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Wales benefits '£79 per head' from EU budget, report claims

A new report claims Wales receives £245 million more from the European Union than it pays in - around 0.4% of its GDP.

Credit: PA Images

The briefing paper, Wales and the EU Referendum: Estimating Wales' Net Contribution to the European Union by Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre has found that the amount of money Wales received from the EU budget in 2014 was £658m.

By accounting for a share of the UK's rebate, as Wales does not make a direct contribution, it's estimated £414m was paid towards the EU budget .

The overall net benefit to Wales was around £79 per head in 2014. This compares with a net contribution of £151 per head for the UK as a whole.

The report claims the situation in Wales is in 'stark contrast to the position of the UK' due to higher levels of 'public sector receipts.'

The report is part of ongoing research projects in public finance and the impact of the European referendum in Wales ahead of the vote on whether to stay in or leave the EU on 23 June.

In the forthcoming referendum debate, the distinct position of Wales with respect to its relationship with the European Union needs to be more widely recognised and debated.

"Beyond the wider economic benefits and costs of EU membership, Wales' position as a net beneficiary from the EU means the outcome of the vote may have a marked effect on the future economy and public finances of Wales."

– Guto Ifan, Wales Governance Centre

Geraint Talfan-Davies, Chairman of Wales Stronger in Europe told ITV News the EU is a 'great bargain for Wales' and the country would be 'out of pocket' if Britain left the European Union.

This makes a real difference to all our lives – creating jobs, upgrading skills, regenerating communities, enhancing our universities, improving the environment, sustaining agriculture and rural areas, and helping the stretched budgets of our local authorities.

And of course, that's before you factor in the single market, which is worth around £5 billion a year in exports.

In short, the EU is great bargain for Wales. But there is no guarantee that we would enjoy these benefits if we vote leave. Wales would almost certainly be out of pocket.

A vote to Remain is a vote to keep Europe investing in Wales.”

– Geraint Talfan Davies, chair of Wales Stronger In Europe

A spokesperson for Vote Leave Cymru said Wales will be financially better off outside of the European Union where contributions could be 'better spend locally'.

Reports such as these ignore one crucial fact: there is no such thing as European money. It’s money that hardworking families have paid in taxes, and money which could be better spent locally. "In any case, we do not recognise these projections, and if the UK votes to leave the EU on June 23, Wales will be financially better off.

"The UK currently spends £10 billion a year more than it receives in so-called EU funds and Wales would be entitled to its share of that dividend if we Vote to Leave." "It’s also worth noting that these projections are based on the funds that Wales currently receives from the EU, and there are absolutely no guarantees over the amount of support Wales will receive beyond 2020 – or that these funding streams will even continue. "That’s why the safest option is to Vote to Leave.

"If we leave the EU we can spend our money on our priorities, like the NHS, schools and housing. And we could once again be masters of our own destiny, free to sign trade agreements with new trading partners the world over – including with the EU itself.”

– Vincent Bailey, Vote Leave Cymru