Welsh Affairs

Part of International Women’S Day – in the House of Commons at 4:34 pm on 2nd March 2017.

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Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Opposition Whip (Commons) 4:34 pm, 2nd March 2017

This St David’s day debate takes place against the backdrop of Brexit and all the uncertainty that that brings, but, like other hon. Members, I want to talk about some of the positive developments that we have seen in the corner of Wales that I represent with my hon. Friend Paul Flynn in the year since our last debate. On 14 March, it will be 15 years since Newport achieved city status, and it is no exaggeration to say that there is new life in our city centre thanks to the Friars Walk development, which had 8 million people walk through it in 2016. It has brought 1,500 new jobs and attracted £120 million into the city centre. All credit to Newport Council and its leaders, Bob Bright and Debbie Wilcox, for making that happen.

Coleg Gwent is seeking to relocate to a site next to the University of South Wales to create a knowledge quarter on the banks of the River Usk, and work will begin this month on the international convention centre. Last year, the University of South Wales launched the National Cyber Security Academy, which has been part-funded by the Welsh Government and supported by Airbus and General Dynamics. I am really proud that the cyber-experts of the future are being produced in Newport, in the second-largest cyber-security department after Royal Holloway college. These are positive developments, with Newport Council working with Labour in the Welsh Government and with industry to bring benefits to our constituents.

Other hon. Members have mentioned the Cardiff capital region city deal. The leaders from Newport and Monmouthshire were among the 10 leaders who signed that deal yesterday. The key element in this is the metro. We have had debates in which we have asked the UK Government to guarantee the funding for that, post-Brexit. It is an ambitious project with huge potential for improving connectivity.