Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood has today said that the final phase of EU funds due to be handed down to Wales from Brussels must be invested in a more sustainable manner than has been seen in previous years.
Leanne Wood said that in the past, structural funds have been viewed as a 'sticking-plaster solution' to Wales' economic woes and that the final tranche should be invested in infrastructure projects in order to secure tangible benefits to communities throughout the country. The current round of EU Structural Funds ends in 2020.
Party of Wales Leader Leanne Wood said:
"Plaid Cymru is committed to doing everything we can to protect Wales and its communities as the UK undergoes the process of leaving the European Union.
“This includes ensuring that the final tranche of EU funds due to be handed down from Brussels to Wales is spent in a more sustainable manner than has been seen in previous years.
“Some of our nation’s most deprived communities have received billions of pounds in European funds to improve their economy, yet many are struggling as they were decades ago.
“The Labour-led Welsh Government has not succeeded in using these funds to pursue a successful economic strategy. The result after decades of receiving these funds is that Wales is still at the bottom of the league when it comes to economic performance on so many indicators. Many people are of the view that a lot of this money has been wasted on unsustainable projects.
"When Plaid Cymru was part of the Welsh government (2007-2011), our ministers made sure that EU funds were focused on strategic infrastructure and jobs - EU funds were spent in that period directly on transport links and to keep people in work during the financial crisis.
“Unless we can accept that not all of the decades of investment from the EU has had the best bang for the buck, then the same mistakes will be made again.
"This final phase of structural funding will be the most important. It's vital it is used strategically and that it is used to invest in the infrastructure that will connect and benefit generations to come."