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Levelling-up Fund: Project Delivery

Volume 703: debated on Wednesday 17 November 2021

3. What recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the progress of the delivery of projects funded by the levelling-up fund in Wales. (904159)

The UK Government are fully focused on levelling up the whole of the United Kingdom, through programmes such as the levelling-up fund. We are working closely and directly with local authorities and other local partners right across the UK to ensure that those are delivered quickly and successfully.

Is the Minister aware that Barry in my constituency and the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan did not qualify for European funds? Does he therefore accept that the levelling-up fund is a potential game changer for the Vale of Glamorgan? May I draw his attention to the excellent proposal for a marina for Barry, which would also recover some land to make available for appropriate development? May I also ask him to pay particular attention when this application comes in?

My right hon. Friend has long been a doughty champion of this scheme, as he has of many other schemes, including the seven UK community renewal fund projects that are going to be delivered in the Vale of Glamorgan and are worth more than £1 million. I simply say to him that we would encourage as many good-quality bids as possible from the Vale of Glamorgan and other local authorities in Wales.

On climate action, the UK must step up to provide the funding that is needed across the whole of Wales. Despite the lack of the funding that we would have seen from the EU, the Welsh Labour Government are already delivering on renewable energy and sustainable transport and achieving the third best recycling rates in the world. Will the Secretary of State tell us what discussions he is having with his Welsh Government counterparts to discuss more climate investment?

I am delighted to answer that, because in addition to all the many programmes that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has mentioned—the UK community renewal fund, the shared prosperity fund and the levelling-up fund—we also have the growth deals, which are delivering the very kinds of environmental projects to which the hon. Lady has just referred. Of course the growth deals are funded 50% by the UK Government and 50% by the Welsh Government, who will be receiving an extra £2.5 billion next year as a result of the most generous settlement they have ever had.

There is tremendous enthusiasm for the levelling-up fund in both Denbighshire and Conwy, where the local authorities are champing at the bit to put in their bids. So will my hon. Friend please indicate when the second round is likely to open?

I can indeed: it will be in the spring of next year. We look forward to receiving bids from my right hon. Friend’s local authority and local authorities throughout the rest of Wales.