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Welsh transport secretary: Brexit uncertainty killing investment opportunities

The man responsible for delivering infrastructure to Wales has blamed increasing uncertainty surrounding Brexit for the lack of investment in the country and believes a no-deal Brexit would have “catastrophic consequences”. 

Ken Skates has highlighted one particular investment that would bring 250 "incredibly well paid jobs" to north Wales as being dependent on the event of Brexit and the deal that is achieved by Theresa May.

In a press briefing to journalists, the Welsh minister said investments were being put on pause due to Brexit and while he made no mention of the company that is behind the 250 job investment, its bosses were happy for Skates to make people aware of the situation.

“Brexit is less than 40 days away and after two years of deep uncertainty, we are seeing investment decisions paused and cancelled and opportunity costs to due to the inactivity and uncertainty of this UK government,” Skates warned. “The fact remains in the event of a no-deal Brexit our economy would face catastrophic consequences and could shrink by 10%. These are real job opportunities that are on the line and being lost as a consequence of the prime minister's inability to secure a deal that works for people and businesses."

In the autumn, the minister also spoke about how Whitehall short-sightedness had damaged Welsh progress on vital infrastructure projects.

Those across the Severn Bridge believe Westminster has let the country down when it comes to scrapping plans to electrify the rail line between Cardiff and Swansea in July 2017 and then rejecting a plan for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea at the end of June.

Skates once again called for more investment from the UK Government last month after the decision to suspend the multi-billion pound Wylfa B nuclear project in Anglesey. 

To make up for lost opportunities like Wylfa, the transport secretary said the Welsh government was prepared to invest more heavily in school and road building projects to stimulate the economy.

Skates added: “We are looking at capital projects we can influence and how we can bring those forward in north west Wales. These are schemes like the 21st century schools and health related projects, like hospital buildings and health centres. We know these projects make a big difference to local economies.”

If you would like to contact Ryan Tute about this, or any other story, please email rtute@infrastructure-intelligence.com.