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Damp Squib

This is an article for the South Wales Evening Post

As controversy continues to rage over the decision by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to break a clear manifesto promise and increase taxes for the many millions of self-employed and small business owners in the country, Swansea has been left to wonder whether the UK Government will ever give us a break.

There had been intense speculation in the lead up to the budget, that the Chancellor would use the opportunity to give the go-ahead to the £1.3 billion City deal and maybe even sign off on the Swansea Bay Tidal lagoon.  In the case of the City deal expectations of an announcement had been fuelled by the Chancellor himself.

Alas, there was effectively silence on both projects, over £2 billion worth of investment in Swansea left hanging for future decision and the hard work of those who have been putting together these schemes, still unrewarded.

The continuing uncertainty on both the lagoon and the City deal has plunged us into a state of limbo. Together they have the potential to create thousands of jobs and to put Swansea on the map.

However, despite a very favourable report from Charles Hendry on the viability of the lagoon we still do not know if the Government are prepared to pay the revised subsidy so as to make it viable. And of course we are still waiting for a satisfactory outcome on the marine licence.

As for the City deal, the worry has to be that the delay indicates some concerns at the heart of Government as to its deliverability.

Whatever happens, we need to know the Government’s view quickly so as to end this uncertainty.

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