Wales calls on Westminster to match EU funds

11 Apr 17

The Welsh finance secretary has called on the UK government to replace EU funding as Cardiff announced it had reached a target to draw down billions of European cash.

The Welsh Government revealed yesterday it had put in its final submission for £95m to the European Commission for the 2007-2013 programmes.

That means it has drawn down £1.8bn for that funding round – bringing the total EU investment in Wales to £3.4bn.

Wales has also already invested £1.33bn – 65% - of the £2bn EU structural funds allocation as part of the 2014-20 programmes.

The Welsh Government said this investment makes Wales one of the best performing EU regions.

But Welsh finance secretary Mark Drakeford added: “It is vital Wales receives replacement funding from UK sources after 2020 at the same level we currently receive from the EU so we can continue to address long-term challenges and support our economy to grow.”

He said he was confident Wales would be successful in investing EU funds for 2014-20 before the UK leaves the EU. Examples of some of the flagship initiatives supported by the 2007-13 EU cash include 79,600 apprenticeships and 12,400 traineeships across Wales (£85m), development of major roads (more than £130m) and Swansea University’s Innovation Campus where 5,000 students are currently studying (for more than £40m).

Drakeford said: “EU funding has also helped to narrow the gap between Wales and the UK in areas such as employment, economic activity, skills and investment in research and innovation. “The programmes were delivered in particularly challenging times, during which Wales was hit by a global financial and economic crisis.”

Theresa May triggered Article 50 at the end of last month. The UK government expects the negotiations to leave the EU to take two years.

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