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"UK Ministers must respect devolution": Welsh Government calls for fair funding for freeports

The UK Government will "undermine devolution if they establish freeports in Scotland and Cymru without reaching agreement with devolved governments", according to Scottish and Welsh Ministers.

Despite both devolved governments remaining committed to working with the UK Government, UK Ministers have signalled their intention to move forward without devolved consent, and have failed to provide assurances they will not legislate in devolved areas.

Scottish and Welsh Ministers have said that they will robustly challenge any attempt by the UK Government to legislate in devolved matters.

Ministers are also seeking urgent clarity from the UK Government on joint decision making and funding allocations as UK Ministers have been unwilling to guarantee that funding for ports in Scotland and Cymru would match amounts being offered in England.

The Scottish Government has said that it has been trying to work with the UK Government to ensure the UK freeport proposal reflects the needs of businesses and communities in Scotland.

Adapting UK Government proposals, new Scottish green ports would aim to offer a package of assistance to businesses that adopt fair work practices and contribute to Scotland’s just transition to a net zero emissions economy.

The Welsh Government has again written to the UK Government asking for an urgent discussion on how they can take these plans forward given there has yet to be a formal offer made for a freeport to be established in Cymru.

Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said: “We have consistently attempted to engage constructively with the UK Government and reach agreement on a way of implementing freeports in Wales which is consistent with our priorities and values as a Government.

“The UK Government is pressuring the Welsh Government to redirect its resources to deliver a UK Government policy priority. This approach is unacceptable to us, and we have made clear that the UK Government needs to demonstrate the same level of financial commitment to Freeports in Wales as they have in England.”

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