FSB questions plans for Cardiff Capital Region Metro

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FSB questions plans for Cardiff Capital Region Metro (image credit: iStock/jmci)

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) believes that plans to create a new south-east Wales Metro scheme will have a positive impact on the region's economy, but it should not be seen as a "silver bullet" to address the local concerns of company leaders.

A report relating to the impact of the new Cardiff Capital Region Metro system was commissioned by the FSB and was carried out by leading regeneration and local economies researcher Dr Mark Lang on behalf of the body.

Outlining his stance on the proposed development, Dr Lang stated: "The balance of international evidence suggests that transport investment is not, as some would argue, an economic 'silver bullet'.

"Context is critical, and in that respect south-east Wales, and Wales more generally, needs to have a more open and honest debate about what sort of country we want to be and what is important to us.

"Only by addressing this question, can we design the right economic context within which infrastructural investments such as the Metro have a chance of delivering meaningful outcomes."

Indeed, the report went on to add that similar projects in San Francisco and Bilbao have seen little correlation overall between the distance from major transport hubs and the benefits that this provides to local small businesses.

That said, by encouraging swifter and more efficient transport across the region there will undoubtedly be benefits in terms of improved access to jobs, the strengthening of bonds between communities and the ability of businesses to source goods and services from their surrounding area.

However, there remains concerns that the economic and social benefits of such a scheme in south-east Wales may not be seen evenly throughout the region.

Responding to the publication, FSB Wales policy unit chair Janet Jones concluded: "At FSB Wales we are particularly concerned that any regeneration benefits from the project must be felt not only at Cardiff, but in communities across south-east Wales that are served by the Metro network."