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Westminster ‘trampling over’ Welsh Gov with ‘Levelling Up Fund’

24 May 2021 3 minute read
Westminster and the Senedd. Picture on the right by Richard Szwejkowski (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

Westminster is “trampling over” the Welsh Government with its so called ‘Levelling Up Fund’, it has been claimed.

Council leader Emlyn Dole hit out at the UK Government during a meeting of Carmarthenshire Council, where members discussed the fund that the UK Government is using to bypass the Senedd.

Wales is expected to receive a £30m to £50m share of the new fund in 2021-22, and bids must be submitted by June 18, and Dole said the council is in a “race” to get its hands on the cash.

Carmarthenshire Council’s executive board has approved the submission of two bids: one to create a multi-use and multi-agency development in Carmarthen town centre, and the second to buy land to help deliver the Towy Valley shared-use path between Carmarthen and Llandeilo.

“In essence we are part of a race here,” said Cllr Dole.

Executive board members welcomed the money but voiced frustration that it was money, they said, which used to be given to the Welsh Government to administer.

“The (UK) Government is unwilling to give the money to the Welsh Government – in a way they are going behind their backs,” said Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths. “It’s very disappointing in that sense.”

Cllr Dole agreed, saying there was a “trampling over the Welsh Government here”.

The Carmarthenshire Plaid Cymru leader also said the UK Government had promised Wales “pound for pound” in terms of the financial support it used to receive from the European Union. He said this parity of support was not clear yet.

Council officers are also developing a project bid for Llanelli but more work is needed before it is submitted for consideration.

The UK-wide Levelling Up Fund is a four-year, £4.8 billion initiative for capital projects. The UK Government has published categories of need for local authority areas. Carmarthenshire is in the highest category, but the bidding process is competitive.


Executive board members have also put the structures in place to administer another UK pot of money called the Community Renewal Fund.

Carmarthenshire is expected to receive £3 million from Westminster this financial year. The Community Renewal Fund is revenue money for pilot projects run by various community organisations, including charities, town councils and education providers.

Councils will examine and prioritise local projects, which must focus on skills, employment and local business investment, and submit a shortlist to the UK Government next month.

The UK is still spending the last of its EU money, according to the Conservative Government. Ministers are replacing it next year with a new Shared Prosperity Fund.

Cllr Hazel Evans said she fully supported the Towy Valley shared use path funding bid.

The Plaid-Independent council suspended funding for the 16-mile path for 2021-22 and called on the Welsh Government to stump up cash for it, but council leaders have reiterated their commitment to the project.

Cllr Evans said the Towy Valley path was vital for the county, linking villages and towns along the way and providing leisure opportunities.

She said: “It’s a route to work for a lot of people who would never cycle on the A40.”

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3 years ago

If ever a country desperately needed independence it’s us.

Peter Williams
Peter Williams
3 years ago
Reply to  Quornby

How do you get the populace to see through this blatant power grab? They still buy London tabloids and have no idea of where this latest outrage fits into a longer unionist agenda. It’s very dispiriting, they fell for Brexit and they’ll accept Boris’s one nation rhetoric too. 😐

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
3 years ago

‘English taxpayer – so Wales contributes nothing? Anyway Independence will see us fund ‘ourselves’ no more scraps from Westminster. We’re sick of the poverty here.

O Rob
O Rob
3 years ago

The term ‘levelling up’ is in itself an admission of failure as a competent government would have invested in all parts of the country equally and there would be no need to ‘level up’. A prime example is the failure to invest in the Swansea tidal lagoon, a real progressive wealth creating project for Cymru. But of course any westminster government would baulk at the opportunity to provide Cymru with a platform to better itself, preferring instead to stifle it’s economy and keep the country in perpetual stagnation and poverty. And those amongst us with the slightest thread of common… Read more »

John Young
John Young
3 years ago

Mark, Please explain in financial terms why you believe the English taxpayer funds ‘everything in Wales’ ?

Luke Evans
Luke Evans
3 years ago

Why the hell are you misspelling ‘Tywin’? Towy is an outdated anachronism that no official body uses anymore !

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