Minister slams UK Gov attitude towards Wales as ‘breathtaking, reckless and arrogant’ over lack of EU cash replacement
A Welsh Government minister has slammed the UK Government’s attitude to Wales as “breathtaking, reckless and arrogant”.
He made the comments after it was confirmed that the replacement for EU funding in Wales will bypass Welsh Government and will be distributed directly by Whitehall to councils and other local bodies.
Lee Waters, the Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Climate Change, branded the Conservatives’ claim to be the party of the Union “piffle” over the move.
“So here we have it, UK Government intends to push into devolved areas whilst simultaneously breaking its pledge that Wales will not be a penny worse off post-EU funding,” he said.
“Breathtaking, reckless and arrogant. Party of the Union? What piffle!”
The change means that the Welsh Government will lose the £680m a year it got from the EU, which made up 4% of its budget.
The UK Government have said however that the announcement does not directly compromise the devolution settlement.
“The UK Government is stepping up a gear in Wales,” Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said.
“We are accelerating our support for local communities to help them recover from the pandemic, we are bringing the UK Government closer to Wales and we will lead Wales’ recovery into a green industrial revolution of jobs and growth.”
Welsh Government spokesman however said: “These plans fail to guarantee a fair share for Wales and are based on decision-making powers grabbed back by Whitehall.
“The Welsh Government approach is based on evidence, and is designed in partnership with Welsh communities. The UK Government plans were made in Whitehall and designed to fuel needless confrontation.
“The UK Government needs to end the ‘you’ll get what you’re given’ approach to Wales. We will fight for Wales’ fair share with decisions about Wales, to be taken in Wales.”