EU Referendum

Welsh EU cash 'maintained' after Brexit, say vote Leave

Boris Johnson, left, and Michael Gove Image copyright PA/GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Boris Johnson, left, and Michael Gove, are among the MPs who have signed the open letter

Campaigners for a Leave vote have said money Wales gets from Brussels would be maintained by the UK government in the event of Brexit.

In a letter, several Tory government ministers, including Michael Gove and Chris Grayling, said there was "more than enough money" to make the promise.

David Cameron has said it was not certain if the money would be replaced.

The Remain campaign said a Leave vote would "rip Wales away from its most secure source of funding".

In the open letter, the Leave campaign said all programmes would be funded at current levels until 2020, "or up to the date when the EU is due to conclude individual programmes".

They also said the programmes would be run "much more effectively", freeing up extra money to be spent on other "priorities".

A recent study by Cardiff University estimated Wales received £245m more from the EU than it put in in 2014.

The net gain is a result mainly of money allocated to farmers and development programmes for poorer areas.

The letter has been signed by Conservative MPs Boris Johnson, Mr Gove, Priti Patel, Mr Grayling, John Whittingdale, Iain Duncan Smith, Theresa Villiers, Julian Brazier, James Duddridge, George Eustice, Penny Mordaunt, Dominic Raab and Desmond Swayne.

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Media captionWelsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies says the UK should spend its cash 'as we see fit'

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, said: "Today's announcement is hugely welcome and is further evidence that Wales would be better off out of the European Union.

"Despite the first minister's fantasy claims, we now know that funding for each and every part of the UK, including Wales, would be safe if we vote to leave.

"The real danger therefore lies in voting to remain, where EU leaders have imposed stringent cuts to regions across the European Union."

'Pet cat'

But First Minister Carwyn Jones said those pushing for Brexit were in no position to give Wales funding guarantees.

He told AMs: "The 'vow' before the Scottish referendum, those who signed it had the power to deliver on it.

"Those who signed this letter have no more power to deliver on it than my children's pet cat."

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, a former diplomat who chaired an inquiry into Welsh devolution, called the Leave campaign's promises on Wales' EU funding "false".

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Media captionSir Emyr Jones Parry claims Brexit promises on funding are 'false'

He told BBC Wales' Y Sgwrs programme: "Do we really think on the basis of experience, all the problems we have had with the Barnett formula [which determines Welsh Government funding]?

"Do we believe that Westminster and the British government will be saying, now that we have got this very substantial sum of money that we are no longer paying in gross terms to the EU budget, let's re-allocate it?

"Wales can have this rather splendid contribution, and we will more than match what was given by the EU. I don't believe it would happen."

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