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Westminster plans to ‘divert money away from Wales’, says former First Minister

24 Feb 2021 2 minutes Read
The Senedd left and Westminster right. Picture by on the left by the Senedd (CC BY 2.0).

A former First Minister has said that Westminster plans to “divert money away from Wales”.

Labour MS Carwyn Jones made the comments in response to an announcement that the UK Treasury would be taking control of Wales’ money away from the Senedd with its so called “levelling up fund”.

The decision by the UK Government means that the Welsh Government won’t have control of how much of the money is spent in Wales or on what projects it funds.

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP has also criticised the move by Westminster and said it was “undermining Welsh democracy and the proven priorities of our country.”

The news has provoked an angry response from the Welsh Government, which accused the Westminster government of “aggressively” undermining devolution.

However, the UK Government claims that what it calls its “levelling up” agenda aims to reduce regional inequality in the UK.

The Treasury has announced a £4.8bn to be spent UK-wide, £800m of which will have to be split between Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. When the funding was previously announced it was stated that the devolved governments would be able to spend the money on their own priorities, but that has now been reversed.

‘Away from Wales’ 

Carwyn Jones said: “The only reason they would do this is to divert money away from Wales, Scotland and NI and give a greater proportion to England. Barnett shares would have stopped that. And it’s still nowhere close to what the EU funding pot was.”

Liz Saville Roberts said: “Be under no illusions – this has nothing to do with ‘levelling up’. This is about undermining Welsh democracy and the proven priorities of our country.

“Our communities are crying out for funding. But with an election around the corner, it’s clear that this Tory funding won’t be spent to remedy the long-term needs of Wales but will be allocated according to political interests.

“Boris Johnson and his cronies in Westminster should have no hand in deciding which projects receive funding.

“The Tories have set themselves on collision course with the best interests of Wales at every given opportunity. Only independence can reset this hostile relationship.”

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