Wales / Europe
In the Brexit vote Wales voted 53% to leave the EU. The BBC keeps telling us what idiots we were so let’s look at some finances.
Wales gets about £658 million a year from Europe. This is spent on the following:
- European structural funds: This covers everything from supporting people into work and training to urban development
- Common Agricultural Policy: A £200 million a year scheme providing payments to more than 16,000 farms in Wales “to help protect and enhance the countryside”. One pillar of this is the Welsh Government Rural Communities rural development programme, a £957 million programme running from 2014-20 supporting businesses and farms in rural areas
- Other funds: There are several other funds covering everything from the arts to biodiversity
Let’s look at those three.
The first says ‘supporting people into work’ yet Wales has no decent jobs and is one of the poorest parts of the UK. I guess that bit didn’t work.
Second, our farmers get loads of cash from Europe yet many farms are struggling. Over the last three years for example 136 dairy farms closed in Wales.
And the third strand puts money into the arts (apparently?) Not that a single penny of that cash has ever gone to the international Welsh Poetry Competition (the biggest and best poetry contest in Wales) over the last 11 years.
OK, but how much does Wales give Europe to start with? Well, we pay in £414 million, so we only actually get back £244 million.
To put that into perspective the UK will save more than that every week after we leave so in theory if our Welsh government can shout a bit and London (remember to doff the cap) gives us just 1/52 of what it saves we’ll be better off.
Of course if we had stayed in Europe then this money would probably have disappeared by 2019 / 2020 as other, poorer countries than Wales (e.g. Serbia), took our funding. Good article here from 2014. So optimists could say if Wales was going to leave the EU then now is almost the perfect time to do so!
Over to you WAG… get shouting!
Note: Figures from the Western Mail