UK Government has become ‘increasingly estranged rival’ says Welsh minister
The UK Government has become an “increasingly estranged rival” rather than a partner to the Welsh Government, a Welsh cabinet minister has said.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said that the way the Welsh Government were treated by Westminster was “deeply unhelpful in normal times and unforgivable in this crisis”.
Writing in LabourList he accused the UK Government of years of “disinterest in regional prosperity” which has “only entrenched a form of economic centralism that is both alien to our competitors and corrosive to public trust”.
“As Mark Drakeford has argued, this is not about an obsession with the constitution but about standing up to a UK government that tells Wales: ‘You’ll get what you’re given’,” he said.
He added: “As the Welsh government’s economy minister, my focus is on securing better jobs and narrowing the skills divide to tackle poverty in a stronger Welsh economy. We badly need a partner in the form of the UK government – but for now we are stuck with an increasingly estranged rival.
“This is deeply unhelpful in normal times and unforgivable in this crisis. Even before the leadership contest, major decisions on the future of our economy were being ducked by Tory ministers while the facile gloss of ‘levelling up’ began to crack, leaving some of our poorest communities worse off.
“More than a decade of indecision and disinterest in regional prosperity has only entrenched a form of economic centralism that is both alien to our competitors and corrosive to public trust.
“The fresh offer of unfunded tax cuts, bumper bankers’ bonuses, a war on basic workers’ rights, and Mad Max-style ‘low regulation zones’ does nothing to show the world that the UK has learned anything from the last decade. It will do still less to signal that anyone in No 10 is thinking about struggling coastal towns or valleys.”
Vaughan Gething said that the Levelling Up fund had been used as a means of ensuring that Wales has “less say over less money.”
“Despite the promise to match the size of needs-based EU funds post-Brexit, Wales is set to be over £1.1bn worse off,” he added. “Tory ministers have even legislated to stop the Welsh government accessing these funds.”
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