Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

This week has been dominated by the thrilling news that Wrexham is the only Welsh entry among eight winners selected for city status as part of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. We must recognise that winning city status is a huge achievement for Wrexham and showcases the best of Britain.

When I was elected in 2019, I pledged to put Wrexham on the map. Wrexham has so much to offer, it's the largest town in North Wales and houses three of the Seven Wonders of Wales. We have a thriving young population educated at Glyndwr University and Coleg Cambria, with skills that could see them working in STEM innovation and manufacturing for one of the major companies on the growing Industrial Estate, such as Wockhardt who won the UK Government contract to bottle the AstraZeneca vaccine.

After decades of Labour neglect, and three failed attempts to gain city status over the last twenty years, Wrexham was left deflated. There is a new era of positivity in Wrexham now and I am thankful to the Queen and the UK Government for recognising Wrexham’s potential, ambition, and contribution to our United Kingdom.

City status is a huge accolade that presents a unique opportunity for the whole of the UK to celebrate the individualism of Wrexham - and its proud language, culture and identity within Wales, whilst also celebrating its importance as part of our Union.

Whilst I know that the prospect of Wrexham becoming a city has divided the people of Wrexham, all the large players – Wrexham AFC, Wrexham Glyndwr University, and local businesses - have thrown their weight behind this as the benefits are unmatched.

I am excited by the opportunities that could arise from this announcement: local infrastructure, transport links, inward investment and employment opportunities. Gaining city status will ignite local pride and allow us to promote all that Wrexham has to offer on a national and global stage.

The numbers do not lie. Since becoming a city, Chelmsford saw 7.6% local GDP growth in just seven years. Perth saw growth of 12% in the decade following 2012 when was granted city status.

Wrexham Council needs to fully grasp the new opportunities that are coming our way, and I have every faith that we can capitalise on this new status and raise Wrexham together. Some constituents have voiced concerns that city status automatically means and increase in Council Tax. This is not the case; city status comes no conditions and there is no requirement for councils to change anything. However, Wrexham Council makes those decisions.

This is not a time for people to suppress the ambition of Wrexham, but to celebrate it.