£24m EU investment for energy projects

Welsh GovernmentThe FLEXIS five-year research programme, supported by £15 million of EU funds and led by Cardiff University, will investigate how flexible energy systems can meet modern-day energy challenges.

Involving collaborations with industry and research organisations in Wales, Europe and worldwide, the scheme will investigate how multiple energy sources can be supplied to consumers through more flexible and efficient systems that integrate traditional and renewable energy sources.

Leading researchers from the UK and Europe will also be recruited to Welsh universities, helping to strengthen Wales’ position as a leader in research and innovation within the energy industry.

The scheme will pave the way for the development of new technologies and job creation in the energy sector, and attract new companies to locate in Wales.

Finance and Government Business Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “Wales is set to benefit from around £1.8 billion of EU Structural Funds by 2020 to support business, innovation, infrastructure, skills, employment, and young people.

This is vital investment for our economy and labour market, and is a crucial source of funding in driving innovative research and the commercialisation of that research, creating sustainable jobs and growth.”

Jobs boost thanks to £120m infrastructure scheme

The Welsh GovernmentUp to 2,000 jobs are set to be created thanks to a £120 million capital investment for infrastructure projects across Wales during 2016-17, Finance Minister Jane Hutt announced this week.

Ahead of a debate on the Welsh Government Draft Budget 2016-17, the Minister confirmed a range of pan-Wales projects will benefit from the additional capital investment in line with the priorities set out in the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan.

Jane Hutt said: “Investing in infrastructure is key to our approach to supporting sustained economic growth. Every part of Wales will benefit from this £120m investment of Capital funding in our infrastructure, and my announcement today has the potential to create around 2,000 jobs during the construction phase, boosting growth and supporting the delivery of more efficient public services.”

These include:

  • £50m for priority transport projects;

  • £10m for the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme to support projects that will enhance skills for post-16 students;

  • £10m for Intermediate Care Fund, focusing on ‘step-down’ and re-ablement facilities for people with complex needs to support independent living and reduce demand on health services;

  • £10m for the Wales Ambulance Service Trust for the replacement of vehicles;

  • £5m for Green Growth Wales, providing repayable energy efficiency grants across health, local authorities and education; and

  • £3m for Warm Homes / Arbed, to tackle fuel poverty through green growth by investing in domestic energy efficiency measures.

A further £10m will be allocated towards neonatal investment in developments across West, South and North Wales.

New affordable homes and construction boost for Wales

New affordable homes and construction boost for Wales Welsh Government funding is delivering new affordable homes in Rhyl, providing a boost to the local economy and the construction industry, Finance Minister Jane Hutt has said.

The £2.3 million Brickfields development on Cefndy Road is backed by the Welsh Government’s innovative Housing Finance Grant (HFG) scheme.

The investment is helping transform a former ITT factory site into 24 homes consisting of 16 houses and eight flats – which will be managed by Wales & West Housing.

The £120 million Housing Grant Scheme scheme will create 1,000 additional affordable homes throughout Wales by providing £4 million each year for 30 years to 19 Registered Social Landlords (RSLs).

Jane Hutt said: “The Welsh Government is committed to delivering quality, affordable homes and the Brickfields development in Rhyl will help make a real difference to the lives of people who live in them and the community as a whole.

It is also playing an important role in providing a boost to the local economy through jobs and training opportunities.”

This innovative funding is used to assist with the repayment of private finance to fund the creation of new, affordable, housing developments.

Shayne Hembrow, Deputy Chief Executive and Commercial Director of Wales & West Housing, said: “We are delighted that the Minister has included a visit to Brickfields on her budget tour.

We contracted Anwyl Construction to build 24 homes, 16 houses and eight flats, on the former ITT factory site on Cefndy Road.

This has not only improved the area, but has provided an answer to the need for affordable housing in Rhyl as well as boosting the economy and giving the local community work and training opportunities.”

European investment to support economic growth

Welsh GovernmentWales and Ireland are set to benefit from a unique £80 million European programme that will help strengthen economic links between the two countries.

The investment for the Ireland Wales programme 2014-2020 was announced today by the Welsh Government Minister for Finance and Government Business, Jane Hutt, during a meeting of the National Assembly for Wales’ Enterprise and Business Committee.

The programme will see Welsh and Irish partners working together on collaborative and innovative projects in the areas of innovation, climate change, cultural and natural resources, heritage and tourism.

Welsh Government Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said:”I’m delighted to announce that the European Commission has agreed in principle a new £80 million Ireland-Wales Co-operation programme, with formal approval expected in the coming weeks.

Wales is perfectly located for doing business with Ireland and provides a link to the UK market and Europe beyond.

There are also strong synergies between Irish aspirations and those of the Welsh Government on driving sustainable economic growth and jobs for our two Nations.

We will continue to work together to explore effective co-operation opportunities in an increasingly global economic and, indeed, social environment.”

