Headlines: December 3rd, 2008

Wales is to put 350 million pounds into cross-cutting and strategic capital projects to help the country’s economy. The full value of the investment is likely to be more than doubled when funds from existing departmental capital budgets, local authorities and other parts of the public sector as well as the private and voluntary sectors is taken into account.

The Strategic Capital Investment Fund was announced by Andrew Davies, the Welsh Assembly Minister for Finance and Public Service Delivery, who said it marked a step change in the Welsh Government’s approach to planning and delivering capital investment. The projects will be spread across six strategic areas – regeneration, positive lifestyles, climate change, sustainable transport, resilience and skills.

Mr. Davies said the Fund would be overseen by a dedicated Cabinet Committee with advice from a new independent expert panel. “The members of the advisory panel bring a wealth of experience of planning, developing, financing and delivering large capital projects and programmes, and have already been able to add considerable value to the development of our investment agenda,” he said.

He said the Fund was an innovative and exciting way of investing in capital projects and would bring big benefits as a source of money that could be brought forward quickly to have a real impact. “It shows how Wales as a small country can respond rapidly to global economic difficulties,” he added.