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Friday, February 8, 2013

Minister quizzed over North Wales prison

With those against a prison being built in North Wales claiming it would not create economic benefits, an Assembly Member has called for the Welsh Government to establish the facts.
North Wales Regional AM and Shadow Minister for North Wales, Mark Isherwood, raised the matter with the Minister for Business this week.
He said: "Although it is reported that a prison in north Wales could create 1,000 jobs, and the Wrexham Business Professionals group, for example, said that it could bring much-needed social and economic benefits to the region, opponents -and there are always opponents to everything - claim that many of the jobs would be imported from prisons elsewhere, and that factories on the Wrexham industrial estate, if it went there, would be driven away. What discussions can you or will you have with the UK Government to establish the true costs and benefits so that, in ensuring public engagement, we are dealing with the facts, the real benefits, and the true economic gain."
The Minister told Mr Isherwood that there are plenty of sites in north Wales that are suitable for the development of a prison and assured him that no businesses would have to vacate their sites to accommodate it.
Speaking in the Chamber Mr Isherwood also questioned the First Minister over the prison proposals, asking what role the Welsh Government is playing in assessing the feasibility of proposed North Wales sites, particularly given that, in 2009, the Caernarfon site was cancelled on the basis that it was no longer considered feasible for the proposed provision.
The First Minister said the Welsh Government are working with the Ministry Of Justice in terms of what sites it is looking to identify.
He said: "It is important that a site in the north of Wales is identified as a site for a prison. As part of that work, examining the potential sites will be important to ensure that the prison goes ahead."

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