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Welsh Economy ministers blasts new Tory ‘levelling up’ pledge that includes no new money

31 Jan 2022 2 minute read
Vaughan Gething picture by the Welsh Government. Michael Gove picture by the Policy Exchange (CC BY 2.0).

Wales’ Economy Minister has harshly criticised a new Conservative ‘levelling up’ announcement that contained no new money.

Vaughan Gething said that Welsh Conservatives should “call out” what he called “Tory chaos” at Westminster after the Department for Levelling Up admitted that a new announcement this week related to old funding.

Another Welsh minister, Lee Waters, criticised levelling up as an “empty Tory slogan” saying that Wales was due £375m before Brexit and had received £47m instead.

The comments came after Michael Gove’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities released a press statement saying 20 towns and cities across England would benefit from a “new £1.5bn brownfield fund”.

The announcement was made before the publication of a long-awaited levelling up white paper this week which it is hoped will take the political heat off Prime Minister Boris Johnson after a string of scandals.

However, it was later revealed that the ‘new £1.5bn fund’ would be made up of levelling-up funds that had already been announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, last year.

Vaughan Gething said that it was a “mess” and would leave Wales “with less say over less money”.

“Tory chaos and indecision at Westminster is costing Wales jobs and projects,” he said.

“If the Welsh Tories cared about our jobs and communities here they’d call it out. I won’t hold my breath.”

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove is expected to launch the final levelling up paper on Wednesday.

Announcing the plans to provide 20 areas of England with regeneration funding, Mr Gove said: “This huge investment in infrastructure and regeneration will spread opportunity more evenly and help to reverse the geographical inequalities which still exist in the UK.”

The Department for Housing, Levelling Up and Communities said the areas will benefit from developments combining “housing, leisure, and business in sustainable, walkable, beautiful new neighbourhoods”.

At the last Budget in October 2021, Mr Sunak announced an extra £1.8 billion to bring 1,500 hectares of brownfield land into use. The Department for Levelling Up confirmed that the newly-available £1.5 billion Brownfield Fund will form part of this money.

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Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
2 years ago

The only way we will level up Cymru is to break the manacles of Westminster, sooner Labour in Cymru wake up to the fact the better

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
2 years ago

The promises of Brexit were never going to be met. We were getting a large amount of EU funding ‘because’ the UK government had neglected us – that hasn’t changed, we will continue to be neglected. Our only option is to get out and make our own prosperity. Now that the pandemic is on the decline we must push forward to independence.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

I fully agree that Wales independent from Westminster would do much better since the Tories only know how to do empty promises. However, we need to remember and keep on repeating that the only way we will get that is to turf out the Tories. To achieve that end we really must work together and ensure that there is only one anti-Tory candidate in each constituency and that candidate must be standing on a platform of electoral reform. From a policy perspective the non-Tory parties probably agree on 80% of issues so from that point of view co-operation there ought… Read more »

2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Yes. Diolch!

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