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