South East Wales

Talks to revise £357m Circuit of Wales race track plan

Circuit of Wales artist impression Image copyright Circuit of Wales
Image caption A hotel and motor industries centre are part of the development

The firm behind plans for a £357m race track in Ebbw Vale is working on revising the project after the Welsh Government refused to underwrite it.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said there was a "significant question around the viability" of the Circuit of Wales project which could bring 6,000 jobs.

Her decision has drawn criticism from opposing parties.

But Heads of The Valleys Development Company (HOTVDC), said it would try to find a solution.

Insurance firm Aviva has been expected to back the project but HOTVDC hoped the Welsh Government would underwrite the private investment.

Chief executive Michael Carrick said: "While this was our clear preference and reflective of the negotiations we have held over the past six months, we accept that the project will need to progress on revised terms.

"We will continue negotiations with the Welsh Government, the local authorities and Aviva Investors to advance the development on revised terms that will be acceptable to all parties."

Mrs Hart suggested in a letter to First Minister Carwyn Jones a guarantee of 80% of the total value of the project may have reduced the Welsh Government's risk to an acceptable level but HOTVDC had not been able to secure "any real private risk capital".

However Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: "Clearly the Welsh Government has to be cautious and careful about the money it spends, but it is ironic that in a week where they've asked for the UK Government to underwrite the future of the steel industry they're unwilling to back what would be an exciting, flagship scheme."

A Plaid Cymru spokesman said it was "devastating news" for Blaenau Gwent and called on the Welsh Government to publish the advice it received.

Eluned Parrott, the Welsh Liberal Democrat economy spokeswoman said it was the "latest in a long line of Labour economic failures over the past 17 years".

And a UKIP Wales spokeswoman accused Labour AMs of being "economically illiterate".

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