Western Gateway will “form new powerhouse” in UK economy

Photo shows: L-R: Secretary Alun Cairns (Wales), Katherine Bennett (Airbus) and Secretary Robert Jenrick (MHCLG)
Western Gateway launch

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns and Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick have launched a new initiative to support towns and cities up and down the Severn

Called the Western Gateway it will aim to mirror the successful, established work of the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine and will seek to ensure that the region is globally competitive.

At the ICC in Newport, Alun Cairns and Robert Jenrick told an audience from the business, education, cultural and digital sectors that the Western Gateway has the potential to transform the economic prospects of the region, making it easier to do business, to increase inward investment and tourism and create jobs.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick is providing £400,000 from existing budgets for start-up funding to kick-start the partnership.

Katherine Bennett, Senior Vice President of Airbus, will be announced as the first acting chair of the Western Gateway, who will lead and shape the governance, management and initial priorities for the partnership.Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “The Western Gateway will provide an arena for the joint strengths of two neighbouring areas with distinct identities and traditions to be harnessed.“South Wales and the west of England already form a natural economic region with excellent transport networks in road and rail and well-established links in business, industry and education.”The region can be a true powerhouse of the UK economy if we take this opportunity to galvanise its many strengths to generate ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship in order to stimulate jobs and growth.”It also highlights how our United Kingdom is strengthened by maximising and harnessing in partnership the skills and talents of our nations and regions.”

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP added: “The Western Gateway will draw on the diverse talents of both sides of the Severn to deliver an economic powerhouse that will drive growth throughout the region.

“Already a major centre for cyber and tech, research, manufacturing and the creative industries – there’s clearly huge potential for them to achieve even greater things together.”

Katherine Bennett CBE, Western Gateway Chair, said: “With a vibrant population of more than four million people, world-class universities, strong transport links, and shared strengths across key sectors – from green energy and engineering, to the arts and digital media – I’m convinced that the west of Britain is a powerhouse waiting to happen.

“By working together, across government, academia, and industry, with businesses at the core, we are determined to make this vision a reality.”