Damning MP committee report prompts renewed calls for devolution of funds

Plaid Cymru’s Treasury and ‘Levelling Up’ spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, has today (8 June) called for the devolution of regional funds after Westminster’s cross-party Public Accounts Committee expressed concern that “decisions were taken without sufficient consideration of devolved governments’ priorities”.

The Committee pointed out the contradiction whereby “economic development is a devolved power” but that the funds are administered “on a UK-wide basis”. It also said that the UK Government had “not yet convinced” them that its approach will be “effective in ensuring that priorities of the devolved administrations are adequately taken on board.”

Ben Lake MP introduced a Bill to Parliament in March of this year calling for the devolution of the Shared Prosperity Funds to Wales and for a new focus on the cost-of-living crisis. Today, Mr Lake said that the new report by the Committee “could not be clearer”, that on regional funding, “decisions about Wales should be made in Wales.”

He also renewed Plaid Cymru’s calls for funds to be allocated “according to need, not according to Westminster’s political interests”.

Ben Lake MP said:

“Today’s Public Accounts Committee report could not be clearer: when it comes to regional funding, decisions about Wales should be made in Wales. It is more urgent than ever that MPs from across the House support my Bill calling for the devolution of ‘levelling up’ funds to Wales.

“The Conservative Party promised in 2019 to replace EU regional funding with a programme that is ‘fairer and better tailored to our economy’. This report proves that their strategy is failing and even further disadvantaging Local Authorities in the devolved nations.

“UK Ministers are making up criteria as they go along and failing to even evaluate the effects of grants that were awarded. This is no way to foster economic prosperity.

“From the outset, Plaid Cymru have called for funding to be allocated according to need, not according to Westminster’s political interests. If the UK Government want any credibility on ‘levelling up’, they would at the very least today revise their criteria so that Wales gets adequately funded according to our relative need.”