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Circuit of Wales hit by funding blow

The proposed Circuit of Wales motor racing track suffered a possible fatal blow this week when the Welsh Government refused to guarantee a £210 million loan for the project.

The circuit is planned to be built in an area near Ebbw Vale and has a deal to host the British MotoGP round until 2020.

Wales economy and infrastructure secretary Ken Skates said in a statement that the guarantee would have exposed the government to more than half of the risk. He said:

It is assessed that there is a very significant risk that the full £373 million debt of the entire Circuit of Wales project would be classified against Welsh Government capital spending.

Skates also said due diligence had found the company’s estimate of 6,000 potential jobs to be created was “significantly overstated”.

A spokesman for the Circuit of Wales said:

Along with my team and commercial partners, I am hugely disappointed and saddened that the Welsh Government has failed to support The Circuit of Wales, what would be a game changing development for Wales and in particular the people of Blaenau Gwent. We strongly disagree with the decision and the rationale behind it.

We have always believed passionately, and continue to do so, in this project’s ability to transform and provide opportunities and hope to one of the poorest parts of the UK, not just Wales. The project is totally defined, finance is in place, and construction and hiring could start immediately.

My team and I will now analyse the Welsh Government’s reasons not to support the development and are actively seeking additional clarification from them. We will then very shortly issue a detailed response before deciding on our next course of action.