'Super-connected' city challenge for Welsh Secretary
CITY MP Geraint Davies has called on new Welsh Secretary David Jones to help Swansea in its effort to become a "super-connected" city.
The Labour MP has written to Mr Jones following his appointment as Welsh Secretary in the Prime Minister's long-awaited reshuffle yesterday.
In his letter, Mr Davies called on Mr Jones, who replaced outgoing Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan, to "do all he can" to promote inward investment in all areas of Wales — rather than just Cardiff.
He also laid down a challenge to the new Minister to help Swansea realise its ambition to become a super-connected city and asked him to support a bid by Hewlett Packard to secure a lucrative Government contract.
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The Labour MP told the Post: "In particular he should ensure that Swansea succeeds in its bid to become a super-connected city just like Cardiff so that we don't end up seeing a rerun of the debate over the electrification of the Great Western Mainline."
Electrification was initially due to stop at Cardiff, but it was announced in the summer, following a campaign, that Swansea would be included in the scheme.
Mr Davies added: "This is the first time in almost living memory that a Conservative MP who actually represents a Welsh seat has been appointed to this post which I hope will be good news for Wales and that he will pay more attention to the ailing economy than his predecessor who was more interested in getting a tunnel built through her constituency to avoid HS2."
Swansea is one of 27 cities that have been invited to bid for a share of £50 million to help roll out ultra-fast broadband, which the Government hopes will drive growth and attract new investment.
In the March Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced the new fund, which he said would help create another 10 super-connected cities with 80-100Mbps broadband access.
Cardiff was one of the first cities to be awarded "super-connected" status when the announcement was made earlier this year.
Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith also called on the Clwyd West MP to show leadership on the issues that affected people's everyday lives in Wales including on jobs, living standards and public investment.
Mr Jones has served under Ms Gillan as her junior minister in the Wales Office since the coalition came to power in 2010.
His promotion is seen as a victory for Welsh Tories, who wanted a successor to Mrs Gillan, whose constituency is in Buckinghamshire, to be an MP with a Welsh seat.
After being given her marching orders, Ms Gillan said it had been a "great privilege to serve in the cabinet" however a source close to her said she was very disappointed to be leaving the post.
In his first address as Welsh Secretary, Mr Jones said: "Like most Welsh people, I have a huge ambition to see the quality of life in Wales flourish and prosper.
"As secretary of state, I will be making it my business to ensure that the efforts of the Wales Office are concentrated to that end."