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EU Referendum: Regeneration Projects

Volume 613: debated on Wednesday 13 July 2016

5. What assessment he has made of the potential effect of the outcome of the EU referendum on regeneration projects in Wales. (905787)

As Secretary of State I am determined to maintain our recent economic success and to ensure that we manage our transition to the new arrangements in a calm and measured way. As we negotiate our way out of the EU, a whole range of decisions will have to be made in due course.

The A465—the heads of the valleys road—runs through my constituency and has historically had a bad safety record—[Interruption.]

Order. I think the people of Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney at the very least will want to hear the hon. Gentleman.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. With EU funds, the road has been mostly turned into a dual carriageway, but some phases of the work have yet to start. Will the Secretary of State assure me that he will do all that he can and work with the Welsh Government to provide support and ensure that that project and many like it will not be jeopardised by Brexit?

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. I underline that we remain full, active members of the EU, with all the benefits and obligations that that brings, for at least two years. The project he highlights is one of the more successful EU-funded projects, but not all of them were as successful but had questionable strategies and woolly outcomes. We need to reassess how we support regional aid programmes.

Can the shadow Secretary of State—sorry, I mean the Secretary of State, who is just a shadow in his own party—give an absolute commitment that no regeneration projects will lose out as a result of the disastrous Brexit result?

I can guarantee that for the next two years at least no EU-supported project will lose out. We have of course not yet concluded our negotiating position, and simply replacing one source of funding with another misses the point. The EU referendum sent out a clear message from the communities that are purported to benefit the most from European aid that they simply did not want what was being offered to them.