The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the UK Government to ensure the Shared Prosperity Fund delivers for Wales ahead of this afternoon’s Senedd debate. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for the fund to ensure Wales receives not a penny less than it currently receives from the EU and for the Welsh Government to control how the money is spent in Wales.
A Shared Prosperity Fund was proposed in the Conservative Party’s 2017 general election manifesto and featured in the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy white paper later that year.
Since then there have been precious few details about the proposed fund. This is despite the fact a consultation was supposed to have taken place last year.
Independent analysis from Communities in Charge has calculated that Wales would lose out by £743.11 per person if the fund was allocated in the same way as UK Government funding instead of the way EU funding is distributed.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:
We know Wales has long been a substantial beneficiary of EU funding. This is no accident, we receive this funding because we remain one of the poorest parts of the UK. Any fall in funding after Brexit will increase reginal inequality, push more people into poverty and leave more communities behind.
In June 2016 Vote Leave promised that ‘every region, group and recipient of EU funding will continue to get that money’ after Brexit. They may have forgotten this promise but we haven’t. Wales must receive not a penny less after Brexit.
I urge the UK Government to provide more details on the Shared Prosperity Fund at the earliest opportunity to provide communities with the certainty they need. I also call on the UK Government to confirm that the fund will fully respect devolution.