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IWA: Shared Prosperity Fund is ‘a deliberate retrenchment of devolution to Wales’

19 Apr 2022 3 minute read
The Senedd. Picture by Senedd Cymru.

An independent think tank has described the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund as a “deliberate retrenchment of devolution to Wales”.

UK Government ministers announced details of the programme which is meant to replace EU support following Brexit last week, claiming communities in Wales had been “handed control of £585 million” to level up.

Under the previous EU aid system, the Welsh government administered the cash in agreement with the European Commission.

Under the new scheme, local authorities will be encouraged to work together on regional committees to decide how the money will be used – with the Welsh Government effectively bypassed on spending decisions.

Lack of respect

In a response to the publication of details of the new programme, a report from the Institute of Welsh Affairs, while welcoming some developments, said: “We are disappointed at the lack of respect given to devolved institutions in Wales. The prospectus very clearly seeks to elevate the role of MPs above that of MSs or even the Welsh Government.

“This is an area that was formerly held at a Wales level but that has been taken back without consent to a Westminster level.

“It deliberately cuts out any formal role for the Welsh Government or MSs.

“The new system also requires local authorities to work to UK Government priorities and to gain the sign-off of UK Government Ministers for local schemes.

“The prospectus also calls for the Secretary of State for Wales to be involved in plans, but not the Welsh Government. One is elected by the people of Wales, and one is not.

“On funding: it is clear now that Wales will lose out on funding. In addition to this, the way the funding formula has been put together would appear to move money out of the most deprived areas in comparison to the former funding regime.

“This means that the overall pot of money for Wales appears to be smaller, with this reduced pot of funding being directed away from the most deprived areas. This means that areas most in need of funding could stand to lose significant amounts.

“A deprived area in Wales will now have less funding and require sign-off from Westminster politicians to use it.

Disappointing

The IWA’s Economic Policy Lead Harry Thompson said: “This is ultimately a disappointing scheme that will not ‘level up’ Wales. The promise to Welsh voters of ‘not a penny less’ than EU funding has been broken, and the remaining funding has been partially diverted away from the most deprived areas in Wales.

“Large parts of the UKSPF are designed not on sound economic development principles but rather based on the political desire to cut the Welsh Government and Senedd out of decision-making, returning the final say to Westminster – be that MPs, the UK Government, or the Secretary of State for Wales. This is a deliberate retrenchment of devolution to Wales.

“If local authorities can nominate their respective CJC as their ‘lead authority’, and the Welsh Government can convene a coordinating body for local authorities to coordinate spending via their CJC, some progress can be made.

This would allow a forum for economic development priorities at a local, regional, and national level to be discussed and coordinated.”


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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

The fact is Wales is not only losing hundreds of millions in structural funding now wrap up in this facade called “Shared Prosperity Fund”, but is having its democratic right to spend that money undemocratically taken away like Russia would the sovereignty of Ukraine by this tyrannical Tory idiocracy. Unionist & Brexiteers always led us to believe how it was the European Union who were the undemocratic faceless bureaucrats. The very same now condone the Tory power grab of Senedd powers and their imposition of English direct rule on Wales regarding its ability to spend that money which is a… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
5 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

It falls neatly and precisely into Richard Price’s definitions of slavery and tyranny which he used to justify bloody revolution…. and he was a man of the cloth!

Arwyn
Arwyn
5 months ago

There’s no surprise at all. The Tory party has long been characterised by anglo-British exceptionalism. More recently they have put away their Unionism in which they celebrated and lauded a union of four nations. You will now hear Tories talk of a fictitious “single, contiguous British nation.” In doing so they ceased to be conservative or unionist. They are now a rabble of radical, ultra libertarian British Nationalists. The only silver lining I can see here is how they have pushed so many in Welsh Labour into the independence camp. The more they assert their “Muscular Unionism” the closer our… Read more »

Llinos
Llinos
5 months ago

Shared prosperity meaning England is going to steal our money. Yep. Got it. The usual.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
5 months ago

Sadly, I think the Welsh people are going to have to suck it up until the English electorate vote these BritNat anti-devolutionists out of office in a UK election. There’ll be more of this until then. Welsh pro-Brexit voters were lied to. End of.
The Welsh Government can at least minimise a little of the damage being done to this country by legislating in a number of crucial areas, e.g. housing in the tourist playground areas, and the wholesale purchase of Welsh farmland through the ‘Carbon offsetting’ scam.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
5 months ago
Reply to  Rhosddu

A change of government in Westminster won’t make any difference, I can’t see Keir Starmer undoing this policy. When it comes to over-centralising government English Labour are just as bad as the Tories.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
5 months ago

Welsh Labour and the Senedd has to realise that the UK Gov.is going to keep on chipping away at its powers with the ultimate aim of gaining complete control once again. There is ONLY one option left – Independence. Our country is slowly being re-colonised, we must get out before it is too late !

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