Welsh Government job claims over £1m film studio deal “grossly exaggerated”, says Suzy Davies AM | Mae hawliadau swyddi Llywodraeth Cymru dros ddelio â stiwdio ffilm dros £1m "yn ormodol iawn" meddai Suzy Davies AC

The Welsh Government “grossly exaggerated” the economic potential of a £1m deal struck with an international film company, a Welsh Conservative AM has said.

Pinewood studios, the company behind the James Bond franchise and Carry On series, signed a five-year minimum lease agreement with the Labour administration in 2014.

The deal saw the opening of a new film studio at a site – purchased by the Welsh Government a year earlier for £5.25m – in the St Melon’s area of Cardiff.

At the time of its launch the First Minister hailed the agreement “a major coup for Wales”, with the actor Michael Sheen also giving his endorsement to the project.

Now more than three years later, the Welsh Government has reluctantly published figures which show that it is nowhere near reaching its own key performance indicators for success.

It was widely reported at the time that the studio would generate ‘up to 2000 jobs’ – a claim recorded in the minutes of a Welsh Government Cabinet meeting.

Responding to a series of questions about the deal submitted by the Welsh Conservatives to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Ken Skates AM revealed that the deal had so far generated just 50 jobs, representing a mere 2.5% of the original projection.

A press announcement made in June 2014 by the then Economy Minister Edwina Hart also stated that the deal would “generate an estimated £90m spend with Welsh businesses”.

The Welsh Government has now confirmed that to date less than 10% of this figure has been achieved.

Further to this Mr Skates disclosed that as part of the agreement, Pinewood had leased the studio rent-free for two years, essentially waiving a fee of £1.09m. It said the company had paid just £251,288.92 in rent – 18% of its rentable value to date.

Suzy Davies AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Culture, said: “It’s becoming woefully apparent that the economic potential of this deal was grossly exaggerated, and is not the magic wand Welsh Labour ministers said it would be.

“That Pinewood Studios have to date paid a mere 18% of the rentable value of the site – purchased by the Welsh Government for £5.25m – shows that the Welsh Government has little or no interest in recouping on the public’s investment.

“It now falls on the Cabinet Secretary to explain what his Labour Government is doing to secure an upturn in the studio’s productivity.

“There is a real danger that unless the site becomes more profitable then Pinewood will choose to activate its break clause and leave Wales, taking along with it a mine of untapped economic potential.”

Russell George AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Economy, said: “We expect to see creative industries playing a prominent role in the Welsh Government’s economic strategy – although when we will get to see such a strategy is anyone’s guess.

"We need assurances from the Cabinet Secretary as to how he will prevent the Pinewood brand, along with all its opportunities, from withdrawing from Wales in less than two years’ time.”

 

Mae Llywodraeth Cymru "wedi gorliwio'n ormodol" y potensial economaidd o ddelio â £1m gyda chwmni ffilm ryngwladol, meddai AC Ceidwadol Cymru.

Llofnododd stiwdios Pinewood, y cwmni y tu ôl i fasnachfraint James Bond a chyfres Carry On, gytundeb prydles isafswm pum mlynedd gyda'r weinyddiaeth Lafur yn 2014.

Gwelodd agoriad stiwdio ffilm newydd ar y safle - prynwyd gan Lywodraeth Cymru flwyddyn ynghynt am £5.25m - yn ardal St Melon yng Nghaerdydd.

Ar adeg ei lansio, dywedodd y Prif Weinidog fod y cytundeb yn "gystadleuaeth bwysig i Gymru", gyda'r actor Michael Sheen hefyd yn rhoi ei gymeradwyaeth i'r prosiect.

Yn awr fwy na thair blynedd yn ddiweddarach, mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi cyhoeddi ffigurau yn anffodus sy'n dangos nad yw'n agos at gyrraedd ei ddangosyddion perfformiad allweddol ei hun ar gyfer llwyddiant.

Fe'i hysbyswyd yn eang ar y pryd y byddai'r stiwdio yn cynhyrchu 'hyd at 2000 o swyddi' - hawliad a gofnodwyd yng nghofnodion cyfarfod Cabinet Llywodraeth Cymru.

Wrth ymateb i gyfres o gwestiynau am y fargen a gyflwynwyd gan Geidwadwyr Cymreig i Ysgrifennydd Economi y Cabinet, dywedodd Ken Skates AC fod y cytundeb hyd yn hyn wedi cynhyrchu dim ond 50 o swyddi, sy'n cynrychioli dim ond 2.5% o'r rhagamcaniad gwreiddiol.

Dywedodd y Gweinidog dros yr Economi, Edwina Hart, ym mis Mehefin 2014 hefyd y byddai'r fargen "yn cynhyrchu gwariant o tua £90 miliwn gyda busnesau Cymru."

Mae Llywodraeth Cymru bellach wedi cadarnhau bod llai na 10% o'r ffigur hwn wedi'i gyflawni hyd yn hyn.

Yn ychwanegol at hyn, datgelodd Mr Skates, fel rhan o'r cytundeb, fod Pinewood wedi prydlesu'r stiwdio am ddim am ddwy flynedd, gan roi ffi o £1.09m yn ei hanfod. Dywedodd fod y cwmni wedi talu £251,288.92 yn unig ar rent - 18% o'i werth rhentadwy hyd yn hyn.

Meddai Suzy Davies AC, Ysgrifennydd Cysgodol Ceidwadol Cymru dros Ddiwylliant: "Mae'n ymddangos yn waeth beth oedd potensial economaidd y fargen hon yn ormodol, ac nid dyma'r peth gorau dywedodd gweinidogion Llafur Cymru y byddai.

"Mae Stiwdios Pinewood hyd yn hyn wedi talu dim ond 18% o werth rhentiadwy'r safle - a brynwyd gan Lywodraeth Cymru am £5.25m - yn dangos nad oes gan Lywodraeth Cymru lawer o ddiddordeb mewn adennill buddsoddiad y cyhoedd.

"Mae bellach yn disgyn ar Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet i esbonio beth mae ei Lywodraeth Lafur yn ei wneud i sicrhau cynnydd yn gynhyrchiant y stiwdio.

"Mae perygl gwirioneddol, oni bai bod y safle'n dod yn fwy proffidiol, yna bydd Pinewood yn dewis gweithredu ei gymal seibiant a gadael Cymru, gan fwynhau potensial economaidd heb ei gwblhau."

Dywedodd Russell George AC, Ysgrifennydd Cysgodol Ceidwadol Cymru dros yr Economi: "Rydym yn disgwyl gweld diwydiannau creadigol yn chwarae rhan flaenllaw yn strategaeth economaidd Llywodraeth Cymru - er y byddwn ni'n dyfalu gweld strategaeth o'r fath.

"Mae angen sicrwydd arnom gan Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet ynghylch sut y bydd yn atal brand Pinewood, ynghyd â'i holl gyfleoedd, rhag tynnu'n ôl o Gymru mewn llai na dwy flynedd."