Mersey Dee Alliance wants £ 220million cross-border recovery deal to help bounce back from pandemic

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The Mersey Dee Alliance wants a £ 220million cross-border recovery deal to help North East Wales and Cheshire recover from the pandemic.

The group is seeking the main tax incentive for improving public transport and active travel routes, with £ 55million to put empty city center properties back into service.

Members are also offering a £ 60million Business Challenge Fund (BCF) developed by the private sector to help businesses generate growth and productivity, while accelerating the transition to net zero carbon.

There would also be funding for improving digital connections and a low carbon program to help advance the hydrogen strategy.

The MDA – which covers Flintshire and Wrexham in North Wales and Cheshire West and Chester and Wirral in North West England – is expected to start negotiations with the Welsh and UK governments to fund the deal.

They say this will complement existing growth agreements in North Wales and North West England.

Councilor Mark Pritchard, chairman of the Mersey Dee Alliance, said: “The economy of the MDA has been hit hard by Covid-19. Our GVA has contracted by 15%, which is equivalent to £ 3.5bn of the economy’s £ 22bn pre-pandemic value.



Wrexham Council Chief Mark Pritchard

“Thousands of jobs have been lost in the aerospace, other manufacturing and retail sectors.

“The MDA Cross-Border Clawback Agreement is phase 1 of the proposed £ 400+ fiscal stimulus package that we released in March 2021.

“Investments are needed now to recover from the negative economic impacts of Covid-19 and lay the foundation for future and sustainable growth driven by the world’s first net zero industrial cluster in partnership with HyNet and businesses.

“The cross-border stimulus deal will address longer-term structural challenges caused by the complexity for businesses and public sector planners due to the administrative border that imposes two sets of policy frameworks on the region’s economy. The negative effects of this administrative complexity can be observed. over-reliance on the car, as in the past it was difficult to plan transport on a holistic, cross-border basis that aligns with economic needs. “

The MDA worked closely with neighboring economic partnerships (the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and the Liverpool City Region) to produce its proposals.

But they think Mersey Dee’s cross-border economy needs a local growth partnership of its own.

MDA Deputy Chairman Stuart Whittingham said: ‘MDA’s cross-border scavenging deal targets £ 220million to invest in low-carbon, location, transport and business support programs , digital and skills. We estimate that the investment will yield more than £ 500million in financial benefits.

“Our Downtown Investment Center program is essential to the agreement. The Mersey Dee region is characterized by numerous centers of small towns which have a higher vacancy rate than the UK average.

“Our proposals will create a fund to reallocate empty buildings and revitalize our inner cities as hubs of small business communities.

“Our city centers are essential to a sustainable and dynamic quality of life ‘supply’ that will retain residents and investors while attracting new ones. “

Councilor Ian Roberts, Head of Flintshire County Council, said: ‘The deal will build on Flintshire’s recent upgrade fund offer to upgrade the Wrexham to Bidston’ Borderlands’ railway line in presenting transport proposals.

These include:

  • Plan an integrated cross-border active travel network that will allow MDA to successfully bid on government funds in England and Wales for capital to build cycle paths and bridges.
  • Finance the purchase of card readers for cross-border bus travel.
  • Model transport planning on a cross-border basis.

The agreement aims to make alternatives to the car more competitive, by increasing access to employment, improving health and reducing carbon emissions.

MDA will work in partnership with the North Wales Economic Ambition Board to secure delivery of the proposed Deeside Hydrogen Hub, which will provide hydrogen fuel for vehicles providing utilities, such as dust trucks.

Councilor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “The MDA area needs action to reduce carbon emissions as an industrial economy, with five times the UK average carbon emissions per year. inhabitant.

“The MDA deal will help save the planet by reducing carbon emissions and preparing for net zero.”

They propose to:

  • Build on the HyNet Track 1 cluster by presenting a proposal for a hydrogen equipment test facility at Thornton Science Park in partnership with HyNet and the University of Chester.
  • Help companies enter supply chains for green power generation, including hydrogen, CCUS, offshore wind and nuclear, based on improving ‘green skills’ through our training proposals.

Ashley Rogers, Commercial Director of the North Wales and Mersey Dee Business Council, said: “A key part of the deal is the Business Challenge Fund (BCF) project being developed by the private sector in the MDA area.



Ashley Rogers, Commercial Director of the North Wales Mersey Dee Business Council

“The £ 60million fund is intended to help businesses large and small to generate growth and productivity, while accelerating the transition to net zero carbon for the economy.

“The Fund will provide grants to help commercialize new products and services resulting from research and development in key sectors, support for businesses to reduce the carbon footprint of their premises and provide ‘net zero’ loans to SMEs. so that they immediately invest in their businesses. .

“BCF could save over 120,000 tonnes of Co2 emissions, generate £ 30million in new private sector investment, improve over 400 business premises and save or create over 2,700 jobs.

“If we are serious about building back better and supporting our economy, so hard hit by the pandemic, then we need immediate and targeted support to do so.” Sustainable growth, productivity and Net Zero must be our mantra.

“The Business Challenge fund is a core proposition developed by companies and a critical part of the government’s request for MDA. to Net Zero.



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MP James Davies, Chairman of the Mersey Dee and North Wales All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), said: “I am delighted to support the MDA Cross-Border Restoration Agreement. In addition to safeguarding jobs and enabling sustainable growth in the future, it will strengthen the Union and is a crucial opportunity to ‘level’ the UK.

“The MDA has entered into negotiations with the UK and Welsh governments on how to fund and implement the deal. I will work with colleagues from the Mersey Dee North Wales APPG to help with negotiations and ensure that an agreement is reached. is concluded between the MDA and the governments. “

MP Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port), Deputy Chairman of the Mersey Dee and North Wales All Party Caucus (APPG), said: ‘I welcome the development of the cross-border recovery agreement by the Mersey Dee Alliance.

“This provides a great opportunity for governments to scale up and recognize the distinct needs of the unique and cross-border nature of MDA’s economy. The local economy and the UK will benefit from MDA’s support as a local growth partnership.

“The Mersey Dee and the North Wales APPG will continue to work together to assist the MDA in its negotiations with the UK and Welsh governments. “


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