THE decision not to award Ceredigion a single penny of Levelling Up funding has been lambasted by the county’s MP.
Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP has today (Thursday 19 January) criticised the UK Government’s methodology for allocating funding under its ‘Levelling Up Fund’, describing it as “arbitrary and ad-hoc”.
Ceredigion is among 11 Welsh local authorities that have not received funding under today’s announcement, despite wealthier areas such as Rishi Sunak’s constituency of Richmond in Yorkshire receiving funding.
The Plaid Cymru MP said that given Wales is denied £1.1bn of funding it would have received under previous EU schemes, and that public spending on local authority services has fallen by 9.4 per cent over a decade, and that “the idea that we should now be grateful for the privilege of competing over a small pot of money is frankly insulting.”
Plaid Cymru argue that funding should be allocated according to relative need in order to deliver the “cohesive long-term economic planning needed to break the poverty cycle”.
Ben Lake MP said: “Ceredigion is among eleven Welsh local authorities that do not receive a penny in today’s ‘Levelling Up’ round. The fact that many of the areas that have been left out today are those in most need of ‘levelling-up’, whilst some of the beneficiaries are among the wealthier areas of the UK, casts serious doubt over the appropriateness of the methodology used to allocate the funding.
“Many promises were made during the Brexit debate, but the Conservatives’ claim that Wales would receive ‘not a penny less’ may have been the most brazen. That manifesto pledge could not have been further from the truth, with Wales at a loss of some £1.1bn compared with previous EU schemes.
“To make matters worse, between 2009-2020 local authority spending per head fell by 9.4%. The idea that we should now be grateful for the privilege of competing over a small pot of money is frankly insulting. The arbitrary and ad-hoc way in which Westminster is allocating this funding is not conducive to the kind of cohesive long-term economic planning needed to break the poverty cycle.
“From the outset, Plaid Cymru have called for funding to be allocated according to need. If the UK Government want to redeem any credibility on ‘levelling up’, they should revise their criteria so that Wales receives funding according to our relative need.”
Ceredigion received £10.8 million in 2021 through the Levelling Up Fund to revitalise Aberystwyth sea front, including an investment for the Old College and Harbour.
Levelling up in Wales 2023
Where the money is going
• £50 million for Crossrail Cardiff. This will help deliver a new line between Cardiff Bay and Cardiff Central Station, improving travel for thousands of people who travel daily between the stations.
• A safe and direct cycle route will be created between Llandudno Junction and Betws y Coed via the Conwy Valley with an £18.6 million grant. The scheme will also include measures to mitigate against flooding.
• £17.8 million will restore the historic estate in the Vale of Neath and build new walkways and cycle paths.
• There is £17 million for building new walkways and cycle paths to bring people closer together in Holyhead and enable visitors and local people to explore the stunning sites of St Cybi’s Church and the Roman Fort.
• £18 million to transform the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl, one of the most recognisable buildings in South Wales, which has deteriorated after years of piecemeal refurbishments.
• In Blaenau Gwent, a new engineering campus for 600 young people will be built using £9 million funding. It will offer the next generation of engineers an extensive programme of apprenticeships and industry placements in the area.
• £20 million will restore and regenerate three industry heritage sites in the Lower Swansea Valley. This includes the Morfa Copperworks and will create new shops, restaurants and market places, and a major upgrade to Swansea Museum.
• The £7.6 million Pontypool Cultural Hub project in Torfaen will transform derelict buildings into a thriving cultural centre with a new restaurant to boost the night-time economy.
• Building a state of the art leisure centre in Caerphilly with £20 million, including a new gym and swimming pool.
• In Gwynedd, £18.8 million will upgrade walking and cycling routes for the National Slate Museum and the Neuadd Ogwen arts centre.
• Denbighshire will receive £11 million to restore the historic monuments in Ruthin, including St Peter’s Church and the town square.