First Minister accuses UK government of ‘continuing to steal powers and money away from Wales’
Wales’ First Minister has accused the UK Government of continuing “to steal powers and money away from Wales.”
In an interview with LBC’s Matt Frei yesterday, Mark Drakeford explained how the governments of Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland had been holding “respectful” weekly meetings to discuss the latest news about Coronovirus.
However, the First Minister said: “In other contexts, the UK Government continue to steal powers and to steal money away from Wales.”
Matt Frei then said: “That’s quite an accusation” and challenged Mr Drakeford to “give examples.”
Mr Drakeford said: “We have had in the whole period of devolution, powers in Wales to make decisions about regional economic develeopment inside Wales. We have had money that’s come to Wales and those decisions have been made here in Wales.
“Yesterday we had a visit from a UK Secretary of State who knows very little about Wales and has no responsibilites for Wales at all. And he came to tell us that from now on he will be making those decisions.
“He’ll be making them in Whitehall; he will be using powers that belong here; he’ll be using money that should be here and people here in Wales will have no influence over those decisions. That really is the reversal of the way things ought to happen and shows that, while in some aspects, and the coronovirus virus is a better example, but in other places – this is a UK Government that continues not to respect the history of devolution and the decisions that the people of Wales made in two separate referendums to have those decisions made here on their behalf.”
"The UK Government continues to steal power and steal money away from Wales", First Minister Mark Drakeford tells LBC, citing Whitehall's actions yesterday. @mattfrei | @fmwales pic.twitter.com/OiAFQWJFe6
— LBC (@LBC) June 4, 2021
Matt Frei then asked Mr Drakeford: “Can you tell us what money this Secretary of State is talking about?”
Mr Drakeford replied: “This is a ‘so-called’ Shared Prosperity Fund – a fund which previously those funds would have been at Scotland, Northern Ireland and Welsh levels and made by ministers elected by people in those countries.
“Now that money is being collected into this ‘so-called’ Shared Prosperity Fund – there’s less money in it by the way than Wales alone would have had under the previous arrangement – and from now on, a Secretary of State in Whitehall will make those arrangements. And really that is absolutely not acceptable to us in Wales and it fuels those people that believe Wales would be better off outside the United Kingdom.”