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Leaving the EU: Wales — [Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 25th October 2016.

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Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Labour, Aberavon 9:30 am, 25th October 2016

I thank my hon. Friend. One of the huge risks to Wales of Brexit is that we will see a power grab by the Westminster Government. We will start to see the Westminster Government using the opportunity to claw back funding. We know that the £350 million was a lie. The figure was far more like £190 million, but where will that money go? Will it just disappear into the black hole of the Treasury in Westminster, never to be seen again in Wales? That is a huge risk for Wales in light of Brexit.

Now that all the bluff and bluster of the referendum campaign is behind us, it is all about what the Prime Minister’s Government actually do. So far on that score, the signs have not been positive. Despite repeated requests from the First Minister for a commitment to full continued funding, so far the Government have pledged only to continue funding agreed EU-funded projects until 2020.

That is not as powerful a pledge as it may first seem, for a number of reasons. First, it is for only one additional year after we are scheduled to leave the European Union in March 2019. The Government have made zero assurances that funding will be retained after 2020. Secondly, the Chancellor made clear in his statement on 13 August that the pledge applied only to projects signed before this year’s autumn statement. Apparently, any projects signed after that will be assessed by a method that is yet to be revealed to us—a mystery method. Funding is therefore not guaranteed for multi-year projects signed after next month, even if they are in the current EU 2014 to 2020 funding round.