Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones, is urging Welsh companies to help kick-start the Welsh economy and stake their claim to a share of £40bn of funding made available for infrastructure projects.
Under the UK Guarantees Scheme launched by the Chancellor George Osborne in July this year, up to £40bn of funding will be underwritten for infrastructure projects that have been put on hold following difficulties in raising money from private investors.
The Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill published today will allow the Government to guarantee major infrastructure projects that are struggling to get finance in a range of sectors, including transport, utilities, energy, communications, and education. Eligible projects will have to meet criteria including being able to begin work within 12 months, and prove the project will have a positive impact on economic growth, as well as provide good value for taxpayers.
The Government will consider the most effective form of guarantee on a case-by-case basis, using a robust assessment and approvals process.
Having made clear his intention to do all he can to help rebalance the Welsh economy, Mr Jones wants to work with the Welsh Government to help Welsh businesses take advantage of the funds on offer and help renew Welsh infrastructure projects with the capital they need to grow.
“The UK Guarantees Scheme is further proof of how important infrastructure development is to this Government’s growth agenda.
“During my time in the Wales Office, I have heard first hand how difficult it has been for companies to get their projects off the ground. The UK Guarantees Scheme will help them get their finances in place and get the project going.
“We must do all we can to make the economic environment right for business, and to make Wales an attractive investment destination that generates private sector growth and jobs. The UK Guarantees scheme provides an opportunity to strengthen our economic assets in Wales. It could dramatically accelerate major infrastructure investment and I urge Welsh companies to ensure they get their share of this significant investment fund.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Press Office on 020 7270 5238.
2. For further information, please contact the Wales Office communications team on 029 2092 4204
3. Non-media enquiries should be addressed to the Treasury Correspondence and Enquiry Unit on 020 7270 4558 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
4. The Government launched the UK Guarantees scheme on 18 July 2012 to dramatically accelerate major infrastructure investment and provide major support to UK exporters http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/press_62_12.htm
5. The Infrastructure Bill authorises HM Treasury or a Secretary of State (with HM Treasury’s consent) to incur expenditure in relation to the provision of guarantees and other suitable forms of financial assistance. Statutory authority for such expenditure is required in accordance with the Concordat of 1932 between the Government and the Public Accounts Committee.
6. The UK guarantee scheme forms part of the work to make full use of the Government’s balance sheet, which the Prime Minister announced during his speech to the Institute of Directors in Manchester on 17 May 2012. Further details available here: http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/pm-economy-speech/.
The National Infrastructure Plan 2011 set out a comprehensive strategy for meeting the infrastructure needs of the UK economy, including setting out a clear pipeline of 500 infrastructure projects (http://www.hmtreasury.gov.uk/national_infrastructure_plan2011.htm). Up to £40bn worth of projects identified in the pipeline will be eligible to apply.
7. Further information on the housing guarantees can be found here: http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/about/rentedhousing