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The Future of Regional Development and Public Investment in Wales, United Kingdom

image of The Future of Regional Development and Public Investment in Wales, United Kingdom

The Welsh Government has set an ambitious and innovative path for regional development and public investment – one focused on generating growth and increasing productivity, while also reducing territorial disparities and ensuring the well-being of citizens, now and in the future. Yet, it faces significant challenges, accentuated by limited fiscal decentralisation and changes to public investment financing post-Brexit. This OECD Multi-level Governance Studies report provides the Welsh Government and Welsh local authorities with analysis and recommendations on how to achieve regional development and public investment aims. The report offers insight into how the Welsh Government and Welsh local authorities can increase their fiscal and public investment capacity, and strengthen their governance practices. It stresses that the Welsh Government’s ability to coordinate regional development policy and associated public investment is a determining factor in meeting growth and well-being objectives. This report also proposes a variety of mechanisms to strengthen policy and service delivery at the local level. A case study featuring the challenges and benefits of establishing economic regions in Mid and South West Wales sheds a practical light on the various aspects explored throughout the report.

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Fiscal frameworks and public investment financing in Wales

This chapter, divided into two parts, explores the challenges surrounding fiscal frameworks and public investment financing in Wales. Part 1 features the constraints that the Welsh Government and Welsh local authorities face in their fiscal frameworks, and how these affect the ability of governments to fulfil their responsibilities, including in public investment for development and growth. Part 2 makes a case for introducing a coherent public investment framework for regional development in Wales, particularly given a need to optimise limited resources. It explores ensuring co‑ordinated public investment in light of Brexit, discusses existing and new investment financing practices, and calls for making the most out of City and Growth Deals. It also offers insight into building capacity for stronger place-based public investment and highlights some innovative sources of public investment financing, including land value capture, green procurement and participatory budgeting.

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