Wales is in danger of losing out financially if the Welsh and UK governments fail to cooperate on post-EU funding.
A report from the Senedd’s Finance Committee is calling for grown-up discussions at all levels of government to make sure investment is fairly allocated in Wales.
That requires a clear role for the Senedd – and an end to the UK Government acting in devolved areas without sufficient consultation.
Finance Committee Chair Peredur Owen Griffiths MS said:
“The new funding arrangements established since the UK left the European Union represents a seismic shift in the way that money is allocated to Wales, and the role of the Welsh and UK governments in that process. It’s particularly important in Wales, given that it was the largest recipient of EU funding relative to its population of the UK nations.
“Our main concern is that the success of these new funds in Wales is endangered by a lack of cooperation between the Welsh and UK governments. Our partnership isn’t just about sharing money across the UK - it also needs to be about sharing ideas and responsibilities.
“To make sure these new funds have maximum impact and reach the right places, we need a grown-up approach. We found that this aspect of the new arrangements is currently lacking.
“The Committee still has concerns with the UK Government’s approach of using these new arrangements to fund projects in devolved areas, bypassing the Welsh Government and the Senedd. It’s key that we see more robust engagement between all tiers of government.”
The report - the first on this topic in this parliamentary term - considered three new funding schemes, namely the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), Levelling Up Fund (LUF) and the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF).
The Committee was not able to take a view on whether Wales would receive more or less through replacement funds as it did when the UK was a member of the EU because Welsh and UK governments are not considering it in the same way.
This is further complicated by the fact that the Committee does not know the UK Government’s funding plan for the years beyond the SPF, which will be key to comparisons with the previous funding level.
This report puts in place solid foundations and establishes clear principles for other Senedd Committees to build on so the impact of these funds can be maximised and is a first step in shining a light on the levels of funding Wales receives under these new arrangements.