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Watch: Plaid Cymru MS slams ‘levelling up’ fund as ‘nothing more than political spin’

09 Feb 2022 4 minutes Read
Delyth Jewell. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

A Plaid Cymru MS has slammed the UK Government’s so called ‘levelling up’ fund as “nothing more than political spin”.

Delyth Jewell, the regional Senedd member for South Wales East, offered a scathing assessment of the Westminster-controlled pot of money during a session of First Minister’s Questions.

She argued that Wales is “£1 billion worse off under these plans than if we’d not left the EU, despite the promises from the Tories that we wouldn’t be a penny worse off.”

The independence-supporting politician suggested that the Tories are “reducing the level of structural funding” in Wales and “depriving us of the ability to spend it strategically”.

In response the First Minister Mark Drakeford said Jewell had made her “points very forcefully and I agree with them all”.

Delyth Jewell said: “The levelling-up fund White Paper makes for an interesting read, doesn’t it, First Minister, with references to Renaissance Florence, Jericho’s Byzantine empire, if nothing else, but it also references the levelling-up that happened in Germany after reunification, explaining that £1.7 trillion was spent there up to 2014, being £71 billion a year over 24 years.

“The levelling-up and shared prosperity funds combined don’t provide for even 10 per cent of that level of funding. As you’ve just been setting out, First Minister, Wales will be £1 billion worse off under these plans than if we’d not left the EU, despite the promises from the Tories that we wouldn’t be a penny worse off.

“But, as well as that, it’s the question of how these funds are spent. Gone will be the strategic oversight we had with Welsh European Funding Office and in its place comes a pork-barrel process, with councils pitted against each other in a battle to get funds from Westminster.

“So, First Minister, do you agree with me that the levelling-up agenda is nothing more than political spin, when the Tories are in fact reducing the level of structural funding and depriving us of the ability to spend it strategically?”

‘Very forcefully’ 

Mark Drakeford replied: “Well, Llywydd, I think Delyth Jewell has made those points very forcefully and I agree with them all. The ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper is a friendless document, even by the Secretary of State whose name is on the cover.

“Its attempt to range far and wide across the mists of time is simply, I think, an indication of the lack of real content that there was there for this, despite the fact that this levelling-up fund, the shared prosperity fund, has been trailed by the Conservative Party since 2017.

“They have had years in which they could have produced something that matched their promises. What we have instead is a very thin document indeed—thin on money because the Treasury refused to provide the necessary funds to back it up, and very thin indeed in response to its claims that it is about transferring power and decision making beyond Whitehall because, as Delyth Jewell said, every single decision made about how money is to be spent in Wales will be made in Westminster, nowhere else.

“And that competitive way of pitting one part of Wales against another in order to bid for what is left on the table in this fund is guaranteed to mean that the money is not well spent.

“There will be no strategic plan behind it. It will be a series of minor dollops of money handed out on a basis in which it is very hard often to find any genuine rationale, and with no sense at all about how any long-term impact from that investment is to be secured for the Welsh public.”


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Grayham Jones
3 months ago

I hope the people of wales that voted us out of the EU are ashamed of themselves for letting their children and grandchildren down by voting out of the EU now we in wales is losing out of £340 million pounds from the the EU every year it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 we in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
3 months ago

The only way we are going to level up Wales is if we do it ourselves, there is no other way. It’s time we all ‘fully’ realised that and got on with gaining independence as soon as possible.

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

I agree Steve, Wales has waited for Westminster to level up for centuries, it hasn’t happened and never will happen. We need to take ownership of our own destiny and not rely on others.

Erisian
Erisian
3 months ago

I disagree, it’s simply propaganda. Spin is defined as a term used by ‘public relations’ practitioners and political communicators used to refer to the ‘sophisticated’ selling of a specific message that is heavily biased in favour of the originators own position and employs a concerted effort to mange the media with the intention of maintaining or exerting control over the situation, usually implying deception or manipulation. In short Spin is a dodgy explanation of something that has already happened or is about to happen Leveling up has not happened, nor will it, under this or any other Conservative and Unionist… Read more »

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