Merseyside, Deeside and North Wales

The following article was originally published in the North Wales Weekly News newspaper on 27 January 2016.
It is now some 16 years since the Welsh Assembly was established, as part of the Blair government’s programme of constitutional reform.
The theory was that devolution would bring government closer to the people.  In some respects it has; though for us North Walians, Cardiff can frequently seem more distant than London – which, in terms of travel time, it is.
The rigidity of devolution can sometimes be a problem. For example, economic development in Wales  is  the responsibility of the Welsh Government, whereas, in England, it is that of Westminster.  If not handled carefully, this divergence has the potential to lead to unfortunate consequences.
Take the case of Deeside, which is home to some of the most dynamic industries in the whole of Britain.
Deeside is important to us  in our part of North Wales. It is a major source of employment for the whole region.  Many hundreds, if not thousands, of local people commute there every day, to work in world-renowned enterprises  such as Airbus, Toyota and Vauxhall.
The whole of North Wales benefits from Deeside’s prosperity. It is a ripple effect that travels along the coast, all the way to Holyhead. If Deeside is doing well, then the entire region does well, too.
Deeside literally straddles the border between England and Wales.  It is therefore important that economic policies on either side of that border should be attuned, so as to avoid damaging the entire area’s potential.
For this reason, a new cross-party “Mersey-Dee” group of Members of Parliament has been formed, comprising MPs from North Wales and the north-west of England. The group will work closely with both the Westminster and Cardiff governments to try to ensure that their policies do not conflict and, if possible, align, so as to ensure  that the region’s growth is not hampered.
I am pleased to be Vice Chairman of the group and am optimistic that its work  work will help secure  increasing economic prosperity for the whole of  North Wales.

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