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Michael Gove: What levelling up means for Wales

The glories of Wales communicate for themselves. A proud previous as a crucible of the economic revolution and, with rising strengths in aerospace and superior manufacturing, distinctive universities, a world-renowned sporting and cultural heritage and a spellbinding panorama, a future stuffed with promise.

We all know that occasions are difficult, at house and overseas. However this solely makes our mission to degree up alternative and prosperity throughout the entire of the UK extra pressing. Wales has all of the core strengths a nation must thrive within the years forward. Its pure sources and human capital are second to none.

For too lengthy, although, in widespread with communities throughout the UK, the potential of many elements of Wales has been undervalued and untapped. That’s altering.

The Welsh Government in the present day has the largest block grant within the historical past of devolution.

Communities from Rhyl to Raglan are getting £121m from the Neighborhood Possession Fund and the Levelling Up Fund, alongside £790m for metropolis and development offers.

Native leaders in Wales, too, are being empowered as by no means earlier than.

The £585m that Wales is receiving from our new £2.6bn UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which replaces previous EU structural funds, goes on to them to spend on native priorities. They’re additionally being armed with higher powers and extra funding by our levelling up agenda.

However it’s clear we have to go additional, drawing on the success of shut collaboration between the Welsh and UK governments by the pandemic and significantly the vaccination programme.

And it’s in that spirit of shared function and partnership that the Welsh and UK governments have come collectively to carry a brand new freeport to Wales – a chosen zone with tax breaks and rebates for native funding and regeneration.

This implies extra good jobs for native individuals, extra inward funding for companies and infrastructure, and extra alternatives for development and international commerce – for placing Wales’s ports and folks on the worldwide map.

The UK Government is backing a Welsh freeport with as much as £26m of funding. Crucially, each governments may have an equal say on the profitable bid and are leaving the door open for second freeport in Wales if we obtain a very distinctive proposal.

That is simply the newest instance of levelling up in motion and a vote of confidence within the energy of the UK.

It follows the announcement, earlier this yr, of two new inexperienced freeports for Scotland and the conclusion of the revitalised methods of working to make it simpler for the UK and devolved governments to work nicely collectively on widespread challenges and shared objectives.

I do know many communities shall be eager to understand this thrilling alternative and I look ahead to seeing bold bids that actually ship for the individuals of Wales.

Welsh ports have superb heritage as undisputed titans of world trade, free commerce and innovation, serving to propel the UK to unseen heights.

With a brand new freeport and each the Welsh and the UK governments united behind levelling up Wales and the entire of the UK, they will and shall be so once more in a brand new period of alternative and prosperity for all.

  • Michael Gove is the UK Government Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

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