The ignorance that means Wales will lose billions of pounds in EU funding

Last Updated: June 27, 2016By

Look at this:

160627 EU funding by UK region

That’s right – Wales received more than £2 billion in EU funding between 2007 and 2013, and was due to receive nearly £2.5 billion between 2014 and 2020 – but Welsh voters have now pulled the plug on that funding. Here’s why:

“What’s the EU ever done for us?” Zak Kelly, 21, asks me this standing next to a brand new complex of buildings and facilities that wouldn’t look out of place in Canary Wharf. It’s not Canary Wharf, though, it’s Ebbw Vale, a former steel town of 18,000 people in the heart of the Welsh valleys, where 62% of the population – the highest proportion in Wales – voted Leave.

Even Kelly, who has just finished a training session on a brand new football pitch, backtracks slightly after asking that question. “Well, I know … they built all this,” he says, and motions his head at the impressive facilities that are all around us. “But we put in more money than we get out, don’t we?”

We’re standing on the site of the old steelworks, a toxic industrial wasteland left rotting when the plant, once the biggest in Europe, finally closed in 2002. It’s now “The Works” – a flagship £350m regeneration project funded by the EU redevelopment fund and home to the £33.5m Coleg Gwent, where some of the 29,000 Welsh apprenticeships the European Social Fund pays for help young people learn a trade. Add in a new £30m railway line and £80m improvement to the Heads of the Valley road from other pots of EU money, and the town centre has just received £12.2m for various upgrades and improvements.

Ebbw Vale, left devastated when the steelworks closed, has had more European money poured into it than perhaps any other small town in Britain. But according to the figures Kelly heard, “we get out £7m a year from the EU and we put in £19m”. Anyway, he says, “it was time for a change”.

Source: View from Wales: town showered with EU cash votes to leave EU | UK news | The Guardian

Ignorant? Not half. But wait. It gets worse.

It seems the UK regions are campaigning for the UK government to pay them the equivalent of the EU grants they would have received. Read the story here.

That’s not how it works, folks.

You voted to leave the EU because you didn’t like European Union interference in your affairs.

That includes EU funding for EU improvement projects in your region. Those projects will be cancelled once the UK has left the EU.

You probably won’t receive any money from the UK government to replace the funds you have lost.

The UK government is currently run by Conservatives. They don’t care about regenerating Merthyr Tydfil or Ebbw Vale. They want to cut taxes for the very, very rich – and that’s how they are likely to dispose of your grant money.

Did nobody tell you that?

They probably didn’t. Look how people like Nigel Farage, Iain Duncan Smith and Boris Johnson have been backtracking on pre-referendum claims that the mythical £350 million a week the UK was said to pay into the EU would be used to shore up the NHS instead. They’re all denying they ever said such a thing.

160627 Boris 350 million myth

Isn’t that right, Boris?

So, as far as those pleas for EU funding to be matched, it looks like the regional authorities concerned will receive the same response as Rupert Myers received from Stewart Jackson MP:

160627 leave liars

Still, 21-year-old Zak Kelly did say it was time for a change.

Are you happy now, Zak?


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  1. NMac June 27, 2016 at 7:43 am - Reply

    Oh dear, Oh dear, I strongly suspect that Zak is not going to like the change one bit, and if he has any children they will probably like it even less.

  2. Roland Laycock June 27, 2016 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Amazing what the properganda machine as pumped out as suckers believe it if they told them long enough they would believe the moon was made of green cheese I see hoa Hitler did it it was so easy

  3. Sammo June 27, 2016 at 8:38 am - Reply

    Same here in Cornwall where I live (and which I believe the author of this blog is very familiar with). Kind of crazy the way the locals voted. I don’t understand why and it seems to me that most of the Brexit voters didn’t really understand why. All I heard was immigrants, “get the country back” and a protest against politicians everywhere. Kind of bonkers because casual immigrant labour has become essential to agriculture and horticulture and public services, particularly the NHS, down here.

    The country seems to have become unhinged.

    Interesting psychologically but rather frightening too.

    I found Farage’s victory speech claiming that we had “got our country back” without a “shot being fired” rather tasteless and disgusting considering poor Jo Cox’s murder by a Brexiting loon very recently.

    I really can’t grasp how any of this took place or have any idea how it will end.

  4. David Woods June 27, 2016 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Did more than the Tories ever did!
    Thatcher decimated the coal industry and left them with nothing for years – her answer to the Unions standing up to her – left a people with a history of hard graft and turned them into a generation of dole claimants with no hope and no future!

  5. wildswimmerpete June 27, 2016 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Fortunately we should shortly have the opportunity to reverse the Brexit vote – via a General Election. Article 50 can’t be invoked until at the nearest October and I suspect it won’t be.

  6. casalealex June 27, 2016 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Talk about, “cutting of your nose to spite your face”, or in Welsh
    ‘torri eich trwyn i gwaethaf eich wyneb”

  7. Dan Delion June 27, 2016 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Leavers ‘wanted their country back’, well they’ve bloody got it. Many of those voting for OUT pinned all they hated on the EU ignoring the fact that most of the problems (austerity, transport & welfare cuts, NHS queues, pasty & bedroom taxes) were spawned by recent Tory governments who shafted us by shifting the blame away from themselves – AND THE LEAVERS BELIEVE IT – AND THAT AFTER ALL THE TORY LIES LEADING UP TO THE LAST FEW ELECTIONS. Don’t they ever learn?

    It doesn’t help that much of the UK are duffers at maths, as well as understanding anything ‘foreign’ and having too short and shallow an attention span for more than entertainment. And ass for believ ing the Bullingdon Buffoon….. words really do fail me!

  8. Joan Edington June 27, 2016 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    That Rupert Myers sounds a bit of a diddy but I certainly wouldn’t want Stewart Jackson as my MP. Shocking language from someone who is supposed to serve the public. They are the ones who should be able to “suck up” criticism and respond in a professional way.

  9. Henrietta Sandwich June 27, 2016 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Mike, the tweet buttons have disappeared from your site.

    • Mike Sivier June 27, 2016 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      They appear to be back.

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