A Plaid Cymru government will embark upon the biggest programme of reconstruction our nation has seen since devolution. We will establish a new body, the National Infrastructure Commission Wales, (NICW), an independent public corporation that will be responsible for planning, funding and delivering the aspirations set out in the National Infrastructure Investment Plan.
NICW will develop as a centre of specialist knowledge in the procurement and project management of major infrastructure projects to achieve best value for money while maximizing opportunities for Welsh firms in partnership with the National Procurement Service together with sector-specific non-profit distributing organisations.
Projects in transport, for example, will involve substantial investment in new rolling stock, creating new economic opportunities for local manufacturers for innovation and collaboration. Similarly in energy generation we will seek to maximise the proportion of the new technology that is manufactured in Wales. In housing we will support the manufacture of public rental housing in German-style house factories.
NICW will seek to arrange for the funding of these projects in a variety of different ways, including from the European Investment Bank and other European institutions, UK sources like the Green Investment bank and Infrastructure UK, working with local authorities, pension funds and other institutional investors and using long term leasing arrangements to raise funds independently of the UK Government’s balance sheet, enabling it to borrow additional funding at historically low interest rates to invest in vital Welsh infrastructure projects, creating jobs in the Welsh economy.
Investing using these sources of finance, together with those of the Welsh Government will enable us to double the current capital investment totals with an additional £1.5 billion of investment per year. The borrowing would be for long periods (e.g. 25 years) and we anticipate that the debt service ratio would be some 2.2% after five years at the end of the first Senedd term, and it is not intended that the debt service for all outstanding debt would rise above 4.5% under a long term rolling investment programme.
Our broad priorities for investment, beyond those contained in current spending plans, would include:
- housing where it would be possible for an additional 10,000 homes to be built beyond current targets, for local and affordable housing needs throughout Wales
- a comprehensive programme to improve the energy efficiency of housing in Wales with a sustained programme over the next twenty years o creating a network of local energy grids for Wales.
- creating the south-east Metro as well as a similar Metro-style network for both north Wales and Swansea and the western valleys
- creating a national rail link from north to south along the west Wales coast.