Welsh Labour MP Chris Elmore has called on the UK Government to support Welsh communities who have suffered from, or are at risk of, flooding in South Wales.
Following a Statement on the recent from the UK Government, Chris asked the Environment Secretary, George Eustice MP, to investigate former coal sites and to ensure that the funding was there to make sure they remain safe.
Prior to Chris’ question, Mr Eustice had implied that the management of former coal mines was a devolved matter in response to a question from Pontypridd MP, Alex Davies-Jones.
The Coal Industry Act (1994) gives the UK Government legal responsibility for the management of former coal sites, many of which are found in the South Wales Valleys.
Chris Elmore MP said:
“South Wales knows all too well the dangers posed by former coal sites on the communities that grew up around them. The UK Government has a clear legal responsibility to ensure the safety of those communities and to put in place adequate measures and funding to make this happen.”
Chris joined every Welsh Labour MP in signing a letter to the Prime Minister on Monday, calling on him to change the way the devolution settlement allocates funding to the Welsh Government. The group view the Barnett Formula, the way through which additional funding in England is meant to be compensated to the devolved nations, as ‘outdated’ given that ministers remain able to allocate funding to England without increasing funding to Wales in certain circumstances.
“It’s been so positive to see the way in which communities across South Wales have really pulled together during this devastating period of flooding.
“This compassion and willingness to help now needs to be equally reflected by the UK Government. Incidents like this show just how outdated the devolution settlement now is – it needs reform so it properly works for Welsh communities.”
Figures from the Wales Governance Centre show that the Welsh Government’s budget would be £6 billion higher in 2020/21 than in 2010/11 if it had grown in line with the long-term trend in public expenditure. The Welsh bloc grant remains around 5 per cent lower in real terms than it was in 2010, when the Conservatives came to power.