A GLOBAL energy boss who is involved in the £1.3 billion city deal for the Swansea Bay City Region has asked the UK and Welsh Governments to hand over their contributions three times as quickly as has been agreed.
Ed Tomp, the general manager of Valero UK, said he asked representatives from both Governments if they could pay their £241 million city deal share over five rather than 15 years.
Councils, health boards and universities have been warned they must stump up their £50,000 share of funding to run the £1.3 billion city deal.
Two of the eight public sector organisations have not coughed up their latest annual £50,000 payment, it emerged at a meeting.
Andrew Davies, the chairman of one of the two in question – Swansea Bay University Health Board – said the health board had not been able to trace the original invoice.
Carmarthenshire Council’s head of finance, Chris Moore, said it would have been sent in March, and offered to supply a new one to Mr Davies.
The other organisation not to pay its £50,000 share was not named at the Swansea Bay City Region joint committee meeting.
Joint committeee chairman Rob Stewart said: “I would expect all partners to pay their contributions.
“It is an important priciple of being a member of this committee.”
The budget for running the city deal in 2019-2020 is £1.1 million, the majority of which will go on staff and associated costs.
Other elements of the budget include marketing and advertising costs (£125,000), and food and meeting expenses of the joint scrutiny committee (£20,000).
Mr Tomp, who is chairman of the city deal’s economic strategy board, said: “They were sympathetic, but not very sympathetic.”
He said he felt the 15-year spread of £241 million created risk for the 11 public-private projects which have been agreed for Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
Mr Tomp said the Government representatives were worried about setting a precedent if the funding period was changed.
Addressing colleagues at a meeting of the city deal’s ruling joint committee, Mr Tomp said the five-year funding proposal was one of four recommendations the economic strategy board had come up with.
The other recommendations called on the two Governments to release funding for the first two city deal projects immediately “to restore confidence” among all stakeholders; to arrange workshops for project teams to better understand the process of developing business cases to the required level; and to allow project teams to alter or even replace projects.
Mr Tomp said the first two of these recommendations were “positively received” by the Government representatives, and that they were “quite open” to the one about project flexibility.
He added: “I thought they were generally receptive and generally supportive.”
The proposals were the result of meetings or conversations with the four councils and some other public sector partners, and align with recommendations from separate reviews of the city deal, which critics argue has made little tangible progress more than two years after its heads of terms were signed by Theresa May and former First Minister Carwyn Jones.
City deal funding will also come from the private sector (£637 million) and the regional public sector (£396 million), although one of the councils – Neath Port Talbot – is reviewing its three projects.
Joint committee chairman Rob Stewart said he also favoured accelerated funding from Government.
“I think that discussion is not done yet,” he said.