Three Carmarthenshire politicians have spoken with a united voice to call on the Welsh Government to "put its money where its mouth is" and support Yr Egin project in Carmarthen or potentially risk jeopardising the entire Swansea Bay City Region deal.
Broadcaster S4C has announced its intention to re-locate to Carmarthen. Yr Egin is an associated project aimed at maximising the broadcaster's move to develop a creative industries cluster, with proposals already underway for local BBC staff and other production companies to locate to the hub.
Responding to BBC reports that the Welsh Government's advisory panel has recommend the Economy Secretary rejects a request for funding from project lead, University of Wales Trinity St. David, local Plaid Cymru politicians have said a failure of the Welsh Government to support the project risks unravelling the £1.3billion City Deal which has Yr Egin at its heart.
Shadow Economy Secretary and Carmarthenshire Assembly Member, Adam Price said:
"Continued speculation risks scuttling not only Yr Egin project, but the entire Swansea Bay City Deal and the £1.3billion investment south west Wales will realise over the coming years.
"That deal kicks off with Yr Egin project at its heart, but rumours risk jeopardising the £250million of investments planned in Carmarthenshire alone.
"The first phase of Yr Egin project has the potential to bring the equivalent of 850 full time jobs, and increase the region's GVA by almost £8million.
"Carmarthenshire can see greater rewards each and every year over and above what the Welsh Government is being asked to offer as an initial contribution towards the cost of the project.
"Yr Egin project can maximise the benefits of S4C's relocation, using the broadcaster as an anchor to attract more companies to create a vibrant creative industries hub in west Wales. There are already a number of local, national and international companies waiting in the wings for the project to get underway.
"This project poses no financial risk whatsoever to the Welsh Government. The University has presented a series of funding proposals which would see the taxpayer fully reimbursed if the project doesn't meet the performance criteria agreed. So, with the university acting as a guarantor for the investment, we have to ask the Welsh Government: what's stopping you?"
Jonathan Edwards MP added:
"The University and County Council have worked tremendously hard to put together a robust and hugely exciting development which has the potential to create jobs, deliver a shot in the arm of the regional economy and create what could be the jewel in the crown of Carmarthenshire.
"Whilst the S4C move itself would be sensational for the area, the opportunity for us to host a digital and creative industries hub can be transformational for the entire region.
"There is no rational argument why the Welsh Government shouldn't support this project, and we would urge the Economy Secretary to get behind the project and get behind west Wales."
"Just last week the Minister talked a good game of distributing wealth across Wales and tackling the economic problems which blight rural communities – well now's the time for the Welsh Government to put its money where its mouth is, quite literally, and not snub west Wales or risk the entire City Deal unravelling."
Regional Assembly Member, Simon Thomas added:
"Yr Egin project has been submitted as a fundamental part Carmarthenshire's role in the Swansea Bay City Deal which is set to revitalise the west Wales economy. Were the Welsh Government to reject this project it would send out a signal that the Welsh Government believes Wales stops at Swansea.
"The government needs to negotiate with the university to reprofile the financial support. This minimises the financial risk to the taxpayer and means we have everything to gain from this investment. If the government believes in investment and economic development in all parts of Wales, it must move ahead to support the Egin and the wider City Deal."
Images: University of Wales Trinity St. David.