Cross-party digital investment could boost Welsh economy by £17.3bn

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A cross party collaboration to invest in 5G and digital infrastructure could boost the Welsh economy by £17.3bn Plaid Cymru has said.

Bethan Sayed AM and Plaid Cymru shadow minister for innovation said that Wales urgently needed to diversify its economy by investing in digital infrastructure. Ms Sayed suggested that Transport for Wales could act as ‘an enabler’ for the creation of an “interconnected and international 5G, fibre and space technologies infrastructure for Wales.”

Research by the UK Government had previously said that the impact of 5G is estimated at £198bn per annum by 2030 with a 10 year GDP impact of £173bn. A 10% share of this could mean a boost of £17.3bn for the Welsh economy.

Saying that Wales needed ‘bold ideas and ambition’, Bethan Sayed AM added that only a cross party collaboration could make it happen.

The Minister welcomed Ms Sayed and confirmed it was something he would wish to proceed with. 

Bethan Sayed AM and Plaid Cymru shadow minister for innovation said, 

“Wales is facing turbulent economic times. We need to diversify our economy and develop our digital infrastructure.

“But we’re lagging behind with many parts of Wales, particularly rural communities, still struggling to get 3G coverage – if any coverage at all.

“Transport for Wales could act as an enabler for the creation of an interconnected and international 5G, fibre and space technologies infrastructure for Wales. The cost of a national digital infrastructure could be in the region of £110m, with the potential for half of this being covered by the UK Government’s rural fibre fund.

“According to UK Government research, the impact of 5G is estimated at £198bn per annum by 2030, with a 10 year GDP impact of £173bn between 2020 and 2030. Even a 10% share of this would mean a boost of £173bn for the Welsh economy and would deliver sectoral opportunities in health, autonomous vehicles, big data, and artificial intelligence, manufacturing and aerospace.

“Will the Minister agree with me on the need for a cross party collaboration to make this happen? Wales needs bold ideas and bold ambition and that can only be achieved together. This isn’t just about digital infrastructure, it’s about positioning Wales at the forefront of new industries.

 

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