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Chaotic handling of Levelling Up Fund risks betraying Welsh people says Labour MP

Written by on 28th May 2021

Responding to testimony from UK Government Ministers at a Welsh Affairs Committee, Cynon Valley MP Beth Winter said that the way the replacement of EU structural funds was being handled by UK Government was chaotic and confused, and risked leaving Wales behind.

In an important sitting of Welsh Affairs Committee, RCT Council Leader Andrew Morgan and Welsh Government Economy Minister Vaughan Gething were among those who detailed their concerns about the way the Levelling Up fund is being administered before UK Government Ministers gave evidence on the Levelling Up Fund.

Beth Winter MP also expressed her dissatisfaction that the Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart failed to attend Welsh Affairs Committee himself to face scrutiny from MPs.

Beth Winter MP said: ‘The Government’s rhetoric around Levelling Up is not matched by the detail of their plans for Wales. EU funding totalled £375m a year and UK Government promised that there would be not a penny less for Wales.’
‘It now seems that Government will break this promise, and Wales could end up with only a fraction of that sum, with Welsh Government frozen out, and local authorities pitted against each other to fight for the scraps from the table. This is not acceptable.’

‘This is made worse by the fact that The Secretary of State for Wales didn’t himself turn up to defend these plans, sending other Government Ministers in his place, and for only 30 minutes when an hour was promised.’

‘Half an hour was long enough to realise that UK Government Ministers themselves don’t seem to understand the funding criteria they have come up with for schemes like the Community Renewal Fund which prioritises affluent areas like Richmond (Rishi Sunak’s seat), but not more disadvantaged areas like Caerphilly.’