The Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan for Growth and Jobs gives a clear outline of the Welsh Government’s key priorities for major infrastructure projects and how they will look at innovative financing options to support their plans.
The First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
"We are a government committed to the provision of infrastructure and the creation of jobs. We want to take every opportunity to increase capital investment, despite the severe cuts in our budget.
"We want to create a Wales with a strong economy that has 21st century transport, IT and energy networks We want a low-carbon Wales with sustainability at its core and a skilled and efficient Wales where businesses thrive and our expertise are globally renowned. Through the Plan we can make this happen."
The Plan outlines 7 high level priorities:
- Improving transport network in Wales
- Improving telecommunications networks
- Supporting the development of the energy industry in Wales
- Investing in housing
- Delivering more efficient and economical public services in the NHS
- Improving the quality of the educational estate, particularly schools
- Developing our Enterprise Zones
Finance Minister Jane Hutt said:
"For the first time we are giving the private sector, public sector and third sector a clear vision of our priorities over the next 10 years. This will help them to ensure they are well placed – adequately skilled and resourced – to support the key projects we will be funding.
"There are big challenges ahead that demand a more strategic and focused approach. What we have published today is very much the first step in achieving this approach. We want to develop the Plan with our partners so that we can all get the maximum value from the investments we make."
The Plan also outlines new, innovative ways of financing major projects.
Gerry Holtham, who advised the Welsh Government on the Plan added:
"The Welsh Government has already started using new ways of financing projects such as the Local Government Borrowing Initiative and support for a Welsh Housing Bond to increase the supply of affordable homes. We need to build on these developments to find funding to bring forward other investment with economic, social and environmental benefits.
"In spite of current turmoil in financial markets triggered by economic crises funds are available for sound projects with assured revenue streams and we must find innovative ways to tap those resources."
In addition and following constructive discussions leading to an agreement with the Welsh Liberal Democrats on several components, the Finance Minister announced today a package of investments which will create or protect over 1,300 jobs. This includes:
- a commitment to develop a Welsh mortgage guarantee scheme to support housebuilders and help first time buyers.
- an additional £5m for home energy efficiency – £3m for NEST and £2m for arbed, benefiting an extra 1000 homes
- £6m to expand the successful Welsh Housing Partnership, levering in an investment of £30m in total to deliver 280 family homes for intermediate rent
- £5m to double the size of the recylcable empty homes fund, contributing to our target of bringing 5,000 empty homes back into use during this Assembly term
The announcement also includes;
- £2.7m for M4 junction improvements
- an additional £4m to accelerate essential flood protection schemes, reducing the impact of flood and coastal erosion on our communities
- £6.8m to accelerate major hospital projects at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Llandough.
£500k to deliver premises for domestic abuse 'One Stop Shops' in Pembrokeshire, Swansea and Gwynedd
- an additional £5m to support schools projects in Lampeter, Denbighshire, Abercynon and Penarth and £3m for the new Cardiff City Centre post-16 campus
- £3.5m to support essential infrastructure work for the Northern Gateway site in the Deeside Enterprise Zone and
- £2.5m to boost the Welsh Economic Growth Fund to support Welsh SMEs.