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MS says Wales’ economic prospects are being damaged by UK Government ‘hostility’

27 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Former Economy Minister Ken Skates. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Former Economy Minister Ken Skates has warned that Wales’ economic prospects are being hampered by a lack of cooperation from a floundering UK Government.

A recently published report by the Senedd’s cross-party Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee said Westminster should stop shunning the Welsh Government and include it in the running of the Shared Prosperity and Levelling Up funds, which were launched as part of the UK Government’s now-broken promise that Wales would not be a penny worse off after Brexit.

Mr Skates’ successor, Vaughan Gething, said last week that he had been ‘met with indifference, and, in some areas, outright hostility’ by his Conservative counterparts since taking on the role.

The Clwyd South MS Mr Skates asked the Minister how the Welsh Government is working with the UK Government to deliver post-Brexit regional aid programmes.

Fragmented

In response, he said: “Despite these programmes operating in devolved areas, the Welsh Government was denied a meaningful role in their design and implementation by the UK Government. We are working with our stakeholders in Wales to minimise the impact of what is now a fragmented and vastly reduced funding landscape.”

Mr Skates added: “I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was extremely concerned to read the recent Senedd committee report that stated that Wales’s future economic success will be jeopardised if the UK Government doesn’t engage with and work with the Welsh Government.

“The UK Government’s so-called levelling-up process has left Wales with less say over crucial funds, and it’s also undermined, as you said, the devolution settlement by centralising decisions in Westminster. We’re now more than £1bn worse off as a result of the UK Government’s failure to meet its promise to replace previous EU funds in full.

“Minister, would you be able to tell the Senedd whether you find the UK Government any more co-operative today than when you became Economy Minister in 2021?”
Mr Gething replied: “The picture is varied. In some areas, we have reached pragmatic conclusions where we’ve been able to strike agreement. However, in others, we’ve been met with indifference, and, in some areas, outright hostility.

“In seeking to have a fight, and not to seek an answer, we will end up with poor value for public money and we will, as the Senedd committee has said, jeopardise the economic future for Wales.

“We have always recognised that there is an area for us to co-operate and take pragmatic choices with the UK Government. What we won’t do, though, is to willingly accept a future determined by the UK Government in areas that are devolved to the Welsh Government, and to this Senedd, and we’ll continue to stand up and make the case that Wales should have not been left over £1bn short.”

He concluded: “The Conservative manifesto should not have been breached in the flagrant way it has been. We’ll continue to stand up for Wales and argue for a better future that I believe will come if there is a UK Labour Government after the next election.”


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Jeff
Jeff
5 months ago

Do t need a crystal ball to see this. The carpet baggers in No10 don’t like it when people try to do things in existing frameworks where they don’t have control. So much meddling comes with the stink of US far right politics.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

Bully XL Braverman is doing her best to ruin tourism from abroad. We need a proper international airport so folks don’t have to come in through England. How much does Wales promote entry via Ireland ? While staying in a youth hostel near Fishguard a few years ago I met a German on his ninth trip to Wales who had never been to England…

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
5 months ago

How many times does this need to be said? Economic Development is the responsibility of the WELSH government, and has been since the establishment of the then Assembly in 1999.
Skates was one of a long line of inept economics minister (although the current minister is doing his best to be the worst ever) who have the luxury of blaming the Tory government for their continuing failure.
If Starmer gets to No 10 I wonder who they will blame then? The Tory opposition no doubt, or the man in the moon….never Welsh Labour.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

There’s no doubt Rishy Sunak’s English Conservative government are happily damaging Wales with its oppressive unionist chokehold to our neck and favour a one-English-size fits-all approach to governing . But if Ken Skates seriously thinks a UK Labour government would treat Wales any different is naive to the extreme.. Labour leader Keir Starmer has said nothing about devolving those powers denied sought by Welsh Labour other than giving back the Welsh Government administrative rights over our structural funds stolen by Boris Johnson’s regressive regime. Sinister Keir Starmer & UK Labour will continue Tory policies that have damaged Wales and have… Read more »

The Nietzsche of Skewen
The Nietzsche of Skewen
5 months ago

Skated did not exactly cover himself in glory when he was economic minister. He was very inept and ineffectual. But Financial and economic illiteracy is a trait of those at Cardiff Bay, examples of erroneous and poor decision making abound: vanity projects, poor capital allocation decisions, overspends, inefficiency and waste, poor prioritisation. I would not trust them (Skates and his ilk) with the takings from a lemonade stand.

Marc
Marc
5 months ago

The Torys are hell bent on destroying devolution and will do everything they can to ruin the Welsh economy. Independence can not come soon enough

David Thomas
David Thomas
4 months ago
Reply to  Marc

We have had 22 years of labour rule, set up by Ron Davies and Tony Blair, and what we have witnessed is a steady decline of the country. Coupled with a large increase in the Welsh government departments.
Time for a change.

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