Cuts of 5% have been announced in the amounts deprived parts of west Wales and the valleys are to get in European funding.
The culprit Mr Cameron and his UK government who demanded cuts to the overall European Budget. He was aided in this by Ed Miliband who combined with Euro sceptic tories to carry a motion in the Commons demanding cuts to the budget.
The cuts are less than expected.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said he was “disappointed” although pleased the prime minister “has listened to our arguments and has sought to deliver a fairer settlement”.
Despite Carwyn Jones’s gratitude to the Prime Minister the settlement has a lot less to do with the power of Carwyn Jones’s argument and more to do with the impending Scottish independence referendum.
Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will all see a 5% reduction.
But the Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore let the cat out of the bag by saying said Scotland’s allocation would have otherwise fallen by 32%, or 228m euros.
“Now we can confirm that an independent Scotland would face that 32% cut – and only an independent Scotland – because it would not have the UK’s flexibility. On structural funds, 228m euros is the price of leaving the UK family.” So it
s plain for all to see its not about fairness but simply a device to try to persuade the Scots to stay within the Union.
When the EU budget was decided the Welsh government feared the agreement could mean a reduction of £400m for Wales. It now says the cut will be £60m. Just a little above the cost of buying Cardiff Airport (£52m)
David Jones said the UK government has decided to re-allocate EU structural funds for 2014 to 2020 to minimise the impact of reductions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. He was right, a big cut in Scotland’s budget would have played straight into the hands of Alex Salmond.
Under this deal, Wales will receive a total allocation of around €2.145bn.
The Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans was not slow to point out Labour’s role in the cuts. She accused Labour MPs from Wales of aiding and abetting the overall cuts in the EU budget.
This new programme is the third such to involve Wales. It is to help the poorer parts of Wales to kick off their poverty and grow the economy.
There is little evidence that despite large sums of money being put into the deprived regions of Wales that it has kick started the economy. We still remain the poorest country and region of the UK. Lets hope that this next tranche is used to better effect.