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End of tolls could signal beginning of a 'Western Powerhouse'


A 'Western Powerhouse' established between Newport, Cardiff and Bristol could boost job and economic prospects in the region.

Around 350 economic experts, businessmen and politicians met at a Severn Growth Summit in Newport to discuss developing cross-border business links.  Welsh Secretary of State Alun Cairns, hoped the meeting would serve as a “catalyst” for new partnerships to be forged ahead of the abolition of the Severn Crossings by the end of the year and the minister believes the opportunity to build a region with an economic output rivalling that of the Northern Powerhouse was one that needed to be seized.

“One of the key drivers behind the Northern Powerhouse was the volume of people commuting between Liverpool and Manchester,” he told the summit.  “There are more people commuting between Bristol and either Cardiff or Newport. Traffic journeys on the M4 between England Wales amounts to a fifth of all road journeys between the two nations.  This shows that this region has the huge potential to rival the Northern Powerhouse or Midlands Engine.”

Mr Cairns had previously said the tolls had acted as an “economic barrier” to Welsh economic prosperity for 50 years.