General

Welsh Government accused of secretly funding Circuit of Wales scheme

Economy Minister funds 'unspecified project'

THE WELSH Government has been accused of a lack of transparency after refusing to confirm or deny a claim that they provided a further £500,000 of funding to the Circuit of Wales scheme.

The Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HVDC) have already been given £2m from the Welsh Government to develop the scheme. However, work is yet to take place as the proposed site is subject to common land rights.

A source close to the scheme told WalesOnline: ‘I have been informed that the CoW promoters have made a second payment to Dorna, the owners of the MotoGP Championship, last week.

‘We are of course aware that the Welsh Government provided a loan guarantee in May for the CoW project for £2m which has been accepted by Dorna as the initial payment for the Championship to move to Wales if a circuit is ever constructed.

‘The second payment is for £500,000 and was paid to Dorna in order for the CoW to retain the rights to own the GB Round of the MotoGP Championship from 2015 onwards.

‘Although they of course have no circuit, if this payment had not been forthcoming then the contract would have been cancelled. Additional payments will be required over future months.

‘Our calculations now demonstrate that it would be virtually impossible for the CoW to construct and operate any form of international racing facility before 2017, and therefore it would appear that once again someone is approving funds from the public purse with absolutely no realistic plans in place for any repayment or success of this project.

‘It is our understanding that the funds for this payment have once again originated from the Welsh Government. Is there any way that the Welsh Government can be asked to provide details of this matter?”

A Welsh Government spokesman replied to the claims saying: ‘We do not respond to unattributed emails. Information relating to this matter is already in the public domain.’ 

WalesOnline were then referred to a Ministerial decision that was published on the Welsh Government website on June 29, a day after asking what was in the ‘public domain’.

The decision stated that Edwina Hart, Economy Minister, would provide an unspecified amount of financing for an unidentified project.

Conservative Assembly Member, Antoinette Sandbach, said: ‘Why is the Welsh Government being so secretive about funds going into the Circuit of Wales? This is taxpayers’ money and they should be held accountable when local councils are seeing cuts across Wales. Surely the money is better directed to front line services and not vanity projects.’

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