Tory MP argues against Welsh Gov control of subsidies ‘across the Principality’
A Tory MP has argued against the Welsh Government having “control” of subsidies “across the Principality”.
Simon Baynes, who represents Clwyd South, has backed a Bill that gives UK Government full control over the UK’s state aid regime.
This means it will be able to overrule the Welsh Government on how business subsidies can best support Wales’ economy.
Under previous devolved laws, control over state aid policy would have automatically fallen under the Welsh Government’s remit after Brexit.
Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts said the new Bill will “deliberately dismantle” Wales’ powers and argued that that underinvestment in the country would continue as a result of centralising powers at Westminster.
But Baynes, whose reference to Wales as a “principality” is incorrect, is in favour of a “UK-wide subsidy control regime” which he claimed would allow the Conservatives to “deliver on the British people’s priorities”.
During a debate in the House of Commons Simon Baynes said: “I welcome the Bill, particularly as a Welsh Member of Parliament, because it will provide the framework for a new, UK-wide subsidy control regime.
“The Bill promotes accountability through a standardised, UK-wide database. Transparency and simple comparison will provide accountability across the UK.
He added: “It must be stressed that reporting by the devolved Administrations is often absent or uses different criteria, which prevent like-for-like comparisons.
“For example, the Welsh Government do not publish waiting list times for all NHS procedures, unlike other parts of the UK.
“The Bill promotes the Government’s levelling-up objectives. The UK is built on local communities, not just Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London. Building up and streamlining local authorities’ partnership with the UK Government are key to strengthening the Union.
“Speaking as a Welsh Member of Parliament, I have to say that the Welsh Government are not the easiest organisation to deal with for those living in north Wales and looking for Government help.
“Their focus is very much on south Wales. The message from the debate that giving money and subsidy control to the Welsh Government will mean that money is spread across the Principality is incorrect.
“I am pleased to back the Government on the Bill, which takes back control from the EU, allows us to deliver on the British people’s priorities, strengthens the Union and gives confidence and certainty to businesses and investors.
“It will enable local authorities across the UK to play an equal role, rather than everything always being put in the centre, in London and in the devolved Administrations.”