A new parliamentary group established by Labour MPs Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port & Neston) and Ian Lucas (Wrexham) has been welcomed by the Prime Minister at PMQs this week.
The Mersey-Dee All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) aims at improving links across the West Cheshire, Wirral and North East Wales area, on both sites of the England-Wales border. The area, with a population of almost 900,000 is unique in the UK as a major economic area divided by a national boundary.
In response to a parliamentary question on 20th January, Prime Minister, David Cameron welcomed the establishment of the group:
Mr David Jones (Clwyd West) (Con): Speaking of Airbus, the Mersey-Dee region, which straddles the England-Wales border, is one of the most dynamic industrial areas of the country. Does my right hon. Friend welcome the establishment of the all-party Mersey-Dee group, which has been formed to promote the economic success of the region? Will he urge his ministerial colleagues and the Welsh Government to co-operate with the group in its work?
The Prime Minister: First, let me join my right hon. Friend in welcoming the new group. It is important, when we look at the development of the Welsh economy, to think about how north Wales can benefit from growth in the north-west of our country and about the links between the north-west and Wales, which the group will examine. Clearly, HS2 and what happens at Crewe will be a vital part of that process. I am very happy to talk further with him.
Commenting, APPG Secretary Justin Madders MP said:
“The Mersey-Dee area has a strong and diverse economy including aerospace, automotive, chemicals, financial services, food, engineering and tourism/retail. There are already many examples of effective cross-border working, which the Group will seek to encourage and support.
However, the England-Wales border can create an artificial barrier, which can prevent progress from being made on important issues of shared interest. One example of this is the campaign to electrify the Wrexham-Bidston train line, which would provide a key strategic link across the sub-region delivering significant economic benefits, as well as offering an improved service to the residents of Neston.”
APPG Chair, Ian Lucas MP added:
"The Mersey-Dee area is unique in the UK as an integrated economic area which crosses a national border. It is in the interests of everyone in the region to work together continuously for its benefit and that's what the new All Party Group intends to do."