Exiting the EU would mean an influx of spending on the “region” of Wales, according to the Brexit Party’s candidate in tomorrow’s Brecon and Radnorshire byelection.
Ex-police officer Des Parkinson said he believes that more funding for projects in Brecon and Radnorshire would become available if the money invested in EU membership was saved.
“Nigel Farage has said that one of the things the Brexit Party would do if they came to power would be to not pay the EU the £39 billion or at least the majority of it,” he said.
“[We’d also] scrap HS2, halve the overseas budget and over a period of a few years that would be a saving £200 billion which would be spent, not in the London area, but on the regions.
“Obviously Wales is one of the regions. There would be a major influx of development funding for the regions.”
In 2016, it was estimated that Wales receives £245 million more from the European Union than it pays in.
However, Des Parkinson said that the Brexit Party believed that more money would be available and that it was keen to invest it in start-up businesses.
“A retail business, would not have to pay business rates for the first 3 years for example,” he said. “The money would be there to do it.
“Superfast Broadband as well. Let’s get going on that. We’re below Romania in terms of Superfast broadband, it’s unbelievable.”
Despite Boris Johnson’s installation as Prime Minister, and his harder stance on a no-deal Brexit, Des Parkinson believes voters should back the Brexit Party to send a message.
“If you look at Government in the last three years under Theresa May, it’s been an absolute shambles,” he says.
“People say to me I’ve never seen a Government as bad as this – as inefficient as this. You hold a referendum and say, ‘whatever you decide we’re going to do’ – and they don’t.
“The whole process has been a mess. People see that. I think Parliament doesn’t represent the views of the people.
“I believe this country should be self-governing – making its own decisions – having its own government – which we should do as an independent state – make our own laws.
“We should decide where it sends its money and if the people don’t like that for any reason they can change it.
“An example the other day was the Government had to pass a piece of legislation in the commons increasing the VAT on solar panels from 5 to 20 percent (because of the EU).
“We’ve got the whole climate emergency… and they come along and say right 5% to 20% thank you very much and we get no say in it. It’s ridiculous.”
However, he also stresses that the byelection will not be decided on Brexit only, and that issues particular to the constituency would also swing votes.
“We’re also about local issues which are all about local people and I’m a local person – I was brought up in Brecon and I now live in Llandrindod Wells,” he says.
“I went to the Referendum count in Powys and one could see from the ballot boxes that were coming in that the rural areas. The more farming areas were voting more heavily for Brexit than the town.
“So, the farmers voted for Brexit. Which kind of surprising, so I asked why is that?
“[The farmers] say it’s because getting subsidies via the EU from the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) system is very complicated and administrative and we want something simpler.
“The Brexit party will continue looking after the interests of farmers in terms of subsidies or something very similar after 2021 once we’re outside the EU.”
The Welsh Government have guaranteed the basic payment scheme to farmers up until 2021. Currently, the EU subsidy makes up on average around 80% of farm incomes in Wales.
“We’re in favour of subsidies beyond 2021 and we want it to be administratively simple to deal with,” Des Parkinson said.
“The Welsh Government came out with some ideas the other day and one of the things they said was to get an inspector to go to every farm.
“You can imagine how that’s going to work – you’ve going to have an army of inspectors. And if farmers don’t agree with the inspectors report there’s going to be an appeals system and it’s going to become a bureaucratic nightmare.
“We want something simple, easy and looks after farmers who look after our landscape and our food and our high wealth of standards and so on.”
He believes that the Brexit party represents the people and told us what they plan on doing over the next few months.
“What we’ll be doing over the next couple of months is having a series of regional conferences in September… to listen to what the membership say and what people say,” he said.
“So, we represent what people want. We’re in favour of small Government, lower Taxation and letting people make more decisions for themselves. “
Another pro-Brexit party, UKIP, are also fielding a candidate in tomorrow’s byelection.
Liz Phillips is a personal assistant to former UKIP leader Gerard Batten. She currently lives in Kent, but said she had lived for a long time in the Radnorshire town of Rhayader, and has lived for nine years in France.
She said that UKIP were campaigning to abolish the Welsh Assembly, which she said was a European plot to split up the United Kingdom.
“When [Brexit] happens the next thing I’d like to do is abolish a tier of government that Wales doesn’t need and that’s the Welsh Assembly,” she said.
“This is purely done from an European point of view to split up the UK. You know, Scotland has a government, and of course, England doesn’t have an assembly. England has a Parliament with all the other MPs from all the other countries in it.
“So, every MP votes on everything English but there’s no such thing as an English assembly. It’s all quite interesting.
“So, what I’d do is abolish the Welsh Assembly and get back to one layer of Government above County level and that’s national.”
She suggested that the dissatisfaction with Westminster arises from how parts of Wales have been left behind by the political establishment.
“Although I say it’s a rural constituency which of course it is – we do have Ystalafera and Ystrad Gynlais which I’ve never forgotten – which were mining towns,” she says.
“We should never have allowed these places to be closed down without an alternative… to the people in those towns. They’re mining towns in mining valleys. Although they’re nicely clean and painted… the actual areas are still very poor.
“They’re very much Labour and Labour’s done absolutely nothing. UKIP needs to be the true opposition.
“Under the new Labour with Tony Blair, you could hardly tell the difference between Labour and the Conservatives, we need to be the true opposition and work for the working man.
“It doesn’t matter whether he’s a farmer, or a miner, or a painter or decorator, we need to work for the working people.”
Despite the success of the Brexit Party at the European elections, she was confident that UKIP would rise again, she said.
Nigel Farage had now become “the establishment” and the Brexit Party would become just like the other parties, she predicted.
“Nigel Farage became the doyene if you like of the mainstream media,” she said. “At that moment we know he turned to the establishment because up until then the media had hated him.
“So as soon as they started to love him as the cheeky chap of the establishment the Brexit Party will just bare more resemblance to the Conservative Party.
“We got 27% of the vote and we tried very very hard to bring an alternative. Purely based on common sense, a sound manifesto that everybody loved.
“Unfortunately, with the rise of the Brexit Party, which sounded very good you can see that we’ve had a little bit of a divide, but we’ll come back again our time is not quite there yet – we’ve got plenty more to do.”