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Westminster ‘tanks rolling up on our lawns’ with trade hub, Welsh Government Minister says

23 Mar 2021 2 minute read
Liz Truss. Credit: Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing St

Westminster’s “tanks are rolling up on our lawns” with the creation of a new trade hub, a Welsh Government Minister has said.

Lee Waters, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, hit out at the move following an announcement by UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss.

Waters said that the Welsh Government received “no advance notice” about the trade and investment hub, which the UK Government says is to boost economic growth.

He also criticised the UK Government for creating 12 senior civil service roles in Cardiff to deliver the so-called Shared Prosperity Fund, which will be reporting to the Welsh Secretary Simon Hart in Westminster instead of the Welsh Government.

This was made possible by the Internal Market Act, which the Welsh Government described as an “attack on democracy” because it enabled Westminster to take control over money that is spent in Wales away from the Senedd.

The UK Government says the aim the investment hub is to boost exports by providing localised advice from export and investment specialists to firms.

Liz Truss said that four hubs would be created in total, which would be located in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Darlington.

Trade expert Justin Urquhart-Stewart, co-founder of Seven Investment Management and the Regionally investment platform has also criticised the move and told the BBC that the proposed economic recovery plan is “the wrong way round”.

Lee Waters said: “The tanks are rolling up on our lawns. No advance notice of this. And UK Government are recruiting 12 senior civil service roles in Cardiff to deliver Shared Prosperity Fund and ‘Levelling up’ agenda: by-passing WG and reporting to Welsh Secretary.”

Liz Truss said: “I’m determined to use UK trade policy to benefit every part of the UK. These trade and investment hubs will help this country to an export and jobs-led recovery.

“They will mean we can channel investment into all corners of the country, and that exporters – whether they’re selling Scotch beef, Welsh Lamb or cars made in the North of England – have access to the expertise they need to sell into the fastest growing markets.”

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