are strengthening our local partnership arrangements further so we can get the programme up and running as soon as the funds are unlocked."
The Shared Prosperity Fund is part of the UK Government's levelling-up agenda.