During the EU referendum campaigning last month, 13 senior Conservative party members promised that Wales would continue to see EU Funding in the event of a Vote Leave. Two weeks on from the referendum, and there is still no clear answer from MP’s concerning Wales and EU Funding since the vote became in favor of Brexit.
First Minister Carwyn Jones aims to hold those party members accountable if Wales loses the majority or all of its funding from the EU. Wales receives roughly £79 per head. A loss of that magnitude could spell disaster for the country, especially if the UK heads for an economic crisis. The funding from the EU is intended to help the poorest areas and individuals in Wales, and the country has received over £4bn to date from the European Union.
The European Social Fund helps causes in Wales such as urban development; research and innovation, small businesses and renewable energy. The European Social Fund has also helped Wales massively by pouring in £352m on skills and growth for young people. As well as this, it has funded £243m on youth employment in the region and £191m on poverty in poorer places throughout the region. If this funding is taken away from Wales in the near future, it could cause a huge economic downfall, as well as a giant domino effect. A lot of European companies have brought factories and jobs into Wales, on the recommendation of the European Union. If those companies, such as Jaguar, remove their custom from the UK on the basis of change to export tax, thousands of jobs will be lost.
Welsh Conservatives now want promises that the EU will continue to fund support for the country. Welsh farmers receive a lot of support from the EU, and the First Minister has stated that in no way will farming continue to be funded when we leave the EU.
As well as this, some of the biggest monetary support has been pushed into Wales. Swansea’s University Bay campus has been backed with £40m in structural funds, along with a finance package of £60m. The EU has also funded improvements to the A465, and the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea – which has received £3.7m in support. Ponty Lido has also been backed by £3m worth of funding from the EU, along with the Wales Coastal Path, which received £4m.
The main thing to note about the situation is that we still remain in the EU until we metaphorically push the button and evoke article 50. However, this isn’t likely to happen until October, when David Cameron officially resigns and someone else guides us out of the EU. As well as this, it will take a maximum of two years worth of negotiations with the EU on what we can give and receive from them in terms of funding. A change in funding to Wales may only come into effect on 2020, as the country has been promised funds up until this point. However, the future beyond that point is definitely uncertain.