UK Gov ‘spent £1,000 more per London resident than in Wales’ on pandemic response
The UK Government has “spent £1,000 more per London resident than in Wales” on its pandemic response, it has been claimed.
During a speech in the Senedd, Plaid Cymru MS, Luke Fletcher quoted figures from Centre for Progressive Policy, and demanded that “Wales must get its fair share from Westminster”.
He said the UK Government’s pandemic response has been “one huge subsidy to the south of England”.
The Senedd member for South Wales West also took aim at thee UK Government’s so called “levelling-up agenda”, which he says has “so far meant more powers for Westminster” as well as “less democracy, funding and representation for Wales.”
The Economy Minister Vaughan Gething responded, saying that Wales is “heading on a path of having less say over less money”.
He also accused the UK Government in Westminster of a “deliberate approach to take away powers and resources” away from the Senedd.
Luke Fletcher said: “As Plaid Cymru made clear in the debate on this topic before recess, Westminster’s levelling-up agenda has so far meant more powers for Westminster, more money for Tory seats, and less democracy, funding and representation for Wales.
“We deserve better than this, and our amendments, of course, reflected that. During that debate we sought to make explicit points regarding the process behind the selection criteria for these funds, and called for detailed assessments as to the impact these funds will have on Wales. We were, of course, glad that the Government supported those amendments at the time.
“If these funds are not replaced in full and implemented by devolved decision makers, then Wales will be left short changed and worse off. Far from proving the strength of the union, the UK’s pandemic response was in fact one huge subsidy to the south of England.
“The Centre for Progressive Policy has calculated that the UK Government spent £1,000 more per London resident than in Wales, and £6.9 billion more on London than if each nation and region had been allocated emergency spending equally.
“The Welsh Government can’t let the same thing happen with these funds. Wales must get its fair share from Westminster.”
‘Not a great place to be’
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething replied: “At this point in time, we are heading on a path of having less say over less money. That’s not a great place to be, and I don’t understand how anyone elected to this place could celebrate the fact that there is a deliberate approach to take away powers and resources from this institution.
“If people want to have a different approach from the Welsh Government, well, that’s what people decide when we have elections. We’ve had elections with manifestos, people have voted, we have an agenda that we want to get on with, because that’s the responsibility the people of Wales have chosen to give us. I can’t assess the new funds.
“I’m committed to assessing the new funds when we’re in a position to do so, but, as the Conservative spokesperson acknowledged, none of the new funds have been allocated yet, even in the trial phase.
“So, we can’t even assess the impact of the trial phase, because the decisions haven’t been made, let alone any spending decisions being made.”