Welsh Conservatives have backed the Prime Minister's stance on EU funding even if that means a cut to the money made available to the poorest parts of Wales. David Cameron told the Commons yesterday that 'there is a need for cuts in the overall cohesion and structural funds budget' of the EU.
– Prime Minister David Cameron
We should be frank and honest as a country in saying that, although there are regions of the UK that still benefit and should go on benefiting from structural funds, such funds should, on the whole, be for the poorest regions of the poorest countries.
Those 'structural funds' have paid out £3.5bn to the poorest parts of Wales - an area defined as 'West Wales and the Valleys' - in two batches since 2000 and another batch from 2013 looks likely. Even so, the Welsh Conservatives' Shadow Finance Minister, Paul Davies backed the Prime Minister.
– Paul Davies, AM Shadow Finance Minister
I think David Cameron is doing the right thing for us (calling for an EU budget freeze.) He's made the point that poorer regions should continue to receive economic aid. But the reality is that all regions will have to play their part if the budget is frozen.
That was echoed by his leader, Andrew RT Davies who said it's 'only right and reasonable that where savings can be made they should be made' before going on to attack Labour's track record in handing the EU grants since 2000.
– Andrew RT Davies AM, Assembly leader Welsh Conservatives
What the hell have they done with the first two tranches (of EU aid) and how can we have confidence that they will be any different with the next lot?