A UK minister criticized what he called “vanity projects” financed in Wales with EU money.
Comments from Welsh Secretary Simon Hart came amid growing demands for clarity on how much money Wales will get from the UK government’s new Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) and when the funding announcements will be made.
The SPF replaces EU economic aid to disadvantaged areas.
Mr. Hart appeared before parliamentarians from the Welsh Affairs Committee in Westminster.
The Conservative minister said the details would be released “relatively soon”, although if it was “this side of Christmas” it depended on the British Treasury.
- The councils are concerned about the size of the funds for economic aid
- The UK Treasury will monitor the “smoothing” of Wales’ liquidity
- Gwynedd has the lowest priority for the new UK fund
Swansea West Labor MP Geraint Davies asked Hart if the money would move from deprived areas to other areas that wanted funding but didn’t necessarily need it, under the SPF and other new Kingdom government funds. United.
The Secretary of State said: “I think it is completely the opposite.
“I think we’ve seen a lot of investments over the years that haven’t found their way into those areas you refer to.
“We could all sit here and list numerous examples of investments that have been made that leave even the most balanced of us scratching our heads and wondering why these huge sums of money could be spent on what in some cases, let’s face it, are not. other than vanity projects that don’t actually create jobs, sustain jobs or tackle poverty.
“This is the kind of thing that prompted people to vote in so many numbers in 2016 [to leave the EU] and why change is so crucial when it comes to allocating funds this time around. “
Mr. Hart was asked to name some “vanity projects”. “How much time do you have?” churches.
He said he was “amazed” that £ 140,000 was spent on a road sign in Carmarthen “that no one can see”.
Mr. Hart criticized a cable car in Ebbw Vale “which broke down I don’t know how many times and didn’t create the jobs it was designed for.”
The UK minister confirmed that Wales will receive around £ 370 million “in the financial year we are talking about” as EU funds start to decline.
Earlier this year, Welsh Economy Minister Vaughan Gething called the UK government’s new approach to financial aid a “top-down return to pre-devolution economic policy” and a “deliberate assault on Welsh devolution” .
“As things stand, Wales will have less say in less money,” he told the Senedd in June.
In Thursday’s commission hearing, Hart also accused the Welsh government of not wanting to “come to the party” to establish a free port in Wales, which he described as a “tragedy”.
The UK government is planning eight free ports in England and its ministers have said they would like to open one in Wales.
The scheme allows goods to arrive at ports and be tax free, unless they are moved elsewhere in the UK, which means they can arrive and be shipped overseas free of charge.
The UK had seven free ports between 1984 and 2012, including one in Cardiff.
Wales Prime Minister Mark Drakeford has expressed concern that free ports in England could shift economic activity out of Wales.
- What are free ports and where will they be?
Mr. Hart told the Welsh Affairs Committee that jobs were being lost in British free ports and that there was “ideological resistance” behind the Welsh government’s position.
“We reserve the right, but would prefer not to, to travel the route of a reserved free port [without Welsh government support] and we will follow that path if necessary, “he said.
“It will be up to [the UK government Minister for Intergovernmental Relations] Michael Gove’s department to persuade the Welsh government to re-enter the ring. “
The Welsh government has rejected suggestions that its is an obstacle to establishing a free port in Wales, saying it has simply raised concerns and sought agreement on the plans.
- Simone Hart
- Business of Wales
- UK government
- Welsh government
- Geraint Davies
- Wales Office
- Economy of Wales
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