UK Government set to break manifesto promise on post-Brexit funding
The UK Government is set to break its promises to match the funding nations and regions of the UK received before Brexit, Whitehall sources have warned.
Further details of the Shared Prosperity Fund that will replace EU structural funding are due to be announced Wednesday, but those with prior knowledge of their contents told the Financial Times that they would fall short of pre-Brexit promises that nations and regions would not be worse off.
Boris Johnson’s 2019 election manifesto had promised that post-Brexit replacement funding would “at a minimum match the size” of EU funds in “each nation” of the UK.
The Welsh Government have already said that they are due to lose £1bn by 2024-25 which would “make a mockery” of the UK Government’s claims to be ‘levelling up’ the UK.
The Financial Times said that the documents showed that England was also set to receive almost 50 per cent less than originally pledged, getting £1.56bn by 2024-25 instead of £3bn.
Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership regional lobby group, told the newspaper: “This will be a difficult decision to defend to Red Wall MPs, who will be left wondering why levelling up isn’t a bigger priority for the chancellor.”
Speaking in February, a former leader of the Welsh Conservatives said that it is important that Wales doesn’t lose out as a result of the end of EU funding.
Speaking in the Senedd, Paul Davies said that “I totally agree with you that it is important that Wales does not lose out as a result of the switch from European structural funds to the shared prosperity fund”.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething congratulated Paul Davies on his statement.
“I should congratulate the Member,” he said. “That is the first time that a Conservative Member in this place has said that it should not be acceptable that Wales loses money from the change from European structural funds. That’s a very welcome statement.”
Paul Davies had added that the Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee, of which he is chair, would “be taking a keen interest in this specific area in due course”.
He was responding to an original statement by Vaughan Gething in which he said that Wales was due to lose £1bn as a result of the changes.
“And I don’t see how any reasonable person could defend that, regardless of their politics,” Vaughan Gething said. “I don’t think anyone came into this place to try to justify £1 billion being shed from Wales.
“And, of course, we’re also seeing regions of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland being treated in the same way, because the UK Government has deliberately chosen to underfund those former EU programmes despite clear pledges and promises that no-one would lose a single penny.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.