Levelling up: New Cardiff Bay to Cardiff Central tram among projects awarded UK Government funds

Cardiff Council says there will be a "regular tram service" from Cardiff Central to a new platform at Cardiff Bay train station Credit: ITV Wales

A new trainline in Cardiff city centre, an engineering campus in Blaenau Gwent and a cycle path in the Conwy Valley are among a number of projects set to receive grants from the UK Government's 'levelling up' fund.

A total of 11 projects in Wales are set to receive money from the fund, which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says will "grow the economy" and "create opportunity".

But the Welsh Government says the "delayed" announcement still leaves Wales "over £1.1bn worse off on promised EU replacement funds."

Levelling up was a key manifesto pledge of the former prime minister Boris Johnson, who promised to “level up” towns and communities across the UK.

The following projects in Wales have been awarded funding:

  • £50 million to help deliver a new rail line between Cardiff Bay and Cardiff Central Station. Cardiff Council says this will be a "regular tram service" from Cardiff Central to a new platform at Cardiff Bay train station, plus two new platforms at Cardiff Central station.  Welsh Government is match funding the project with a further £50m.

  • A cycle route will be created between Llandudno Junction and Betws y Coed via the Conwy Valley with an £18.6 million grant. The scheme will also include measures to mitigate against flooding. 

  • £17.8 million to restore the historic estate in the Vale of Neath and build new walkways and cycle paths. 

  • £17 million for building new walkways and cycle paths in Holyhead and enable people to explore St Cybi’s Church and the Roman Fort. 

  • £18 million to rebuild the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl.

  • In Blaenau Gwent, a new engineering campus for 600 young people will be built using £9 million funding, offering a programme of apprenticeships and industry placements in the area. 

  • £20 million will restore and regenerate three industry heritage sites in the Lower Swansea Valley. This includes the Morfa Copperworks and will create new shops, restaurants and market places, as well as a "major" upgrade to Swansea Museum. 

  • £7.6 million for Pontypool Cultural Hub project in Torfaen to turn derelict buildings into a cultural centre with a new restaurant.

  • £20 million to build a leisure centre in Caerphilly with a gym and swimming pool. 

  • £18.8 million to upgrade walking and cycling routes for the National Slate Museum and the Neuadd Ogwen arts centre in Gwynedd.

  • £11 million to restore historic monuments in Ruthin, including St Peter’s Church and the town square. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Through greater investment in local areas, we can grow the economy, create good jobs and spread opportunity everywhere."

He added: “By reaching even more parts of the country than before, we will build a future of optimism and pride in people’s lives and the places they call home.”

Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies said:  “This is a hugely significant investment in truly significant projects across Wales. I’m delighted to see so many successful bids from around the country for schemes which will have an impact for generations to come."

But the Welsh Government said the announcement is yet another example of the UK Government "forcibly operating" devolved policy areas.

The former prime minister Boris Johnson made "levelling up" a key pledge of the Conservative manifesto during the 2019 General Election. Credit: PA

A spokesperson said: “While today’s delayed announcement confirms a limited number of projects, Wales remains over £1.1bn worse off on promised EU replacement funds. Wales now has less say over less money, and every decision on Levelling Up funding for local projects has been taken in Whitehall.

“The delayed, chaotic process is now costing jobs and other much needed projects are being missed as a result of the lost funds. Today’s news does not come close to meeting the funding promised by UK Ministers in 2019.

“These delays have also loaded extra pressure onto local authorities as well as driving up costs during a period of soaring inflation. This will have consequences on delivery, value for money and economic impact.

“We will continue to work with local government and partners to maximise the funds that are available. Some of the projects supported would have likely won Welsh Government funding, and we will work to ensure positive outcomes where possible, while making the strong case for the funds promised to the people of Wales.”

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