Spending Review spells "disaster for Wales" - Ben Lake MP


Ben Lake blasts broken promises on SPF and sharp reduction in transport-derived funding

Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP, has said that the UK Government’s Spending Review spells “disaster for Wales”.

The Ceredigion MP pointed to broken promises on Wales’s allocation of funding through the Shared Prosperity Fund and a drastically decreased comparability factor for transport spending as showing “blatantly clear that Westminster is seeking to undermine Welsh devolution”.

The Conservative manifesto for the 2019 General Election committed to tackling inequality and deprivation through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the level of which would be “at a minimum match the size of those funds in each nation.”

In the Chamber, Ben Lake asked if the Chancellor could confirm that Wales’s share of regional funding would not be diminished. In his response, the Chancellor failed to confirm this.

Additionally, Mr Lake expressed concerns about the funding allocated to the Welsh Government due to spending on transport in England. The Statement of Funding Policy cites Wales’s Barnett comparability factor for UK transport spending as having fallen from 80.9% to just 36.6%, meaning that Wales will receive a significantly smaller amount of funding for every pound spent by the Department for Transport in England.

This is largely due to England’s HS2 project being classed as an ‘England and Wales’ project despite the project being entirely in England. The Wales Governance Centre earlier today pointed out that there may have been a typographical error in the Treasury document, but that even after accounting for such an error, it would still mean a 27.2% fall.

Ben Lake MP said:

“Today’s Spending Review was a disaster for Wales, from a collapse in transport funding, a public sector pay freeze and the centralisation of replacement EU funds in Westminster. It is now blatantly clear that Westminster is seeking to undermine Welsh devolution.

“Wales received nearly £2 billion of investment, or £140 per head, from the European Union allocated by Wales on a needs-based basis. Westminster understood that when in 2016 they promised Wales ‘not a penny less’ through a Shared Prosperity Fund.

“Today the Chancellor failed to confirm that Wales’s share of the Shared Prosperity Fund will be decided according to need, that it will represent additional investment, and that Wales’s share will not be diminished over time.”

“The Statement of Funding was also disastrous, with Barnett funding for Wales from transport spending falling from 80.9% to just 36.6%. This is due to HS2, a project expected to cost the UK government £106 billion and from which Wales won’t receive a penny.

“That Wales is losing out on crucial funding due to a vanity project in England is a sign of this Government’s antipathy towards Wales.”

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