Welsh businesses are set to receive more than £93 million of investment to turbocharge green recovery and accelerate the creation of nearly 13,000 jobs in tomorrows budget.
The Chancellor is expected to bring forward £58.7 million of funding over the next five years for faster investment in the Swansea Bay, North-Wales and Mid-Wales City and Growth Deals. This will drive forward local economic priorities and support regeneration while delivering new jobs in sectors such as infrastructure, transport and agriculture. The acceleration of the deals from 15 to ten years means that:
- The Swansea Bay City Deal will get an extra £5.4 million per year from 2021/22 for the remaining seven years of the Deal. This will enable deal projects, including digital and urban regeneration infrastructure projects, to be delivered faster and will support the Deal to create up to 9,000 new jobs and to support an uplift of £1.1 billion for the economy.
- The North-Wales Growth Deal will get an extra £4.4 million per year from 2021/22 for the remaining nine years of the Deal, supporting the Deal to create up to 3,800 new jobs and to support an uplift of £2.2 billion for the economy.
- The Mid-Wales Growth Deal will get an extra £1.8 million per year from 2021/22 for the remaining 10 years of the Deal. This will lead to faster investment once projects are agreed, such as those focussing on transport, agriculture, skills and employment.
The Chancellor is also expected to announce that Holyhead in Anglesey will benefit from £4.8 million to pilot a hydrogen hub in the area, subject to business case approvals. The hydrogen production centre will be designed to produce and distribute green hydrogen made using renewables for use in HGVs, helping to decarbonise high carbon-emitting transport.
The project will develop Welsh expertise in the sector. It has the potential to create up to 30 new high skilled green jobs, indirectly support 500 jobs, and bring further investment into the area, delivering on the Government’s Plan for Jobs, and commitments to level up the whole of the UK and to reach net zero by 2050.
Alongside this Rishi Sunak is expected to provide up to £30 million toward the Global Centre for Rail Excellence. The project, also supported by the Welsh Government, will see up to 120 skilled jobs at the new rail and infrastructure testing facility in Neath Port Talbot, South Wales, and showcase Wales as a hub for research and development, and cutting-edge low-carbon rail technology.
The purpose-built modern facility will support UK train manufacturers with the capacity and capability for rigorous testing of rolling stock and rail infrastructure, from prototype to implementation.
The UK Government will match fund up to £30 million, subject to business case approval, with the remaining £128 million from the Welsh Government and private sector investment.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:
“We have protected jobs and supported businesses throughout this pandemic and now we are looking ahead with more optimism to an investment-led recovery for the whole of the United Kingdom.
“These measures will help Wales pave the way to a greener future, create new high skilled jobs and build the infrastructure needed to drive growth in key sectors and build back better.”
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:
“This planned package of measures from the Chancellor delivers for Wales as we build back better and greener from the coronavirus pandemic.
“As well as bringing thousands of skilled jobs, the plans for the Centre for Rail Excellence, hydrogen hub and investment in growth deals show the UK Government’s determination to make sure that Wales is a centre for innovation and the industries of the future.
“We have provided support for thousands of individuals and businesses across Wales through the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic. These announcements and others in the Budget will pave the way to brighter times ahead.”