WHEN the UK left the European Union, the doomsters in the Welsh Labour Government predicted that Wales would lose out in terms of gaining grant funding from Europe.
They have been relentlessly negative about the decision taken by the people of the UK and, importantly, of Wales itself, to leave the EU. At one point, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford ludicrously tried to align himself with the anti-Brexit sentiments of Nicola Sturgeon, who to be fair, was reflecting the fact that the people of Scotland had voted to remain.
But these arguments are over – or so they should be – and the UK Conservative Government has kept its word in setting up the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund which will provide £2.6 billion to match what was previously spent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Wales will be the largest beneficiary with £585 million over the next three years. South Wales West, which includes Bridgend, will be getting £138 million.
This funding will spread opportunity and reverse the country’s geographical disparities by ensuring that investment is fairly distributed across Wales.
The people of Wales and the people of Bridgend voted to leave the European Union so it is good to see the UK Government delivering on the will of the people. Labour has spent too long trying to re-fight this battle.
It’s time that they woke up and smelled the coffee and decided to work constructively with the UK Government and local authorities to ensure that this funding is spent directly on supporting communities across Wales.
Under the old EU rules, we gave them the money and they then allowed us to have some of it back to spend on schemes that they approved of whilst trousering a goodly portion for themselves. Now, we keep all the money and we decide how to spend it. What’s not to like?