“London is in chaos, but Wales needs certainty” – Welsh Government calls for urgent clarity on vital future funding from the UK
Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans is today calling for the UK government to provide urgent clarity on vital future funding for Wales.
Speaking at a conference in Cardiff today Rebecca Evans will say:
Since the referendum, our calls to the UK government on investment to replace EU funds have been consistent and clear. We have called for not a penny less than we would have expected within the EU and for the Welsh Government to retain autonomy in the development and delivery of successor arrangements. We simply want the pledges made to the people of Wales during the referendum to be honoured, with no exceptions, and for devolution, voted for twice by the people of Wales, to be respected.
But after 3 years of empty promises and the UK government’s repeated refusal to engage meaningfully with us, we are still unclear what the future of funding in Wales will look like.
Just days ago Boris Johnson made it clear on a visit to Cardiff, that whilst he intends to replace funding in full, there would need to be a strong Conservative influence on how this is spent to ensure value for the taxpayer.
Not only is this inconsistent with devolution in Wales, but there is little evidence to suggest that Conservative-directed funding provides taxpayer value. A recent report by the Public Accounts Committee worryingly highlighted there were no clear objectives or understanding of the impact of £12 billion of Conservative-directed Local Growth Fund investment in England.
The minister continued:
In stark contrast to the UK government’s chaotic handling of its proposals on the Shared Prosperity Fund, our approach to the development of a future regional investment approach has been immediate, clear and outward looking. The people, businesses and communities in Wales are too important for us to stand still and wait for the UK government to resolve its internal problems.
We have a distinctive legislative and policy landscape in Wales that points us towards a different approach to the limited one being proposed by the UK government. Discussions with our partners in Wales have identified key areas to focus on in a future model. The need to support more productive and competitive businesses, healthier and more resilient communities, and the transition to a zero-Carbon economy.
In summary the Finance Minister will say:
The UK government’s proposed consultation of the Shared Prosperity Fund adds uncertainty that threatens to undermine the work underway in Wales. I hope that the summer provides the opportunity for a new Prime Minister and Cabinet to reset their position and reaffirm their commitments to devolution and funding for Wales through actions, and not just words.
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