The Welsh Liberal Democrats have hit out at the UK Government after it emerged that Wales will not receive any of the UK's ‘Innovation Accelerator’ investment funding, despite the fact regions in both England and Scotland are set to receive funding.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS
The ‘Innovation Accelerator programme, outlined in the UK Government‘s Levelling Up’ White Paper is designed to catalyse innovation clusters and spread the wealth and new industry outside the South East of England.
The UK Government confirmed Wales would not be part of the innovation accelerator programme following a question to Lord Callanan by Welsh Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Jenny Randerson.
Baroness Jenny Randerson
The scheme will see £100 million of investment from private-public-academic partnerships given to Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow City-Regions to be used to Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow City-Region to try and kick start a ‘fourth industrial revolution' and see UK manufacturing compete with economies such as Israel and South Korea.
However, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticized the Conservatives for not including Wales in the scheme, stating that it shows Welsh Conservative promises of ‘levelling up’ are nothing more than empty words.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:
“We have yet another piece of evidence that Wales is at the absolute bottom of the Conservative's priority list when it comes to levelling up for our economy.
“Wales has historically been at the centre of UK industry, and for it not to be included in this effort to kick start a new industrial revolution is a disgrace. Various parts of Wales have the skills, educational facilities and R&D institutions needed to make a success of these projects should they be given the chance.
“While part of the EU, Wales was given a much better deal in both the amount of development funding it received and in how we would be able to spend the funds.
“What we have continually seen from the Conservatives over the last few years is a disregard for Wales, with repeated failures to invest in our economy and infrastructure.
“Welsh Conservative MPs urgently need to attempt to make their voices heard and fight for investment in Wales because as things stand, it appears they are doing a pretty shabby job so far.”