By Daniel Hunter

Plans to drive forward the revitalisation and transformation of Newport’s economy have moved to the next level with the announcement today (Tuesday) that the momentum will be taken forward by a new partnership - the Newport City Economic Network.

The City Economic Network will ensure recommendations from the ReNewport Task and Finish group’s report ‘The City of Newport… on the Rise’ are delivered and also provide a focus to promote the future economic development in the city .

Wales Economy Minister Edwina Hart announced the Welsh Government would provide ongoing support and resources to the Network — and Newport City Council committed that the economic development and skills team at the council would work with the Welsh Government support to ensure the success of the new network.

The Network will operate as a broad partnership involving all key city stakeholders from the private, public and voluntary sectors as well as local forums representing a range of interests including the creative and ICT sectors, retail, culture, media, sport, tourism and business groups.

Economies Minister Edwina Hart said: “ReNewport was set up to work with the private sector to exploit business led opportunities as a means of revitalising the city and the Task Force achieved considerable momentum in a relatively short space of time.

“I am committed to providing on going support to ensure the work that has been started continues at a pace and I believe the proposed City Economic Network will provide an effective mechanism to take forward projects to support the future economic regeneration of Newport.

”The Task Force’s vision was to position Newport as the home of Digital and ICT business — to build a reputation as a Smart City and we expect the Network to share that vision and set the direction to achieve that aspiration. Partnership was the key to the Task Force’s success and will continue to be the driving force behind this new network with the involvement and enthusiasm of the people of Newport represented through the forums.”

Council Leader Bob Bright said: “Newport is on the cusp of a new era. City Council investment has already secured the largest investment in the city centre for 40 years but our ambitions go far beyond the opening of the Friars Walk development. We want to work with our partners to secure the best possible opportunities for all our communities. We want to help make Newport a confident, modern city, working to maximise the benefit to the economy of Wales.

“The work of the ReNewport taskforce provides some solid foundations and the new network can provide the stimulus required to take this and other work forward. It is important now for all partners to work together to secure the best possible future for the city.”

Simon Gibson, Chair of the former Task Force, said: “The City Economic Network is the glue required to bring all the Stakeholders in the City together to ensure the best projects are implemented in the most optimum way. As its name suggests, a network has several nodes, which can be formed as needed. Therefore insuring we have the right team working on the right project at any particular time.”

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