West Cheshire could benefit from a new all party parliamentary group welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Mersey-Dee All Party Parliamentary Group, set up by Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders and fellow Labour MP Ian Lucas (Wrexham), aims at improving links across the West Cheshire, Wirral and North East Wales area on both sides of the England-Wales border.
The area, with a population of almost 900,000, is said to be unique in the UK as it is described as a major economic zone divided by a national boundary.
In response to a parliamentary question from Mr David Jones (Con, Clwyd West) Mr Cameron welcomed the establishment of the group.
The Prime Minister said: “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.”
Mr Jones described the Mersey-Dee region, straddling the England-Wales border, as ‘one of the most dynamic industrial areas of the country’. He asked the Prime Minister if he welcomed ‘the all-party Mersey-Dee group which has been formed to promote the economic success of the region’.
He added: “Will he urge his ministerial colleagues and the Welsh Government to co-operate with the group in its work?”
Mr Cameron said he would be ‘very happy’ to talk further with Mr Jones.
Mr Madders, who is secretary of the group, said later: “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.”
Mr Lucas, who is chairman of the group, added: “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.”