Managed by the Welsh Government in partnership with Irish authorities, including the Southern Regional Assembly and Irish Government, people and communities within the south-east region of Ireland and the north and west of Wales areas will benefit from the EU funding programme.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin, said that: “This investment will, once more, further underline the increasing importance we all attach to the growing collaboration across the Ireland-Wales maritime border and will allow us to build on the considerable achievements of previous and current programmes”.

£37m investment to improve housing supply in Wales

The Welsh GovernmentA £37 million funding boost for housing will make a difference to the lives of thousands of people across Wales and support the Welsh economy.

The significant investment was announced in the ‘Priorities for Wales’ Draft Budget earlier this week, which has continued the Welsh Government’s focus on its priorities for Wales.

The £37 million investment will be used to expand the Affordable Housing Land Scheme, Houses into Homes, the Town Centre Loans Scheme and Home Improvement Loans.

These schemes are improving the lives of people and families, increasing the housing supply and providing a boost to the Welsh economy.

As part of this, £2 million has also gone towards the Gypsy and Traveller Sites Programme to improve the standard of living for Gypsy and Traveller residents throughout Wales.

The Draft Budget also protects funding for the Welsh Government’s Flying Start programme, which supports families across Wales by providing free childcare for 2-3 year olds, parenting support, an improved health visitor service and help for early language development.

The Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Lesley Griffiths, said:”Our Draft Budget reflects the Welsh Government’s overarching commitment to create a more equal society, where everyone has an opportunity to progress.

“Our investments aim to enable all people in Wales to live in a safe and warm home, within a viable and vibrant community. This significant extra investment in housing and regeneration will make a big contribution towards economic growth and the creation of jobs, as well as supporting children and families.

“We will continue to work with our partners and Local Authorities to deliver these schemes and improve the futures of communities across Wales.”

Finance Minister Jane Hutt said:”Investment in housing is an integral part of our Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan. The additional £37m for housing I announced earlier this week as part of our ‘Priorities for Wales’ Draft Budget 2015-16 will play a key role in delivering better quality and more affordable housing.”

New infrastructure investment for Wales

The Welsh GovernmentThe Welsh Government’s capital investments and innovative finance schemes have now reached almost £3 billion and will create around 50,000 jobs during construction, Finance Minister Jane Hutt said today.

Speaking to the Wales Policy Forum conference on infrastructure the Minister highlighted the commitment the Welsh Government has made to supporting the economic recovery and public services in Wales, through investment in both social and economic infrastructure.

Alongside the publication of the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan’s 2014 Annual Report, the Minister has announced an additional £250million boost for the innovative Housing Finance Grant to build an extra 2,000 homes in the Social housing sector.

This further builds on the £1 billion of initiatives announced in May and means in total, innovative funding investments announced since the launch of the Plan will create around 30,000 jobs during the construction phases.

Jane Hutt said: “Since I published the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan in 2012, I have been very clear about the contribution that investment in our infrastructure can make to support economic growth and protect and boost jobs.

“Despite the Welsh economy showing early signs of recovery we are still facing challenges. We have to maximise the impact of every pound we spend and look to boost our investments wherever possible.

“Our approach to boosting investment in Welsh infrastructure has a distinctive and dual focus. We are investing traditional capital while also creating new innovative finance schemes to create jobs and deliver public services.”

EU funds supporting growth in green economy

EU funds supporting growth in green economyEU Funds are helping to support the low carbon economy and driving sustainable development, according to Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt.

The Minister met businesses pioneering new ‘green’ products and services this week  as part of the EU-backed BEACON project which has been highlighting the work of companies and Universities in helping to establish Wales as a Biorefining Centre of Excellence.

The aim is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by developing new, sustainable products and services while boosting economic growth and creating new jobs in the trades.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt said: “Sustainable development is at the heart of Welsh Government. This is another example of how Wales benefits from vital EU funds which are helping to drive innovation in the low carbon economy, creating opportunities for sustainable growth and jobs in our region, and making a significant contribution to combating climate change.”

BEACON Deputy Director Rob Elias said: “The BEACON Project is an excellent example of how companies can tap into the research and innovation expertise through Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities.

“We can offer a service to help develop their products and fast track their technologies. Working with BEACON brings real advantages to companies developing green technologies in Wales.”

£617.5m investment to create 11,000 jobs and boost the Welsh economy

£617.5m investment to create 11,000 jobs and boost the Welsh economyThe Welsh Government has revealed plans for spending £617.5 million on transport and housing infrastructure over the next three years that will boost the construction industry and create new jobs.

The investment will create and sustain 11,000 jobs across Wales, providing much needed employment and job opportunities in the construction industry.

Since publication of the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan in 2012, the Government has contributed additional capital investment of £2 billion to provide a major boost to economic growth and jobs in Wales.

