Wales needs certainty on EU funding replacement post-Brexit, says National Assembly committee
Wales needs certainty on what will replace EU structural funds post-Brexit, according to a National Assembly for Wales committee.
Wales receives almost £2 billion in regional policy funding which is designed to improve some of the country’s poorer areas including west Wales and the valleys.
In a new report, the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee says Wales should be no worse off as a consequence of leaving Europe, and that the Welsh Government should start looking at the future of regional policy now.
The Committee also concluded that more of the same is not an option, with creative thinking and a fresh approach needed to make any future funding work more effectively for the communities it is targeted at.
Chair of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee, David Rees AM, said:
“In the short term, we need certainty about what will replace the £2 billion that Wales currently receives to support economic development in some of our poorest areas.
“Beyond that, we are clear that Brexit could present opportunities for the future. We must take this opportunity to look afresh at how our country tackles inequality and disparities in economic performance and planning for this needs to begin now
“We were very disappointed with the message which we were hearing for more of the same and the lack of imagination, creativity and ambition that underpins this viewpoint.
“Carrying on as we are is not an option and everyone, from the Welsh Government, to the private sector, our universities and the third sector need to start thinking about fresh approaches to tackling some of the economic challenges we face as a nation.
“It is a call for a new approach for Wales that must be taken up by all.”
The Committee makes 17 recommendations in its report, including:
- That the Welsh Government works with all relevant partners to articulate a clear vision and purpose for future regional policy which makes the most of the opportunity for fresh thinking and considers the advantages and disadvantages in drawing up a new industrial strategy for Wales, post Brexit;
- That the Welsh Government retains strategic oversight and sets the direction for future regional policy in Wales whilst ensuring that future policy is responsive to local needs and that responsibility for delivery is clearly delineated; and
- A one-off adjustment to the Block Grant, whilst acceptable in the short term, may pose risks in the longer term and therefore recommend that the Welsh Government ensures that funding is future proofed and examines the merits of an objective needs-based formula, agreed by all nations of the UK.
The report will now be considered by the Welsh Government.
Read the full report:
Inquiry into the future of regional policy - what next for Wales?