Wales – in the House of Commons on 18th January 2023.
What assessment he has made of the adequacy of UK Government funding for Wales.
Over the spending review period the UK Government are providing the Welsh Government with 20% more funding per person than equivalent UK Government spending in other parts of the UK. As a result of the autumn statement, Welsh Government funding is increasing by around £1.2 billion over the next two years, on top of the additional £2.5 billion-a-year average over the three-year spending review.
The UK Government shared prosperity fund short-changes Wales by £1 billion over three years, even though the Secretary of State and his predecessors repeatedly promised that Wales would receive not a penny less when replacing EU funds. Those funds were used by the Welsh Government to deliver 5,000 apprenticeship year. Why is the Minister letting down young people in Wales in this way?
The hon. Lady will know that the shared prosperity fund is extremely generous to Wales and replaces all the money that came from the European Union. There have been fantastic announcements in recent weeks about how the fund will progress. She will also know about an array of other funding schemes through UK Government, including the growth deal. I hope to be in her constituency in early February for the groundbreaking, milestone event for Pentre Awel, I hope she will join me at that.
Despite the Welsh Government receiving the largest devolution funding settlement, it has the worst performing Labour-run NHS. Instead of spending on what matters, they plan to spend £32 million on a 20 mile-an-hour blanket speed policy. Such a policy will cost the economy £4.5 billion. Does my hon. Friend agree with me and 94% of my surveyed constituents that that is another example of a Labour waste of money?
My hon. Friend is quite right that the policy is not a good way to spend money, and is not deliverable either. As an NHS GP working in north-east Wales, I can tell her that the delivery of NHS services is shocking in many senses. We need the Welsh Government to improve their performance.
As my hon. Friend Dame Nia Griffith has just reminded the House, the Secretary of State, the Minister and their predecessors repeatedly promised that Wales would receive “not a penny less” to replace EU structural funds to Wales. Not only have they failed to deliver on that promise, but the record inflation that their Government have presided over has resulted in a double whammy to the Welsh Government’s budget. Is the Minister aware that higher education has been shut out of his Government’s flagship levelling-up process and that hundreds of jobs are now at risk, possibly as many as 600? Why are his Government continually letting down people, including young people, across Wales?
I joined the Secretary of State on a visit to Bangor University last week and it is important that we ensure there are funding mechanisms for higher education. There is an array of schemes through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and it is important that the hon. Gentleman and the Government work on ensuring that the university sector is supported in Wales.