The risks that led to the Circuit of Wales being turned down

6th October 2017 SWVaux

Experts identified 26 key risks to the viability of the Circuit of Wales in due diligence work done for the Welsh Government, several in-depth reports on the proposals for the £433m racetrack in Ebbw Vale have now been published.

Reports reveal the concerns that led the Welsh Government to refuse to grant the £210m loan guarantee requested by the project team to enable it to go ahead.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said that the Welsh Government had been unable to publish the fit and proper person test report carried out on the project’s directors because Michael Carrick, who has led the Circuit, had not consented to its release.

Among the revelations are that the overall amount of funding which would have been required by the Welsh Government would have been £373.5 million – 56% of the project’s total cost. Ken Skates had said the project, which was first announced in 2011, would not be approved unless it was at least 50% funded by the private sector.

It was also revealed the number of jobs which would have been created during the construction of the racetrack would have been just 154, far short of the 1,461 claimed by HoVDC. Although a further 696 jobs would have been created during construction of the other elements of the project, this is still lower than the 893 predicted by the developers.

It was also revealed the HoVDC had based a number of its claims on reports created as long ago as December 2012, and had based revenue predictions on the assumption that the venue would be full to capacity for every event, despite trends showing a decline in attendances at motorsport events.

In a statement Mr Skates said: “The financial and construction reports that have been published draw attention to the risks highlighted by our advisors, including the risk to public finances that would have been created by offering the requested guarantee. The review of the economic impact evidence considers the benefits to Wales that were claimed by the developer.”

He added a Fit and Proper Person report into a number of the main figures at the Heads of the Valleys had not been released as chief executive Michael Carrick had not given consent to the documents being made publicly available.

The scrapped project still cost Welsh taxpayers more than £9.3 million. In 2012 the Welsh Government handed the Heads of the Valleys a £2 million grant, and, in May 2016, it was forced to pay out more than £7.3 million to Santander after the bank recalled a loan the firm was unable to repay.

When the project was refused the Welsh Government announced it would instead built a new automotive technology park in Ebbw Vale, funded with £100 million over the next 10 years, which it said could create up to 1,500 new jobs.

 

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