Government not being straight, says Plaid AM
Adam Price AM, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Business and Economy Secretary, has accused a Welsh Government Minister of once again misleading the public over the Circuit of Wales Project as it confirmed it was postponing a final decision until after the General Election.
He hit out after it was revealed that the Economy Minister’s accounts of a proposed 80 per cent Government Guarantee for the Circuit of Wales project differ from the truth
Last month Ken Skates was found out giving incorrect information to the National Assembly when, he wrongly claimed, that the Auditor-General had given less than two weeks advance notice of its publication of a report on the Circuit.
It has now been discovered that the Minister wrongly stated that it was the Heads of the Valleys Development Company – the firm behind the Circuit scheme – that first suggested the 80% guarantee.
In a response to a question on the issue of guarantees from the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, the Economy Minister said: “This was first set out in a document dated April 15, 2016 sent from the Heads of the Valley Development Company to Monmouthshire County Council….resulting in a revised written proposal from HOVDC dated 26 April 2016 that proposed an 80% guarantee by Welsh Government..”
But Plaid Cymru has discovered that a Government civil servant proposed the idea of an 80% guarantee in an email on April 7th, 2016 – and the First Minister’s Private Office also knew about it. The First Minister was given an opportunity to correct the record at First Minister’s Questions but failed to do so.
This email was released by the chief executive of Monmouthshire County Council, Paul Matthews, after a request for information from Adam Price.
And in a letter to the First Minister on April 6, 2016 – NINE DAYS before the government claims the Heads of the Valley Development first broached the issue of the guarantee – the former Business Minister Edwina Hart said: "In these last few days we have considered that a guarantee of 80% of the total value of the project may have reduced our risk to an acceptable level……."
Adam Price said: “The Economy Minister has been found out again to be economical with the truth and the email from a senior civil servant confirms that.
“The Government has said that it was the company that suggested an 80% guarantee. That in part justified their decision to reject the proposal.
“We now learn that it was their own idea that they were rejecting. The impression is of a government continually shifting the goalposts and attempting to cover up its tracks in the process.
“The Labour Welsh Government is either totally incompetent or involved in a concerted campaign to avoid the truth ahead of the UK General Election by throwing a smokescreen over its handling of this project.
“There must be an immediate investigation into the misleading answers with the First Minister taking direct responsibility for this project and apologise for the many mistakes that have been made. The people of Blaenau Gwent who have suffered most in Wales from a lack of jobs deserve much better from their government.”