South East Wales

Call for probe into Circuit of Wales report response

Circuit of Wales artist impression Image copyright Circuit of Wales

There are calls for an investigation into how the Welsh Government responded to a damning report about funding for a motor-racing track.

The Wales Audit Office (WAO) criticised the way £9.3m was spent on plans for the Circuit of Wales at Ebbw Vale.

The Welsh Government initially said it was "surprised and disappointed" at the timing of the report's release.

But it has since confirmed senior civil servants had almost six weeks notice of its publication.

In a written answer to Plaid Cymru AM Adam Price, Economy Secretary Ken Skates said his office was given "unusually short notice" of the WAO's plans to publish the report.

However, he has now confirmed that officials were given a draft copy of the report on 17 March, together with a publication date of 25 April.

The report was eventually published on 27 April.

Mr Price called for First Minister Carwyn Jones to investigate under the code which requires ministers to "give accurate and truthful information to the assembly" and to correct errors as soon as possible.

Image copyright Circuit of Wales
Image caption The project has asked for a Welsh Government guarantee of £210m so building work can begin

"The Welsh Government's management of the Circuit of Wales project has been characterised throughout by a combination of dissembling and delay," he said.

"It is vital now that the first minister takes a firm grip on a department in disarray and provides the kind of leadership and transparency that so far has been so badly lacking."

Auditor General Huw Vaughan Thomas has revealed details of meetings and correspondence with Welsh Government officials.

He said they were told in March that the report would be released in late April so ministers could see it before making a further funding decision about the Circuit.

The project has asked for a guarantee of £210m so building work can begin.

Image copyright Circuit of Wales

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said the first minister had received Mr Price's letter "and will reply in due course".

"We are completing our comprehensive due diligence process on the Circuit of Wales proposal.

"Once that work is completed, cabinet will consider the project and we will announce a decision."

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