South East Wales

Circuit of Wales: Loans for race track 'not guaranteed'

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Media captionCircuit of Wales: 'This is decision time'

Plans for £90m in loans to help fund a £375m motor racing track in Blaenau Gwent are not guaranteed, two councils have said.

Developers behind the Circuit of Wales (CoW) included the loans from Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire councils as part of revised plans.

It would also see the Welsh Government underwrite about half of the cost.

A request to guarantee the entire project in Ebbw Vale was rejected by ministers earlier this year.

The government is expected to set out its views on the latest proposal later this week.

But Monmouthshire council leader Peter Fox said: "With regards to the £90m local authority borrowing we need to bear in mind that this is what Circuit of Wales has put forward as part of its revised proposal.

"It is not something that local authorities have agreed or backed.

"Local authorities have simply offered their views on the proposal to Welsh Government who in turn have taken their own advice ahead of an announcement on Wednesday."

Image copyright Getty Images

CoW chief executive Martin Whitaker earlier told BBC Wales the project was a "fantastic opportunity for Wales".

Of the councils' involvement, he said: "At the end of the day, the two councils are the ones who benefit the most.

"This is a project which is going to deliver a massive amount of not only opportunity, but clearly jobs and benefit to the region."

Mr Whitaker added it was "decision time" for the Welsh Government and he had "confidence" the project would be given the green light.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates is expected to deliver his verdict on the new proposals on Wednesday.

A government official added: "In April it was decided that it would be an unacceptable risk to underwrite the entire £357.4m investment for the project, but we stressed our door remained open if sufficient private investment could be secured."

Meanwhile, shadow Economy Secretary Russell George also called on the Welsh Government to make a decision.

"The Circuit of Wales could create thousands of jobs and attract three quarters of a million visitors to the region each year. It's a fantastic opportunity for Wales," he said.

Image copyright Circuit of Wales

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