Ford and Toyota engine plants in Wales will get a share of a £6M Brexit assistance budget from Welsh Government, but there has been criticism from Tories in Wales.
Ford will get £1.6M and Toyota an unspecified grant while money will also go to other automotive companies struggling with expected higher costs as a result of leaving the EU.
First Minister Carwyn Jones announced further business support for Airbus (£3 million), Ford (£1.6 million) and other automotive component manufacturers from the £50 million EU Transition Fund to help prepare for Brexit.
This support will help significantly improve the chances of developing the Welsh-based sites as the preferred locations for any future and post-Brexit European investment projects.
The EU Transition Fund was announced in January 2018 and is already providing direct financial support to sectors across Wales to plan and prepare for the significant changes of Brexit. A number of projects have already benefited from £7.4 million of funding, including support for our agriculture and fisheries industry sectors, in particular £2.15 million for the development of the red meat sector in Wales.
In addition, £150,000 has been provided to help deliver a Brexit support package to all 22 local authorities in Wales and £200,000 to help the social care sector research into how Brexit could impact the Welsh workforce and help them plan for any eventualities.
Wales’ universities also received £3.5 million to drive international partnerships and promote Wales as a study destination in a post-Brexit world.
The payout by Welsh Government was criticised by opposition party and Shadow Economy and Business spokesman, Russell George AM said, “Although I hugely value the work of these firms in Wales, the transfer of millions of pounds of Welsh tax payer cash to some of the biggest companies in the world is ridiculous.
“Instead of talking down the prospects of the Welsh economy post Brexit, Carwyn Jones should be focusing on improving the overall business environment in Wales including skills, infrastructure and business rates. This is the fundamental long term key to boosting jobs, growth and earnings in the Welsh economy. However, across all these areas the First Minister has failed to deliver.
“For too long Welsh Labour have dished out millions of pounds to large companies as a quick fix – instead of addressing its failure as a Government to create the conditions in Wales in which businesses of all shapes and sizes can thrive”.