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Black asks Government for debate on GB Rally

April 28, 2009 3:50 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black, has called for a full statement in the National Assembly on the future of the Wales GB Rally.

Mr. Black raised the issue during the Government business statement with the Leader of the House, Carwyn Jones.

The Welsh Government has taken a decision to stop their funding to the event this year. This is despite the fact that a contract had previously been signed by the Government committing them to funding until 2011. There is no confirmation yet on whether the event will still be able to go ahead as a result in the drop in funding.

In addition Mr. Black alluded to the decision by Rally organisers IMS, to move the rally's service centre from its site in Felindre, to Cardiff. A study by Swansea Council in 2007 showed that hosting this part of the event was worth around £1.7 million in economic benefit to the city.

Peter Black said: "There are two separate but important issues here. The Government obviously has to tighten its belt at the moment in these tough financial times. However, the wrong way to do this is to cut funding for events that make a positive contribution to the economy of Wales. The Economic Development Minister has stated that he is committed to helping businesses in the recession, but at the same time he is putting an event at risk which brings money and people to local hotels, B&Bs, pubs and restaurants and which is worth millions of pounds to the Welsh economy."

"But there is also an issue that if the event does go ahead there will no longer be the Swansea service station. Swansea businesses are suffering many of the same hardships that those based in Cardiff are, but have far less big events to count on to boost their coffers. To lose something that makes such a large contribution to the City is a significant blow."

"There needs to be an opportunity for Assembly Members to explore these issues further in the Assembly chamber."