Wales is failing by leveling up,' says Economy Minister

Vaughan Gething argues that Wales is now short-changed in real terms due to the ongoing impact of inflation over this period due to an unchanged EU framework and rural funding of almost £1.3 billion between 2021 and 2025.

The deficit in the overall Welsh budget is currently £1.3 billion lower in real terms than set out in the UK Government's 2021 Spending Review due to decisions taken by the UK Government in the 2021 UK Government Spending Review and rising inflation.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething will say:

All the UK government's schemes – be it the Leveling Up Fund, the Shared Prosperity Fund or the Downs Fund – have one thing in common: they are a mess with very little planning, consultation or economic logic.

Implementing them is messy, leaves stakeholders confused or excluded altogether. At the same time, they put enormous pressure on local government to spend the money quickly despite the UK government's delays and unreliable timelines.

And they take money and power away from Wales and into the hands of UK government ministers in London.

As a result Merthyr Tydfil, Flintshire and Newport will not see any money from the Leveling Up Fund despite spending time and resources on bids rejected by the UK Government.

The Minister will also say:

Delays in decision-making by the UK Government have pushed up spending during a cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation has put extra pressure on our councils.

The Welsh Government has previously used EU funding to tackle unemployment, provide apprenticeships and training, create and grow businesses and invest in key projects such as infrastructure and the South Wales Metro and the renewable energy sector in North and West Wales.

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Universities are supported to deliver high-level skills and development programs by partnering with industry and working with businesses on cutting-edge research and development.

Under the UK Government's Leveling Up agenda, it is estimated that around 1,000 high-quality jobs in research and innovation in Wales will be lost because universities will not have anywhere near the same level of access to these funds.

The Minister will also say:

Wales is already facing a difficult financial situation since devolution began.

The legacy of leveling up is duplication, fragmented local programs and precious little economic impact. Through incompetence and negligence, the UK Government has squandered an opportunity to deliver meaningful change in Wales and the rest of England.

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