Tests for the Circuit of Wales

A striking feature of the Circuit of Wales story so far has been the mismatch between the rhetoric from those behind the project and the eventual decisions made by the Welsh Government.

Both previous attempts to get ministers to commit public money to underwrite the cost ended up being rejected despite the build-up dominated by bullish comments from directors.

This time they appear to be getting closer. Ken Skates told AMs this is the best proposal yet from the Circuit of Wales team.

But there is still a gap. The statement from the circuit gives an overwhelming impression of T's being crossed and I's being dotted.

It describes the due diligence as "confirmatory", while in contrast the Welsh Government statement includes a list of "rigorous" checks and poses the fundamental question of whether it is a project that can benefit the people of Blaenau Gwent and the Welsh economy.


It even includes a fit and proper person assessment of the directors as one of the tests. This is standard practice for due diligence but it is unusual for it to be name-checked in a relatively short statement.

Ministers are clearly not only looking at what is planned but who is behind it as well.

Until now, the major sticking point has been the level of risk taken on board by the taxpayer.

An attempt is clearly being made to address this point but the due diligence is much wider, including making a judgement on how commercially viable the project is in the long run.

And when it comes down to it, this may end up being the key point of debate when the Welsh Government cabinet makes a final call in around two months.