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Mark Drakeford ‘irresponsible’ and ‘particularly disingenuous’ on UK Government funding for Wales says Simon Hart

26 Feb 2022 4 minute read
Simon Hart (left) by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0). Mark Drakeford AM (right), picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

The Welsh Secretary has said that the Welsh Government has been “particularly disingenuous” and the Mark Drakeford “very irresponsible” on the issue of funding by the UK Government.

He said that there was an effort to “deliberately confuse” positive economic stories about support the UK Government was giving Wales.

“I think it is very irresponsible of the First Minister to potentially damage economic recovery on the back of a political opportunity,” he said.

Earlier this month the First Minister said that Wales had been denied money it had been promised as a result of the UK Government’s plan for an energy costs rebate in England.

This claim was denied by the UK Government, saying that Wales will receive £180m under the Barnett Formula.

Finance Minister Rebecca Evans later clarified that the £180m increase had been offset by a £189m reduction in how much the Treasury had said they would receive in January elsewhere due to a reduced need for Covid restrictions.

Speaking at the Welsh Affairs Committee this week, Welsh Secretary Simon Hart was asked by Chair Stephen Crabb MP why the figures were disputed “when you are dealing with numbers that should have a basis in fact?”

Simon Hart answered that there is “always a bit of politics in play” and “I do not think anybody in this room will be surprised by that”.

‘Indisputable’

“I think that in this instance the Welsh Government were particularly disingenuous in trying to conflate two totally separate issues,” the Welsh Secretary said.

“It is not often that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury takes to the airwaves instantaneously in a fit of real indignation and frustration about something that was a positive story for families and businesses in Wales getting deliberately confused as a result of a political intervention.

He said that it was “absolutely indisputable” that the £180m was new money that Wales would be receiving, but of the money promised for Covid restrictions “it is also indisputable that estimates are estimates, and always have been”.

“They have always had the caveat of, ‘Do not base your budgets on these estimates because they will change.’ As a result of the success of the vaccination programme, and our early exit from some of the covid restrictions, those estimates about health spending were reduced. That is a thing to be happy about.

“As a consequence of that, the [money made available to Wales] was reduced by a similar proportion. That is not people being deprived of money they were due; it
is a result of a successful vaccination programme saving thousands of jobs and thousands of businesses.

“To conflate one with two is nothing more than political, and actually damages job creation and job-sustaining opportunities in Wales.

“I think it is very irresponsible of the First Minister to potentially damage economic recovery on the back of a political opportunity.”

‘Disappointing’

On February the 15th the Welsh Government announced a £150 cost-of-living payment and an extra £200 for low-income households through the Winter Fuel Payment next winter.

The £150 cost-of-living payment will be provided to all households who live in properties in council tax bands A-D, as well as recipients of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in all bands.

Announcing the support, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said that the extra support was being provided despite “no additional funding” by the Treasury, which she called a “disappointing decision by the UK Government”.

She claimed that despite this the Welsh Government had gone “above and beyond” in providing support for households.

“We believe the action that we take will make a real difference, but people still face challenges,” she said. “Those major levels lie in the hands of the UK Government and we don’t have them here in Wales.

“We need to see a change of approach from Westminster. We need to see them step up to support people. Let’s share some of that wealth with people who are struggling to pay their bills.

“We will continue to make the case to the UK Government that they change their approach.”


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Richard
Richard
6 months ago

This has just got to stop Simon.

You and Mark D need to sort this out for the people you have been appointed – not annointed – to serve..

Your role is to move outside being the
westminster gvts voice in Wales to being Wales voice in Westminster.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard

That will never happen because he is only the UK government’s voice in Wales. He has never represented Wales in parliament. For me the voice of Wales in London has always been Liz Saville – Roberts.

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
6 months ago

I know which one I would trust to be honest with me, and which is supportive of the Welsh people. It is NOT the Westminster ‘placeman’ who could not care less about us.

Paul
Paul
6 months ago

Hart has a dual role. One is to force Westminsters will on Wales. The second is to attack the Welsh government. We have no need of his kind here.

Arwyn
Arwyn
6 months ago

I don’t know why Welsh Labour flogs the UK dead horse, claiming that what Wales needs is a decent government in Westminster to give us a fair deal. How many years of Tory government have we endured since 1945? That’s what we get more often than not. WALES HAS NEVER EVER RETURNED A TORY MAJORITY SINCE THE REFORM ACT OF 1832 FIRST GAVE THE VOTE TO A SMALL PORTION OF THE POPULATION. THE TORIES HAVE NO MANDATE IN WALES BUT LABOUR LETS THEM GOVERN US.

