Ongoing UK Government delays in delivering successor EU funds for Cymru is leaving communities in the dark, which will cost Cymru job opportunities and undermine badly needed projects, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has said today.
Speaking in the Senedd, the Economy Minister reiterated how the UK-wide Community Renewal and Levelling Up funds, which have excluded the Welsh Government and are controlled by UK Government Ministers, are denying Cymru the vital investment needed to help create jobs and kick-start Cymru’s economic recovery.
The Minister said these UK funds amount to a “levelling down” for Cymru.
Under the UK Government’s plans:
The pilot to the Shared Prosperity Fund, called the Community Renewal Fund, is worth £220 million across the UK in this financial year, with Cymru expected to receive around £10m. That’s around £450,000 per local authority. Had the UK remained in the EU, Cymru would have had new EU Structural funding averaging at least £375 million each year for seven years from January 2021; this would be on top of funding from the current EU programmes.
Under the UK-wide £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, a total of £800 million has been set aside for Scotland, Cymru and Northern Ireland over four years, with Cymru expected to receive around £30 million this year. That’s around £1.3m per local authority in Cymru, confirming there is no substance behind the Levelling Up brand.
The Minister again urged the UK Government to not break long-standing commitments by restoring this funding to Cymru and reversing a "needless power grab".
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “In no way can the UK Government’s approach to post-Brexit funding be described as acceptable partnership working, let alone effective intergovernmental relations.
“This is disappointing given the Prime Minister’s commitments following the summit in June regarding more effective intergovernmental relations across the UK and the First Minister’s willingness to collaborate.
“The clear majority position in this Senedd should be noted by UK Ministers. Indeed, the people of Wales were offered a prospectus that endorsed the UK Government’s plans at this year’s Senedd elections but that did not win the support of the Welsh public. There is a clear majority for a made in Wales approach that respects devolution."