£170 million will be invested in housing – including £140 million between 2014/15 and 2015/16 for Help to Buy Cymru – a new shared equity scheme for Wales to help people to purchase new build homes.

This is in addition to the £34.5 million which will be invested in the scheme during the current financial year. This will create an investment of over £800 million in an estimated 5,000 new build homes.

Investments in promoting economic development include £82 million for Finance Wales funds to provide access to finance for small and medium businesses, as well as create and safeguard hundreds of jobs.

Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “Since 2010, the UK Government has made significant cuts to our capital budget. By 2015-16 it will be 33% lower in real terms than in 2009-10.

“The tough economic conditions continue but I am determined to use every pound available to invest in infrastructure and boost economic growth in the long-term.

“The new £617.5m Capital investment package I am announcing today will deliver real benefits across Wales, creating or supporting more than 11,000 jobs over the next three years, providing longer term growth benefits and better infrastructure for key public services.

“In addition to developing a range of innovative financing schemes to boost our Capital investment, we will also take every opportunity to use European funding to maximise our investments in essential infrastructure that support growth and jobs across Wales.”

Other investments include:

  • £38 million for improvements in health facilities across Wales – including the second and final phase of the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales.
  • £6 million for Flying Start – this will ensure a further 3,000 children and their families benefit from this scheme to meet the manifesto commitment of 36,000, as well as expanding provision in areas where there are insufficient facilities to meet demand.
  • £70 million for ARBED ECO – the Welsh Government’s scheme to improve the energy efficiency of Welsh homes focusing on those in fuel poverty.
  • £20 million to support a programme of vital flood and coastal defence improvements which will benefit an estimated 2,000 homes and businesses across Wales and protect vital transport infrastructure.

Ministers kick off construction of new £45m Cardiff College

Ministers kick off construction of new £45m Cardiff CollegeWelsh Finance Minister, Jane Hutt and Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates have launched a new £45 million development that will boost the local economy and create new jobs.  

Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) is one of the country’s largest new colleges, with more than 20,000 learners, 1,500 staff and 13 sites across the Capital Region.

Jane Hutt said: “As a Government, our number one priority is to stimulate the Welsh economy and support job creation. Since publication of the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan last year, the Welsh Government has already contributed new capital investment of around £1.3 billion pounds to the Welsh economy.

“By doing so, we are creating and protecting much needed jobs and boosting economic growth, but we are also tackling poverty by ensuring our investment is used to deliver the maximum benefits possible for the people of Wales.

“A key part of this plan is improving the quality of our schools and colleges. So I’m delighted we have been able to support this ambitious new development with a £20 million investment.”

The initial work began in summer 2013 with completion scheduled for the summer of 2015. Students will start their courses in the new building from autumn 2015. The project is part of the College’s wider and extensive Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan capital development programme.

Ken Skates said: “The investment we are making in this new development is a clear demonstration of our commitment to improving access to Further Education, while ensuring good quality provision with no barriers to participation.

“Once complete, this new campus will help provide an inspirational, world class learning facility for students, communities and employers across the region.”

Go-ahead for £120m new housing grant scheme in Wales

Go-ahead for £120m new housing grant scheme in WalesThe Welsh Government has today launched an innovative housing finance scheme that will boost the construction industry and create new jobs in the trades.

The package includes around £120 million of Welsh Government funding over the next 30 years and will contribute directly to the building of over 1000 new affordable homes across Wales.

Twenty Housing Associations are already taking part in the scheme, with coverage across all 22 local authority areas in Wales. Construction work on the first projects will commence in 2013.

Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Carl Sargeant said: “Delivering quality, affordable housing to the people of Wales is my priority and so I am delighted to launch this important and innovative new package today.

“It’s vital that the private and public sectors are supported in building new homes so that we can continue to work towards, and indeed exceed our target of providing 7,500 affordable homes during the term of this Welsh Government.

“This scheme is just the beginning in my search for new ways of increasing housing supply in Wales. Building new homes is important not only in meeting the growing housing need of communities but also as a way of providing work to help people out of poverty and to counter the highly damaging effects of the UK Government’s ‘bedroom tax’.

Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance said: “The Welsh Housing Finance Grant Scheme shows our commitment to finding new and innovative ways of investing in affordable housing across Wales.  As budgets get tighter we have to consider all avenues of funding that are available to us to help us deliver our priorities.

“This scheme is a real example of what can be achieved when the public sector and private sector work together.  Following the success of this initiative, I now hope we can use this type of funding to generate more investment in affordable housing.”

As part of the scheme, M&G Investments are providing the main new source of finance for Wales’s Registered Social Landlords, in light of the lack of long term funding currently available from the banks and building societies.

Mark Davie, Head of Social Housing at M&G Investments said: “We are pleased to support this exciting initiative by the Welsh Government, which sees Welsh housing associations gain access to £153 million of long term funding, in order to meet their house-building goals over the coming years.”