Wrexham’s Assembly Member hopes a new fund will complement the work of the Welsh Government and benefit local residents.
The UK receives economic aid from the European Union to specifically tackle inequality and the Shared Prosperity Fund is expected to replace the funding post-Brexit.
Lesley Griffiths AM said she believes the new fund “should not bypass the National Assembly and undermine Welsh devolution” – an issue highlighted in Westminster last week in a debate where the new Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton spoke.
Wales received £370 million a year from EU structural and investment funds – with stats claiming that it created 48,000 new jobs and 13,000 new businesses in Wales.
Lesley Griffiths AM said: “People in Wales who voted to leave the European Union were promised that Wales would not be a penny worse off. That promise must be kept and delivered through the Shared Prosperity Fund.”
“The UK Government put forward the idea and was originally due to publish details of the fund in 2018. There has been an alarming reluctance to outline its future plans but there needs to be openness and transparency.”
“Wales should not lose a penny or any of its powers due to Brexit.”
Under the previous system, Wrexham did not qualify for funding from the EU regional investment programme. Lesley Griffiths AM says she hopes there is an opportunity for Wrexham to benefit from the new fund to support the investment made by the Welsh Government locally.
Last week Wrexham.com reported that a question by MP Sarah Atherton revealed Wrexham will specifically benefit from the shared prosperity fund.
Lesley Griffiths AM added: “It might not always hit the headlines but Wrexham has and is benefiting from significant Welsh Government investment.
“Millions have been spent improving our schools and colleges, exemplified by the ongoing reconstruction at Coleg Cambria’s Yale site in the town centre. Innovative schemes like creating an Enterprise Hub and launching a Development Bank of Wales in Wrexham has supported local businesses.”
“Wrexham Council received increased funding this year to spend on local services and plans are in the pipeline to create a national football museum in the town, to improve the local rail network and to regenerate the area of the town centred around the Mold Road, through the Wrexham Gateway Project.”
“Welsh Government funding has contributed to a number of local projects. However, after years of UK Government austerity, I will welcome any further funding that can be secured that will benefit the town and its people.”
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