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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Another snub for Welsh Labour

It is beginning to look as if senior Labour politicians cannot help themselves. Vaughan Gething may be Starmer's man, but the price he is having to pay for that support is a series of snubs on long-standing Welsh Labour policy.

Yesterday, I blogged on how the Shadow Home Secretary had indicated that she was opposed to her Welsh colleagues position of devolving policing to the Senedd. 

Today's snub is a tad more serious.

The BBC report that Shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast that the Welsh government will not have full control over the replacement for European Union funds, should the party win the general election:

Sir Keir Starmer has previously said that he would restore decision-making powers to the Welsh government over millions worth of grants to help boost Wales' economy.

But the party's manifesto on Thursday said that "representatives" of Wales would be given the power to make decisions, without clarifying who.

The Welsh Conservatives said it was focused on empowering people across Wales, while Plaid Cymru accused Labour of snubbing the Welsh government.

BBC Wales was told that Labour's plans would work much like the EU scheme had in the past.

Last year, Sir Keir promised Welsh Labour conference that Wales would have control over its "economic destiny".

"The decision-making role for the Welsh government on structural funds, will be restored," he said.

Speaking on Friday, Ms Stevens said: "It's exactly the same as Keir Starmer said in Welsh Labour conference.

"Both the UK government and Welsh government under the old EU funding... had a role. It's not a binary choice, one or the other."

Asked if control will go fully to the Welsh government, she said: "No, as I said, it's not a binary choice.

"It's changed from the current circumstances where the Welsh government has absolutely no say in how the Shared Prosperity Funds are delivered in Wales."

Previously, the The Welsh government had administered the EU grants - known as structural funds - while the UK was in the EU. However, after Brexit, the UK government set up the Shared Prosperity Fund which it has controlled rather than ministers in Cardiff.

That caused a row with Welsh government who have accused them of rolling back devolution. It now looks as if a Starmer government is going to leave it that way. So much for Labour's commitment to Wales.

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