Tories slammed as Wales misses out on £100 million ‘levelling up’ fund
The UK Government has been slammed for failing to allocate any of its new £100 million Innovation Accelerator programme to Wales.
The programme, outlined in the UK Government‘s Levelling Up’ White Paper is designed to develop innovation clusters, creating new jobs and industries outside the South East of England.
Westminster ministers have revealed the pilot of the £100 million investment from private-public-academic partnerships, which they claim will kick start a “fourth industrial revolution”, has been allocated to Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow City-Regions, prompting the Welsh Liberal Democrats to claim the government’s promises of levelling up are “nothing more than empty words”.
“We have yet another piece of evidence that Wales is at the absolute bottom of the Conservative’s priority list when it comes to levelling up for our economy,” Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:
“Wales has historically been at the centre of UK industry, and for it not to be included in this effort to kick start a new industrial revolution is a disgrace.
“Various parts of Wales have the skills, educational facilities and R&D institutions needed to make a success of these projects should they be given the chance.
“While part of the EU, Wales was given a much better deal in both the amount of development funding it received and in how we would be able to spend the funds.
“What we have continually seen from the Conservatives over the last few years is a disregard for Wales, with repeated failures to invest in our economy and infrastructure.
“Welsh Conservative MPs urgently need to attempt to make their voices heard and fight for investment in Wales because as things stand, it appears they are doing a pretty shabby job so far.”
House of Lords
The UK Government confirmed Wales would not be part of the innovation accelerator programme following a question to Lord Callanan by Welsh Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Jenny Randerson in the House of Lords.
“The Government is committed to increasing research and innovation capacity across the UK,” Lord Callanan said in his response.
“Innovation Accelerators are a new pilot approach to supporting three UK city regions to become major, globally competitive centres for research and innovation. They will be locally-led partnerships involving leaders in local government, business and R&D institutions.
“The three city regions selected for the pilots demonstrate R&D strengths, robust private and public innovation governance, and strong local leadership which makes them strong candidates for testing this new approach.
“If the Innovation Accelerator pilots prove successful, we will consider how the lessons learned can be applied to benefit other places in the UK.”
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