THERE are no expectations that an announcement on whether the Welsh Government will also fund the Mid-Wales Growth Deal over 10 rather than 15 years until at least after May’s Senedd elections.
At a meeting of the Growing Mid-Wales (GMW) board on Thursday, March 11, members discussed the recent announcement made in the UK Government’s budget, that their half of the £110 million will be made available over 10 years.
This means that the deal will receive £5 million annually from the UK Treasury rather than the original £3.66 million.
Mid Wales Growth Deal, Strategic manager Carwyn Jones-Evans, said: “We had a positive announcement that the UK Government, that they have decided to accelerate the profile, and we’re now talking about a deal over 10 years rather than 15.
“It’s the same amount of money but being accelerated.”
Mr Jones-Evans, continued: “The Welsh Government haven’t confirmed their position on the funding and whether they will match that 10 year profile or stick to the 15 years profile.
“That is a conservation to be had post the Senedd elections.
Mr Jones-Evans told the board that he and others were having regular discussions with representatives of both Welsh and UK Governments.
Part of the discussion was to ask whether a clock had started ticking on the funding time scale?
Mr Jones-Evans said “Nothing changes with the process we are following, they are quite comfortable in terms of the approach we are taking.”
He added that the “consistent engagement” was important to keep the momentum going in order to make sure the Deal comes to fruition by the end of 2021.
This is the objective stressed Mr Jones-Evans.
Mr Jones-Evans added: “In terms of when the 10 years, the Treasury has not profiled the money in for any particular years yet.
“It’s for us to decide as a region, there’s flexibility there.”
He added that when the portfolio had been developed and projects were starting to appear on the horizon, they they could start discussing when to start receiving the money from the Governments.
The Welsh and UK Government believe the growth deal has an “important part” to play in the recovery phase of the economy, after Covid-19.
The Mid-Wales Growth Deal was mooted by then Chancellor Philip Hammond in 2017, and was hoped to be worth as much as £200million.
In October 2019 the UK Government announced a £55 million injection of funding, that was to be spread over 15 years for the Mid Wales Growth Deal.
The Welsh Government will match the £55million, and it was hoped before the Covid-19 pandemic struck that another £55million would come from businesses in the region.
The GMW Board is made up of councillors from the cabinets of both Ceredigion and Powys County Council as well as some representation from private business in the region.