Conservative MS raises concerns over delays with post-Brexit replacement grant for EU funding
A Welsh Conservative has told the Senedd that the new UK subsidy control regime is taking so long to navigate that it’s having a detrimental impact on a business in his constituency.
The new regime attempts to replace the grant funding that previously came from the European Union programmes.
Joel James MS was speaking in the Senedd yesterday (17 January) when he asked Mark Drakeford, in First Minister’s Question’s, to make a statement “On the impact of the recent transition to the new UK subsidy control regime.”
Mr James who represents South Wales Central said: “I recently met with a business within my region who are developing technologies that will have a profound impact on helping to reverse the effects of climate change.”
The business in question, added Mr James, “… are in the process of applying for Welsh Government funding. But it seems like the whole process is taking considerable time and much longer than previous applications, which is having a detrimental impact on their forward planning …”
Mr Drakeford said the UK subsidy control regime, “… is not the one the Welsh Government would have designed, and nor was it supported by this Senedd. We will work, however, with public authorities to equip staff, to understand and utilise the new regime, mitigating its many imperfections.”
Mr James asked what the Welsh Government is doing “to smooth the transition into the new system?”
Mr Drakeford said: “The new subsidy regime is already in force (since) 5 January. I’m obviously not aware of the details of the individual case that Joel James mentions, but I would not be surprised to find that the new complexities of the subsidy regime are playing their part in any delays …
“… In the longer run there are new risks in the subsidy control arrangements and risks that will fall particularly hard on us here in Wales.”
Welsh Labour MS for Blaenau Gwent, Alun Davies said: “That is no surprise is it First Minister? That something created by this UK Government will adversely affect Wales.
“The Scots have learned this week about the UK Government’s disregard for democracy … we have a chaotic subsidy control regime introduced post Brexit where the reality of taking back control was not to give back control to the people of Wales, to the communities of Wales, to enable businesses to flourish, but to take back control to a few ministers in London …”
Mayfair v Merthyr
Mr Drakeford said the Senedd had denied legislative consent to the UK Bill on 1 March last year, but the Welsh Parliament was “simply ignored” by the UK Government which went ahead “and imposed this solution on us anyway”.
The first draft of the Bill referred to the levelling-up principles of the UK Government said Mr Drakeford.
“That was abandoned by the time the Bill reached the statute book. So, as my colleague Rebecca Evans said in her letter to the UK Government before our consent motion was debated, the Bill puts Mayfair and Merthyr on exactly the same basis when it comes to providing subsidies.
“That simply means that those with the deepest pockets will use that advantage to make themselves even more advantaged, while those with the least will end up with the greatest struggle.”
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