Dr James Davies MP this week questioned key figures within the North Wales Mersey Dee Rail Task Force in relation to proposals to enable economic growth in North Wales.
The Welsh Affairs Select Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into the Wales and Borders Rail Franchise and Dr Davies successfully made the case to colleagues on the committee that the taskforce should be invited to give oral evidence.
Two Prestatyn residents – Ashley Rogers – Chair of North Wales Business Council, and Iwan Prys Jones – Programme Manager of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, joined the leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council in responding to questions relating to their Growth Track 360 plan.
Growth Track 360 has been launched to secure £1bn of rail improvements, which would transform the North Wales and Cheshire regional economy and deliver 70,000 new jobs over 20 years.
Being led by a cross-border alliance of business, political and public sector leaders, if successful, it would lead to a massive boost to the North Wales, Cheshire and Wirral economies, linking them with the planned HS2 line between London and the North of England.
Dr Davies followed up the issue further this week at Welsh Oral Parliamentary Questions:
Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd)
The Minister will be aware of a range of infrastructure improvement proposals in the north Wales and Mersey Dee taskforce’s Growth Track 360 plan. Could he advise on the merits of seeking funding via a north Wales growth bid supported by cross-border partners to accelerate the delivery of those elements of the plan that are priorities in the short term, and would he help facilitate that?
I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for the work he has done on this important issue. I think he drew attention to it at one of the first meetings immediately after the general election, and that started the discussions that have led to the Growth Track 360 proposal. There are growth elements and transport infrastructure elements, and it is important that we ensure that those come together for the benefit of the whole region. I am happy to work with him and with the Department for Transport as we approach the control period 6 considerations that will take place in due course.
Dr Davies commented, “I see this agenda as being critical for our area in allowing better access to jobs and also to assist local companies to thrive. I will continue to work to see our rail and road infrastructure upgraded.”