I must admit that I have had my doubts about the financial viability for the proposed Circuit of Wales but does this mean that I am applauding the Labour Welsh Government basically cancelling the project.
The plea by developers of the Circuit of Wales in Ebbw Vale for £210m in taxpayer-funded guarantees has been rejected by the Welsh Government.
The £433m motor racing track and leisure project aimed to create up to 6,000 jobs in a deprived area.
But Economy Secretary Ken Skates said job claims were "overstated" and there was too much financial risk.
The developers "strongly disagreed" with the decision and the rationale behind it.
Ministers said a £100m automotive business park would be built instead.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said backing the scheme would mean schools and homes would not be built.
After the meeting, economy minister Ken Skates issued a statement detailing why the Welsh Government had refused the £210m guarantee.
"The due diligence interrogated the company’s estimate of 6,000 potential jobs to be created across all elements of the project and found it to be significantly overstated." "Cabinet therefore today decided that the potential impact on the public finances of the current proposal before them was too great
The key points of his statement are:
- The entire £373m debt of the Circuit of Wales would have gone on the Welsh Government's books,
- It would have hindered the Welsh Government's ability to deliver new hospitals, schools or housing
- The developer's estimate of creating 6,000 jobs was significantly overstated,
- As few as around 100 operational jobs would be created in the operation of the racetrack,
- Instead, the Welsh Government will provide £100m for a new "automotive technology business park in Ebbw Vale",
- It will also explore the the potential of locating a South Wales Metro depot in the Ebbw Vale Enterprise Zone.
Plaid Cymru finance spokesman Adam Price said it
It is a shocking indictment of this government that it has taken seven years and over £9 million of public money to arrive at the decision to reject the Circuit of Wales. If there was an issue with the apportionment of risk, then why was that not communicated to the company, other than through the written statement issued by the government this morning?Plaid may have more reason to question the delaying od the decision.
"The Welsh Government has today turned down the single biggest private investment proposal in the history of Wales. Investors like Aviva will think twice before ever investing in the south Wales valleys again. Other partners may have recourse to legal action whose costs could run in to tens of millions of pounds. Is Wales open for business or open to ridicule?
“When Plaid Cymru accused the Welsh Government of delaying its decision on the Circuit of Wales until after the election in order to defer an unpopular announcement, the government denied it. Clearly, the Welsh Government misled us, but more importantly it misled the people of Blaenau Gwent.”
A year ago the Blaneau Gwent seat the Assembly seat almost fell to Plaid.
|Labour||Thomas Alun Rhys Davies||8,442||39.7||−24.3|
|Plaid Cymru||Nigel Copner||7,792||36.6||+31.2|
|Liberal Democrats||Brendan D'Cruz||300||1.4||−0.4|
You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist that the Welsh Goverment did not take this into account and delayed the announcement until after the recent election and it looks kike it may have been justified.
|Plaid Cymru||Nigel Copner||6,880||21.2||+12.2|
|Liberal Democrat||Cameron Sullivan||295||0.9||−1.0|
As i I believe that the financial viability of the Circuit of Wales project was always in doubt and do not in fact criticise the decision.
What I do how ever is beehive Labour have been dangling this in front of the Blaneau Gwent (and the whole of Wales electorate) seemingly for electoral purposes.
We have a Government in Wales that has no Vision beyond getting reelected .