Welsh Secretary: ‘Infrastructure key to long-term economic growth’
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Secretary of State for Wales makes keynote Policy Forum for Wales address
The UK Government’s commitment to strengthening infrastructure will only intensify, the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones will say as he delivers the keynote speech at today’s Policy Forum for Wales seminar (1 July).
Addressing the ‘Next Steps for Welsh Infrastructure Seminar’ at Cardiff’s Marriott Hotel, Mr Jones will outline the UK Government’s plan for delivering the infrastructure that Wales and the UK needs to compete in the global race.
Mr Jones will stress the significance of the UK Government investing a greater share of the nation’s wealth in infrastructure than the whole period of the last Government. He will highlight the absence of investment by the previous Government in the infrastructure network and assets of Wales, and will underline the UK Government’s long-term approach to building infrastructure fit for the future.
The speech comes days after the announcement of plans to invest £100billion in infrastructure projects, including a significant £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.
During his speech, Mr Jones is expected to call on Welsh businesses to take full advantage of the opportunities available to them, including the extension to UK Guarantees.
Speaking ahead of his address, Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:
I have heard first hand how difficult it has been for companies to get their projects off the ground.
Our plan is to further help kick start the building of nationally significant infrastructure projects which are so crucial to our economic recovery.
As a consequence, the UK Guarantee Scheme will now be available for a further two years to 2016. I would urge Welsh businesses who feel their project meets the qualifying criteria to bid for a slice of the £40billion on offer, by talking to Infrastructure UK now.
Mr Jones is also expected to outline how this Government is investing more on transport infrastructure and broadband than at the height of the spending boom.
The UK Government has announced a further £250 million commitment to expand access to super fast broadband to 95% of rural households across the UK. Wales will receive a share of this investment, 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 is also set to benefit directly and indirectly by almost £2billion from the UK Government programme to modernise the rail network.
The Secretary of State will also highlight the economic benefits as a consequence of the Hitachi Ltd investment in new Horizon Nuclear Power on Anglesey.
He will say that the UK Guarantees scheme for the Hinckley Point C nuclear project, announced by the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey last week, is a clear commitment by the UK Government to new nuclear technology; and will be welcome news for those interested in new nuclear at Wylfa B.
Mr Jones added:
There is a need for an open dialogue on future infrastructure development in Wales.
In the short-term, investment in infrastructure creates employment, but it is the longer term legacy that will see the bigger rewards.
It is vital for the long-term future prosperity of Wales that the two Governments combine their firepower to deliver the infrastructure investments and improvements that Wales so desperately needs. I am fully committed to that, as indeed is Jane Hutt.
For further information, please contact Lynette Bowley at the Wales Office on 029 2092 4204 / firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the Policy Forum for Wales, visit: http://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/forums/index.php?fid=policy_forum_for_wales
Published: 1 July 2013