TORFAEN and Caerphilly have become the latest councils to lend their support to the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal business plan.

Both authorities held meetings on Thursday to discuss the 20-year economic strategy for the £1.2bn project to boost economic growth in south east Wales and create 25,000 jobs in the region.

Funding will be split between two major pots: the £734 million for the South Wales Metro, and the £495 million wider investment fund for other projects.

The latter fund will be made up of £375 million UK Government funding, while the remaining £120 million will come from the 10 local authorities whose leaders form part of the regional cabinet.

One such leader, Cllr Anthony Hunt, told Torfaen members at full council: “We have all come together, it’s really a collegiate collaboration that’s working together to achieve a common aim and putting aside political differences.

“It is vital that Torfaen is at the table and has an equal stake with the other nine councils.”

Deputy leader Cllr Richard Clark praised Cllr Hunt’s leadership as having “broken down a lot of barriers” with neighbouring authorities.

Conservative Cllr Huw Bevan gave his support to the plan but brought up the uncertain future for local authorities with the resurgence of council mergers, as recently announced by Alun Davies AM.

But Cllr Hunt said: “I think the City Deal hopefully shows to Alun Davies and the Welsh Government the best way that collaboration works and that’s from the bottom up.”

In Caerphilly there was a debate between the Labour administration and the Plaid Cymru opposition about the county borough’s involvement in the City Deal.

Leader Cllr David Poole said: “[The City Deal] is a really exciting idea that started out as a germ but is now slowly becoming reality.

“I am keen to make sure that every member has an involvement in this City Deal.”

Cllr Poole had said that he had fought at meetings in Cardiff for member involvement to continue, but Plaid Cllr Robert Gough said more could be done.

“This is such a strategic and important project for Wales and it has to work because if we don’t draw in private sector funding, we fail completely. If we don’t create jobs, we fail completely,” he said.

“We need to be fully informed at the earliest stages and I personally think that we’re not.”

Cllr Gough called for an internal project board be formed within three months to keep officers and councillors involved on projects in Caerphilly, a recommendation that was carried by council.

Other concerns were raised over the size of the wider investment fund, with Plaid Cllr Colin Mann saying: “£495 million is not a huge amount of money divided between 10 councils over 20 years.

“We’ve got to ensure as an authority that we get at least our fair share of what is going on.”

The approval of the business plan by both councils means that all five Gwent regional authorities have supported the strategy.