Jonathan Edwards presents new law to ensure fair funding across UK nations
New Office for Fair Funding called for in Ten Minute Rule Bill
Plaid Cymru Treasury Spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, presented a Bill in the House of Commons today, outlining a radical redesign of how the nations and regions of the UK are funded, through the establishment of an independent Office for Fair Funding.
The Ten Minute Rule Bill, being presented by Mr Edwards, would establish the new expert-led, independent body to look at financing across the UK. The organisation would have a statutory obligation to deliver geographic wealth convergence, as well as deciding on funding settlements for the devolved nations and regions of the UK.
Recent international data has shown that the largest difference in economic prosperity in Europe was between Inner London, the UK’s richest region (with a regional GDP average of 614% of the EU average), and West Wales and the Valleys, the UK’s poorest (with a regional GDP 68% of the EU average).
Disputes between devolved government and Whitehall relating to how nations are regions were funded could also be resolved by the independent body, Mr Edwards suggested. For example, the dispute over HS2’s consequences for Welsh funding could be examined by the Office.
When presenting the Bill in the House of Commons, Jonathan Edwards MP said:
“For decades, British Governments – red and blue alike – have tinkered around the edges of a broken economic system without challenging its structural flaws.
“Nine of the ten poorest regions in Northern Europe are located within the British State, as well as its richest by a country mile. These disgraceful geographical wealth inequalities are a record of shame.
“That is why today I am introducing a bill to establish an independent advisory body to make recommendations on the equitable distribution of public expenditure across the British State: a new Office for Fair Funding with delivering geographic wealth convergence as its statutory aim.
“Brexit is not an excuse to re-assert Westminster control over Wales. This bill would help create a level playing field between the nations of the British State."