Welsh ports will ‘lose out’ in rule change

Changes to the rules for a funding scheme that helps ports develop facilities for offshore windfarm manufacturing will leave Welsh ports out in the cold, claims Plaid Cymru MP Hywel […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Changes to the rules for a funding scheme that helps ports develop facilities for offshore windfarm manufacturing will leave Welsh ports out in the cold, claims Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams.

Yesterday Energy Minister Charles Hendry announced £60million funding for ports. Mr Williams said that Welsh ports would be unable to bid for the funding scheme.

Mr Hendry said in parliament: “We have provided up to £60 million of industrial support over four years to support the development of projects in the offshore wind manufacturing supply chain.

“However, I should make it clear that there is no UK ports fund, and we are not providing financial support for speculative ports development. As industrial support is a devolved matter, that funding applies only to England.”

Mr Williams said that this would disadvantage Welsh ports: “It is ludicrous to expect that Welsh ports will be able to develop anything like the appropriate facilities having been unfairly cut out of the whole bidding process.

“The UK Government is supporting English ports at the expense of Welsh ports. This is a result of Labour’s unfair Barnett funding formula which allows Westminster to act as judge and jury on any funding issue and offers no form of redress to the Welsh Government in cases like this where we are clearly in the right.”

The system needed changing, Mr Williams added: “The Barnett Formula must be reviewedand a fair and transparent mechanism for funding must be put in its place.”