Minister for Economic Development 17.5.02


Commercially Confidential Offer Letters

Alison Halford:

 Following WAQ17141, when will the Minister be able to release all or part of the information in the offer letters that were classes as ‘commercially confidential’ since January 2000? (WAQ17545)Substantive answer following holding reply issued on 13 May.

The Minister for Economic Development (Andrew Davies):

As indicated earlier, the information on total grants above £75,000 are already routinely published in ‘Labour Market Trends’ once the first instalment of grant has been paid.If you are interested in particular companies, I will be happy to look at the information, which could be released either because a first instalment of grant had been paid or because the company had agreed to certain details going into publicity.


Unlicensed Fixed Wireless Broadband


Alison Halford:

 What consideration has the Minister given to using ‘unlicensed fixed wireless broadband’, similar to that used in rural America as a reliable and low-cost alternative to fibre-optic cable as a solution to rural connectivity, particularly in north Wales? (WAQ17560)Substantive answer following holding reply issued on 14 May.

Andrew Davies:

Wireless technology offers opportunities to bring broadband to areas of Wales where no other solution will be commercially viable—it can be particularly important in helping communities recognise the benefit of broadband.It is for this very reason that the Welsh Assembly Government has supported—with the help of Department of Trade and Industry funds—an innovative pilot community wireless broadband project in the Dyffryn Ogwen valley, north-west Wales, which uses 802.11b spread spectrum technology. I will formally launch the project later this month. It is hoped that the results will help other communities become broadband enabled.


Renewable Energy (Opportunities for North Wales)
Alison Halford:

What action is the Minister taking to ensure that companies in north Wales grasp the opportunities presented to them by the growth in the renewable energy industry? (WAQ17561)

Substantive answer following holding reply issued on 14 May.

Andrew Davies:

My energy statement in Plenary on 30 April set out the Assembly Government’s position in response to the UK Cabinet Office’s ‘The Energy Review’ for 2050, and will lead the way for the forthcoming wide-ranging public consultation exercise. My statement provided a strong message on the future direction of energy in Wales and emphasised the contribution of renewables to the Welsh energy mix. I fully expect that the Economic Development Committee’s report on its review of energy will make a valuable contribution to the debate.It is important that all companies in Wales maximise the opportunities that renewable energy will bring. There is more than £260 million in funding available both at the UK and Wales level, through the Objective 1 programme, to support and encourage the development of renewable energy. These funds could be of real significance given the potential for renewable energy in north Wales.
We are working closely with the Welsh Development Agency on the development of the renewable energy sector in Wales, and are anxious to ensure that wider economic benefits are realised through the development and support of supply chain initiatives, especially where existing expertise exists in north Wales.

Cardiff Harbour Authority Payments

Alison Halford:

Will the Minister provide a table showing (i) how much the Assembly has paid to Cardiff Harbour Authority in each financial year since 2000-01 and (ii) how much the Assembly is projected to pay Cardiff Harbour Authority in 2002-03? (WAQ17752)

Andrew Davies:

The Welsh Assembly Government pays specific grant to Cardiff County Council to cover its succession responsibilities. This includes the regeneration and project funds, completing the barrage project, other projects planned or started by Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, and the council’s harbour authority responsibilities, which represents the majority of the grant. The following table outlines the grant paid to the council in 2000-01 and 2001-02 and the grant currently projected to be paid this financial year, taking account of estimated slippage. The financial profile for 2002-03 is currently under review and will be published when agreed.Year
Grant paid £ million




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