Wales to lose big chunk of spending power as UK Government replaces EU money with central pot

Westminster (left) and Brussels (right). Picture on the right by Xavier Hape (CC BY 2.0).

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are set to lose a large part of their spending power as European structural funds are replaced with a UK Government controlled resource.

The Shared Prosperity Fund will replace European Commission development and social fund grants, which were spent by the devolved governments.

The UK Government will bypass devolved administrations, including the Senedd, which will no longer get to choose where the money, which has been invested in transport infrastructure, economic development and workplace training, will be spent.

As West Wales and the Valleys was one of the EU’s poorest regions, Wales received around £680 million of EU funds every year, according to the Welsh Government. But there is no guarantee that the same amount will come to Wales as part of the new fund.

 

‘Funding grab’

Confirmation came in a letter by Steve Barclay, the UK Treasury Secretary, to Scottish Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, Mr Barclay saying the Shared Prosperity Fund would be a UK project.

“The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need,” he said.

“It will operate UK-wide, using the new financial assistance powers in the UK Internal Market Act.

“We will ramp up funding so that total domestic UK-wide funding will at least match EU receipts on average reaching around £1.5bn a year.”

Plaid Cymru Westminster parliamentary leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP said:

“First a power grab now a funding grab. Hot on the heels of the ruinous Internal Market Bill, this is another shameless Tory attack on devolution.

“They’re siphoning money away from our poorest communities, and unless we stop them, devolution will exist in name only.

“They won’t stop at this. It’s clearer than ever that independence is the only way forward – time to back independence at the ballot box in May.”

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