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Welsh Secretary: “Infrastructure measures show Wales is open for business”

Secretary of State for Wales responds to ‘Investing in Britain’s Future’ announcement

The measures announced in today’s infrastructure funding package are a clear demonstration of how this government is putting its foot on the accelerator towards growth, said the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones.

Headline measures from today’s infrastructure announcements from the UK Government include the £250million investment in the build of a new prison in north Wales. The project is expected to create around 1,000 jobs, providing a £23 million boost to the local and national economy.

Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:

Right from the start, I have put forward my support for north Wales to be considered as a viable option for a new prison with the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, and I am delighted with today’s announcement.

A prison in north Wales will create economic opportunities, new jobs, and will significantly accelerate the government’s strategy of replacing old, uneconomic prisons with modern, more cost-effective facilities. It will provide significantly better, more cost-effective accommodation for prisoners.

I know that having the prison in north Wales is particularly important for prisoners’ families - especially Welsh speakers - and professional advisors, and its significant capacity will go a long way to ease the current problem of space shortage.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey have also outlined plans to invest in economic infrastructure by investing in energy.

The UK Government will unlock up to £110 billion to fund energy infrastructure investment and support 250,000 jobs up and down the UK supply chain by 2020. Also announced today are details, earlier than expected, of the support available from 2014 through to 2019 for renewable electricity including onshore and offshore wind, tidal, wave, biomass conversion and large solar projects.

Strike Prices effectively remove price volatility risk for electricity generated from low-carbon sources, under new long-term Contracts for Difference being established by the Energy Bill. This offers greater certainty to generators and therefore a better deal to consumers.

The Government also announced a further £250 million commitment to expand access to superfast broadband to 95% of rural households across the UK. Wales will receive a share of this investment which will come in addition to the £57million already provided to the Welsh Government to improve broadband access to homes and businesses in the hardest to reach parts of Wales.

Wales Office Minister, Stephen Crabb said:

This additional investment in broadband provision shows that this government is not just interested in funding large scale construction projects. Access to superfast broadband is a critical stimulus to economic growth, and today’s announcement marks another crucial landmark in our aims to improve broadband connectivity in Wales.

It was also announced today that hundreds of thousands of homes in flood-prone areas will be guaranteed affordable flood insurance. The move will come as welcome news to the hundreds of homeowners and businesses across Wales who were affected after one of the wettest years on record.

The announcements come on the day that the Secretary of State for Wales launches the first high-level Wales Office Infrastructure Working Group in Cardiff. Senior officials from Welsh industry, the UK Treasury and the Welsh Government will join Mr Jones and Wales Office Minister, Stephen Crabb MP, to explore the key priorities for infrastructure development with a view to boosting the Welsh economy.

Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones added:

Investing in and improving this country’s infrastructure in order to make the UK globally competitive is a key part of the Government’s economic strategy as the economy moves from rescue to recovery.

Wales is already set to benefit directly and indirectly by almost £2billion from our programme to modernise the rail network.

The economic benefits that will come from the employment and supply chain opportunities on offer following Hitachi’s investment in new nuclear at Wylfa on Anglesey will be significant.

Today’s announcements emphasise the fact that Wales, and the UK as a whole, is open for business. We are putting the foot on the accelerator towards ensuring the economy feels the benefits of these significant capital investments and to help Britain succeed in the global race.

Scientific research and development institutions based in Wales are also set to benefit from a flat cash settlement on science revenue of £4.6billion and a flat real settlement on capital funding of c£1.1billion.

There is also additional support available for the development of coastal areas through the Coastal Communities Fund. In 2015/16, the fund will be equal to 50% of the revenues generated by the Crown Estate’s marine assets, and will help promote sustainable economic growth and jobs in Wales’ coastal towns.

The Government has also announced how the €9 billion of EU structural Funds from 2014-2020 will be allocated. In February this year, the Prime Minister negotiated a real terms cut in the EU budget for the first time in history. Wales will receive a total allocation of around €2.145 billion, nearly a quarter of the total allocation of Structural Funds to the UK. Within this, it was also confirmed that the allocation for West Wales will be €1,783million and €361million for East Wales.

Photo courtesy of Trevor Pritchard on FLickr

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