Revamped plans to back the Circuit of Wales racetrack have been turned down by the Welsh Government, the cabinet secretary for the economy and infrastructure Ken Skates has announced.
The £370m scheme, which includes a 3.5-mile racetrack, was expected to create 6,000 new jobs.
The long-running project suffered a setback in April after the Welsh Government refused to underwrite the entire investment for the project due to the risk to taxpayers’ money.
Speaking today in the Senedd, Mr Skates said: “Including both direct Welsh Government guarantees and Local Authority loans, the latest proposal put forward by the Circuit of Wales asks Welsh Government to underwrite around 75% of the total £370m cost of the project, with local authorities underwriting a further 8%.
“Unfortunately despite the efforts of the project backers this leaves only around 17% of the risk being taken by the private sector.
“That amount of risk falling on the Welsh taxpayer – through Welsh Government and Local Authority support – is unacceptable as it currently stands, especially at a time when we are facing significant economic uncertainty from a UK exit from Europe.
“In our view this project does not currently provide the level of value for money necessary for the amount of public funding being put at risk.
“On that basis I have today told Michael Carrick and Martin Whitaker that I believe further work is needed on this proposal. My door remains firmly open and I have urged them to revise their bid in such a way where the private sector takes more of the risk in order for this project to be taken forward.
“We need to see at least 50% of this project funded, and 50% of the risk underwritten, by the private sector to justify Value for Money for Welsh Government and the public purse.
“In the meantime, we will continue to work constructively with the Circuit of Wales team to ensure this project can be successfully delivered to benefit the local economy of Ebbw Vale and Wales at large.”