By Jonathan Davies

Cardiff is in "advanced talks" to join the Core Cities Group which contains the nine largest economies in the UK outside London.

Core Cities currently consists of Bristol, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Glasgow, which joined last week.

Official figures suggest that the eight English cities account for around 27% of the UK's economic growth, and are the driving force behind attempts to remove the economic reliance on London.

Phil Bale, leader of the City of Cardiff Council, said: The announcement that Glasgow is joining the Core Cities Group is an important recognition of the role that cities have to play in rebalancing the British economy.

"We in Wales can't ignore this agenda. That is why Cardiff is in discussions with the Core Cities, and I'm pleased with the progress we're making.

"Cardiff is one of the UK's fastest growing cities and is bouncing back strongly from the recession. In short, it's a huge asset for the Welsh economy.

"But if we're to keep pace Cardiff — and the Capital Cardiff Region - will need additional investment, discretion over how this investment is spent, and flexibilities in terms of raising revenues, which are at the heart of the deals being struck with the Treasury by other British cities."

Neil Cocker, a Cardiff-based entrepreneur, said: "Anyone who's lived in Cardiff for more than a few years will have noticed the massive rate of change and growth in the capital, so it's no shock to hear that Cardiff has one of the fastest growing economies in the UK and is reported to have the highest growth in private sector employment over the last 10 years of any UK Core Cities.

"Add this to the fact that Cardiff is the fastest growing capital city in Europe, it seems really fitting that they should join the Core Cities Group. And anything that brings attention to the city as an economically strong, growth city that's ready for business, can only be a good thing."

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