Plaid Cymru welcomes Westminster’s Freeports U-turn but says evidence is still needed of their ‘tangible benefits’
Plaid Cymru has welcomed the UK Government’s U-turn on funding Freeports in Wales but says evidence is still needed of their “tangible benefits”.
The Welsh Government confirmed agreement had been reached on the establishment of Freeports in Wales today after ministers secured concessions from Westminster, including an agreement to increase the amount of start-up funding from £8 million to at least £26 million
The UK Government agreed to meet a number of other demands – including that both Governments will act on the basis of a ‘partnership of equals’ to deliver any Freeports in Wales.
Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP welcomed the UK Government’s U-turn on funding and called for “honesty on the pros and cons” of Freeports.
He also and urged both governments to outline what “tangible benefits” a freeport would bring to communities across Wales.
He added that, given international examples of smuggling, tax evasion and money laundering at freeports, his party would be seeking to scrutinise the bidding process “from start to finish”.
“We are pleased that the UK Government have U-turned on their original proposal that would have given a much reduced funding offer to Wales. We continue, however, to call for honesty on the pros and cons of freeports,” Mr Lake said.
“UK and Welsh Government must now outline what tangible benefits will be brought to communities across Wales as a result of this announcement. Areas around Holyhead and Milford Haven ports are in dire need of investment, but pitting these two communities against each other will inevitably lead to one area being short-changed.
“It is crucial that the Welsh Government ensure their support remains conditional on these proposals upholding workers’ rights, environmental standards, and sustainability. International examples of smuggling, tax evasion and money laundering at freeports mean that the bidding process will require close scrutiny, which Plaid Cymru will be doing from start to finish.”
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Where I agree with Plaid’s Ben Lake that any government U-turn regarding parity with English Freeport finding being £26 million rather than the derogatory £8 million initially offered is a step in the right direction. But a word of caution. There’s a big difference between saying and doing. I’ll believe it when I see it, to quote that much used cliché. The Conservatives are consummate liars. They promised to respect Welsh devolution. They lied. PM Boris Johnson said he’d unblock the nose of the Dragon by finding the construction of the M4 relief road over 3 years ago while visiting… Read more »