‘Levelled down’: UK Government accused of giving Wales £329m less this year than EU would have
The Welsh Government has accused the UK Government of “levelling down” Wales as it was revealed that the country would get £329m less this year than it would have received from the EU if it was still a member.
The Community Renewal Fund – announced by Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove MP today – announced earlier today its new scheme to replace EU funds post-Brexit.
Wales will receive £46m this year. Had Wales and the UK remained in the EU, we’d have received £375m.
A Welsh Government source said that the announcement showed that Wales had been led up the garden path by the UK Government’s post-Brexit promises.
“Throughout the Brexit debate, the UK Government gave repeated assurances Wales would not lose ‘a single penny’ of EU funding should the UK exit the EU,” the spokesperson said.
“Today’s announcement by the UK Government shows they are short-changing Wales by cutting the replacement funding we were promised. Instead of Wales receiving at least £375m annually in new money to invest from January this year, it confirms Wales will receive just £46m. This is not “levelling up”, it’s levelling down.
“The UK Government also promised devolved powers would be respected. The unconstitutional Internal Market Act undermines democratic devolution by stopping decisions about Wales being taken in Wales.
“It is yet another clear demonstration the people of Wales have been misled by the UK Government.”
The Welsh Conservatives however said that the £46 million was another example of the UK Government’s commitment to levelling up Wales.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Culture and Tourism, Tom Giffard MS, said that the “fantastic new fund just goes to show how committed the UK Conservative Government is to helping people in Wales”.
“As we start working to help our economy bounce back from the pandemic, it is vital that we boost people’s skills to help them into employment and support local businesses,” he said.
“This fund builds on the success of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget last week when he announced an investment of more than £121 million directly into communities in Wales and an extra £2.5 billion a year for the Welsh Government budget.”
Projects being funded in Wales include:
- £197,122 to support unemployed and disadvantaged people in Carmarthenshire to start their own businesses by investing in digital, employability and entrepreneurial skills. It will also fund a bootcamp for female entrepreneurs, creating a networking group for women in business.
- £45,900 to upgrade trails in the Dinas Mawddwy area of Gwynedd. A key part of improvements will make the trails more accessible to those with disabilities, helping to protect community networks and ensure the outdoors is open to all.
- £629,341 to support and fund manufacturers in Denbighshire to implement new or improved digital manufacturing strategies.
- £66,300 to deliver deaf awareness training and basic British Sign Language to customer facing staff at range of businesses and organisations throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf.
- £61,342 to fund a full feasibility study to improve visitor access to Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire which will benefit local businesses and ensure the environment is protected while increasing tourism.
- £1 million to establish a Creative Industry Training Programme (CITP) which will provide a collaborative way of working, supporting training and learning opportunities in venues across Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff.
A combined total of 160 projects across every Welsh local authority will receive a share of £46 million.