Last week my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer visited Cardiff and announced his desire to deliver a city deal by Budget 2016. We are now working with the Cardiff capital region to deliver on ambitious proposals that will increase economic growth, not only in the city but across the entire south Wales region.
Last week the Chancellor brought a welcome sense of urgency to the Cardiff city deal process, with the deadline of March and a down payment of £50 million for a compound semiconductor catapult centre. Does the Secretary of State agree that with a semiconductor catapult at the heart of the city deal process, we stand a real chance of securing a long-term transformation of the south Wales economy?
My hon. Friend is right, and I put on record my thanks for his work in championing the city deal for Cardiff. The Chancellor’s announcement last week was a massive statement of this Government’s confidence in Welsh business and our ambition for Wales. The £50 million is a down payment on the Cardiff city deal, and it is now time for local partners, Welsh businesses and the Welsh Government to crack on and conclude this transformational project.
We do not want just warm words from the Chancellor about the Cardiff city deal; we want to know whether the UK Government will match the £580 million that has been pledged by the Welsh Government for the Cardiff city deal. Can the Minister answer that?
I am not sure whether the hon. Lady noticed, but during our visit to Cardiff last Thursday we were not just using warm words; we were investing £50 million of UK Government money in a new high-tech centre of innovation at Cardiff University. The Chancellor made it clear in his speech in Cardiff last Thursday that we will support in principle the infrastructure fund that will be at the heart of the Cardiff city deal project.