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Economy Economy

Work with the Welsh Government to encourage further cross-border working

Last updated: 11:57am 14 October 2019

We will work with the Welsh Government to encourage further cross-border working, ensuring that the border between England and Wales does not become a barrier to business, education or communities.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.33

Our verdict

The English-Welsh border runs from the Dee estuary in the north, to the Severn estuary in the south. Since the 1998 Government of Wales Act, Wales has had a devolved government, now responsible for 20 areas of policy. This policy promises that the UK government “will work with the Welsh Government to encourage further cross-border working”. We’re looking for evidence of collaboration between the two administrations to ensure that “the border…does not become a barrier”.

In his speech at the first Severn Growth Summit, held in 2018, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns called the border region “a true powerhouse of the UK economy”. He also gave examples of cross-border working that offer lessons for England and Wales, including the already successful Mersey-Dee Alliance, and the Oresund region between Denmark and Sweden. His speech, however, made not a single mention of the Welsh government.

There has been evidence of cross-border collaboration between the two governments in the health field. The Welsh government, with NHS England and the Department of Health, have updated the principles which guide cross-border healthcare. The previous protocol had been unchanged since 2013. The new Statement of Values and Principles aims to support “better patient outcomes and [avoid] the fragmentation of care”.

Arguably the biggest change under this government which encourages cross-border working has been the scrapping of tolls for crossing the Severn bridges (see “Related policy” below), but that action was taken unilaterally by the UK government, not as a result of “work with the Welsh government”.

We have one example of collaboration with the Welsh government on healthcare. However, in terms of the “business” and “education” elements of this policy, we have not found developments. We’re marking this as ‘in progress’. We’ll be looking for more joint action to see if we can move this to ‘done’. Follow this policy for updates.

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Related policy

  • Foster opportunities between cities in Wales and the rest of the UK

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