Sorry for the shouting but it gets on my wick … understatement!

Last edited 6 months ago by Arwyn
Lionel Schwarz
Lionel Schwarz
6 months ago
Reply to  Arwyn

I did ask “what mandate” and present some facts?

However given that the rest of my comments didn’t contain the vile comments, Ifan Bach, true to form, deleted them.

No wonder the National is a more professional and respected outlet.

Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
6 months ago

I suggest that he gets his Government to pay consequential monies to Wales because of HS2. Then perhaps we could consider taking him seriously

Dewi Williamswhat
Dewi Williamswhat
6 months ago

Given the choice of which version to believe between the version of this abject and servile excuse for a representative of Welsh interests and Mark Drakeford’s version, there is no contest. MD wins hands down. Hart’s boss, the mendacious Boris, stated EU funding received by Wales would be matched not a penny piece less. This is a known defined figure. Instead of confusing the issue with is use of distracting words such as “conflated”, why can’t he give us in more simple terms how this matched figure is to be delivered, and if not as one whole amount then in… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
6 months ago

Johnson’s gang looked at Trump and Putin and thought that we’d be suckers for propaganda like this. You missed the far right loony bus Hart.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
6 months ago

Does Simon Hart actually know where Wales is? Given that there is a strong Tory tendency to be bad a Geography, his little speech make me wonder if they also have a tendency to be bad at accounting (unless it involves counting slush money from Russians, the City, Fossil Fuel firms, etc.) Might we not do better if he were to resign his post and the idea of a Welsh Secretary was just abandoned. It seems to be a role that never does the Cymru any good.

Quornby
Quornby
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Quite right…… his role was made redundant when the Senedd was established. We know that he’d like to be a govenor General with a silly feathered hat but those days are gone forever.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
6 months ago

Simon; can you explain why the sole piece of EU regulation you got rid of now allows you to hide billions of quids worth of fraud?

The names of thousands of companies which benefited from billions of pounds of Covid-19 loans schemes are to be kept confidential under new government rules to only publish state subsidies of £500,000 or more.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago

The Tories have robbed our Senedd Cymru of hundreds of millions, not only with damage done to our Welsh economy with Brexit, their cynical England & Wales HS2 build robbing Wales of any consequential, but the reduction of our once EU Structural Funding from £300m per year to a mere £46m. They even stole Senedd power to administrate those funds. Mark of a Tory Stalinist centralised dictatorship Putin would be proud of. So when I hear England antagonist Simon Hart saying Wales should be grateful for what it doesn’t get is yet another slap to the face of the Welsh… Read more »

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
6 months ago

Hmm, who to trust, Mark Drakeford or Simon Hart. Sorry Simon, it could never be you, for the one chief reason that you are a proven liar and have as much desire for the success of Wales as I do for England in the 6 Nations.

Erisian
Erisian
6 months ago

Will you please stop calling that man the Welsh Secretary. He is the Secretary of State for Wales. There is a BIG difference. There shouldn’t be – but there is.
He is none of ours and all of theirs.
Save the title of Welsh Secretary until we have one who puts Wales first.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
6 months ago

Since brexit, in particular, the Senedd has complained about the loss of money – which I am inclined to believe looking at the evidence. However, we the public need open accessible viewing of all the money Wales now receives from Westminster and what we were receiving before brexit. I suspect Westminster is slowly trying to strangle the Senedd out of existence, part of the UK government’s brexit’s take back control of everything policy.

Mick Tems
Mick Tems
6 months ago

Typical far-right Tory – but we can find a few crumbs of comfort. According to The Sunday Times poll, Hart and other Tory MPs in Wales are going to be smashed to hell in the next General Election.

Quornby
Quornby
6 months ago
Reply to  Mick Tems

Quite right Mick but shhh! They might send in their tanks like the lunatic in Russia.

Quornby
Quornby
6 months ago

Will someone tell this Quisling that the Welsh pay taxes too and if we received the share we are entitled to we’d have to subsidise the English. Latest estimates show that “refurbishing” the Westminster gothic Parliament building will be equal to the whole Welsh budget so I guess we are subsidising them already.

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