WALES could be half a billion pounds a year better off outside the European Union, say senior Vote Leave Wales figures.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, and Vote Leave campaigner – Andrew RT Davies – said that the additional money would enable Wales to spend more on public services like the Welsh NHS, and argued that Wales’ poorest regions would receive more funding outside the EU.
UKIP Leader in Wales, Nathan Gill, said that successive Welsh Governments had “failed the poorest parts of Wales” and that leaving the EU would be “transformational”.
The Figures Explained
The Office for Budget Responsibility has reported a £9.8 billion net UK contribution to the EU in the last year for which final figures are available (2014).
Senior Vote Leave figures – including Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Gisela Stuart – last week offered unconditional guarantees that the UK Government would honour existing EU funding commitments across the UK, up to the end of the current cycle in 2020.
With the UK Government maintaining current levels of support for things like farming and regeneration funds, Wales would also be in line to receive its share of any additional expenditure by the UK Government out of the £9.8 billion ‘Brexit Dividend’; potentially as much as £490 million a year based on figures for 2014.
Andrew RT Davies told The Herald: “Wales could be as much as half a billion pounds a year better off if the UK votes to leave the European Union on Thursday.
“The UK is a massive net contributor to the EU and Wales would be entitled, under the Barnett Formula, to its share of that £9.8 billion Brexit Dividend. No ifs, no buts.
“It is worth remembering that only the poorest parts of Europe qualify for structural funds, which are actually paid for out of UK tax receipts, and it is a stain on the Welsh Government that successive rounds have failed to deliver prosperity for the poorest parts of Wales – particularly in the South Wales Valleys.
“Senior Government Ministers have already pledged to maintain existing EU funding if we Vote to Leave, but the additional funding that Wales could receive would be a huge boost and could enable the Welsh Government to put extra money into local services such as the Welsh NHS.”
UKIP Leader in Wales, Nathan Gill, said: “This is yet more evidence that Wales would be better off outside the EU.
“Successive Welsh Governments have failed the poorest parts of Wales, and the extra money we would be entitled to if we Vote to Leave the EU would be transformational for those areas.
“The real danger clearly lies in voting to remain, where unelected EU leaders have imposed damaging cuts to regions across the European Union.”