My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regular discussions with the First Minister and Welsh Ministers on a range of issues, including the UK shared prosperity fund.
Nadolig llawen i chi, Mr Speaker.
We have heard a lot from the Minister about the shared prosperity fund this morning, but I am still none the wiser on the details. What guarantees can the Minister provide that the long-awaited shared prosperity fund will provide no reduction in moneys received by the Welsh Government compared with current structural funding? What guarantees can the Minister provide that it will be the Welsh Government who decide how the money is allocated in Wales?
We have already made the commitment that the amount of money will match everything that came from Europe. Previously, the European Union held the strings and controlled how the money was spent; now, it will be the UK Government working in partnership with local authorities and the Welsh Government to ensure that the money is spent wisely.
The Minister says that the money will be matched, but when the dealing is done, will the so-called shared prosperity fund in fact turn out to be a pared back austerity fund for Wales, in keeping with normal Conservative practice? Merry Christmas.
The shared prosperity fund will mean more money going into Wales, along with more powers, which will come about as a result of Brexit, going to Wales. We are looking forward to putting our Conservative record before the people of Wales in the elections next May.
If, like the road to hell, this UK Government’s proposals regarding the shared prosperity fund are littered with good intentions, their actions, as with the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, show that they are most interested in accumulating power to themselves. Please can the Minister explain when exactly we will learn what the mechanism will be for involving the Welsh Government in deciding which people, communities and local businesses will receive the necessary funding to enable them to level up, who will be the final arbiter, how much money will be available and when the process will begin?
We have already said that discussions are ongoing, that the money will be matched, and that the shared prosperity fund will deliver our levelling-up agenda across Wales. The Labour party spent a long time saying that there would not be any money and that there would not be any interest in Wales, but the reality is that we have shown that the money will be there and we want to make sure that it is used properly. Those sorts of arguments might raise a few cheers at Labour party conferences, but the people of Wales will be pleased to know that that money is going to come and that that interest in levelling up the whole of Wales will follow.