The Welsh Government has announced a £50m fund to help businesses and public services prepare for Brexit.
Carwyn Jones has announced the £50m EU Transition Fund which the Welsh Conservatives had called “a small step in the right direction”
The fund will be developed in partnership with Welsh businesses, public services and other key organisations, to provide tailored support as the UK prepares to leave the EU.
The fund will provide a combination of financial support and loan funding, and will support the provision of technical, commercial, export-related and sectoral-specific advice for businesses.
In addition, the EU Transition Fund will be designed to help employers retain and continue to attract EU nationals, who make a crucial contribution to Wales. The fund will underline Wales’ welcome to people from other countries who have made Wales their home.
The fund will also provide dedicated development support for Wales’ agricultural industry as it prepares for transition and the future once the UK has left the EU.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“Brexit poses different challenges and opportunities for each and every aspect of Welsh life – from our local businesses and major employers, to our farmers, hospitals and universities.
The EU Transition Fund will help meet the challenges that lie ahead. Developed in partnership with our businesses and public services, it will provide targeted and innovative support, which will help them survive and, indeed, thrive outside the EU.
I am making an early announcement about this fund, so we have the greatest opportunity to design this fund with those organisations and businesses it is intended to help.
My priority is to ensure Wales is in the best possible position to deal with the challenges and opportunities ahead. As a government, we are committed to providing solutions which work for Wales and we will continue to work with partners to make the most of every opportunity.”
Responding to the announcement, Welsh Conservative Brexit spokesman, Mark Isherwood said:
“In the Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced an extra £3bn to help prepare the UK for Brexit and once again, Carwyn Jones and his Welsh Labour Government is playing catch-up.
This is a small step in the right direction but sadly for Wales, since the referendum, the First Minister and his government has been in a state of paralysis, which has ensured that our country has been a step behind.
I have long called on the First Minister to end his prophecies of doom and gloom over Brexit and provide the people of Wales with words of confidence, optimism and importantly a plan to lead our nation to success.
Carwyn Jones urgently needs to up his game and ensure that Wales is sufficiently resourced and prepared to embrace the opportunities and tackle the challenges that lie ahead.”
The £50m EU Transition Fund is supported by an initial £10m down payment in the 2018-19 final budget. It builds on £5m allocated for Brexit preparedness over 2018-19 and 2019-20 as part of the two-year Budget agreement with Plaid Cymru.