“Strengthening the Union requires full-throated commitment to upholding the devolution settlement” –

Ogmore MP Chris Elmore has warned UK Government ministers not to run roughshod over the devolution settlement through the Shared Prosperity Fund.

The new Welsh Secretary, Simon Hart MP, failed to confirm whether the Welsh Labour Government would have control over the new fund, that is set to replace EU structural funding post-2020.

At the first Wales Questions of the decade, Mr Hart was repeatedly asked to clarify details about how the fund will work by MPs. Despite there being only 11 months until the fund is scheduled to come into force, the only assurance Mr Hart was able to give was that it would not “drive a coach and horses” through the current devolution settlement.

Chris Elmore MP said:

“I want to see the United Kingdom strengthened, but for that to happen, UK Government Ministers must respect devolution and not start pulling the rug from under the years of progress we’ve made.

“We were promised not a penny less, not a power lost. Wales currently receives around £680 million from the EU each year. The Welsh Labour Government need to know what funding will be made available to them from the Shared Prosperity fund so they can properly plan as to where and how this will be invested.”

Wales Office Minister, David TC Davies MP, claimed that Wales would not lose out financially but again failed to confirm who would have ultimate control over the fund.

Chris added:

“I am a big believer in our precious union. At a time when we’re seeing nationalism sweep across many parts of the UK, this is just about the worst time for UK Government Ministers to be considering rolling back the clock on any aspect of the devolution settlement."

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