Member of the European Parliament for Wales, Jill Evans, has joined calls with a cross-party group of MEPs in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May asking her to urgently bring forward a proposal to replace the funding provided for Wales by the EU.
Wales currently benefits from billions of pounds of EU funding. The current funding cycle runs from 2014-2020, during which time Wales is expected to have received £2.06 billion in support from the EU.
Research by the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) found that Wales would miss out on around £2.5 billion over the next cycle which runs from 2021-2027.
The letter, signed by 16 MEPs from several parties, points to ‘consternation amongst local authorities and third-sector organisations' over the government’s inability to replace funding:
"Leaving the EU will only deepen the already shocking inequality that is a blight on our communities. We believe that remaining in the EU is the only good deal for our communities. But, if the UK does leave the EU at the end of next month, we call on you urgently to bring forward a proposal to replace this funding, while fully respecting the competences of the devolved governments.”
Commenting on the letter, Jill Evans said,
“Inequality in the UK is the highest of any member state in the EU. If we want to end this shocking inequality, leaving the EU is the last thing Wales should do. Losing crucial European funding would be devastating for Wales.
“If we leave the EU, the UK Government, working closely with the Welsh Government, should ensure that the poorest communities in Wales continue to receive funding, to decrease the shocking regional disparities caused by austerity.”