The UK Governemnt has revealed its plans for 'levelling up' in Wales today, when Welsh Secretary Simon Hart formally announces new funding for digital infrastructure projects and green industry growth.

In a statement released to media earlier today, Mr Hart said his "mission is to underscore the role of the UK government in Wales as a force for good, and highlight that we are ready to work with – not in competition against – decision makers in Wales, especially local authorities, in delivering these ambitions."

The Johnson government's 'levelling up' agenda has been criticised by opposition parties, with the Welsh and Scottish governments, who said the UK government did not involve them in the planning of the funding scheme or its delivery.

Among the UK government's plans are a commitment to delivering the first-ever freeport in Wales, and a £1 billion rural connectivity deal to deliver 80 per cent 4G mobile coverage from all four operators across Wales.

More than £40 million will be allocated to support a cluster of industries in south Wales to transition to net-zero, as well as support for the emergence of floating offshore wind projects in "the Celtic Sea". £15.9 million will go to investement in to low-carbon heavy goods vehicles' manufacturing in Cwmbran.

£30m will be provided for the 'Global Centre of Rail Excellence' - the much vaunted train research and testing facility in the Dulais Valley.

In the north, the projects to supported include £5m for the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub - to pilot the use of hydrogen in the transport sector.

READ MORE:

Revealing the plansin more detail this afternoon at a live online presention, he said: “We have made clear our commitment to level up across Wales and the whole of the United Kingdom and we are now delivering on this commitment with a comprehensive plan of action.

“From improvements in local infrastructure through our £4.8 billion levelling-up fund, to the development of new green jobs of the future, this Plan for Wales brings together an ambitious programme of renewal that will generate jobs and prosperity in our local communities for years to come.

“My mission is to underscore the role of the UK government in Wales as a force for good and highlight that we are ready to work with – not in competition against – decision makers in Wales, especially local authorities, in delivering these ambitions.

“They are best placed to determine both how to meet the specific needs of their areas and what will have the greatest impact.”

Mr Hart also spoke about the implementation of the new Levelling Up Fund which will invest up to £4.8 billion in local infrastructure across the UK.

Critics of the plans have accused the Conservative government of targeting 'levelling-up' investment in areas that have elected Conservative MPs. 

The cross-party House of Lords Public Services Committee has urged the prime minister to change course, with committee leader Baroness Armstrong saying the Westminster government's "lack of transparency" over its use of the fund has "fuelled accusations of political bias".

In March, the Welsh Government, alongside its counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland, cried foul over Westminster's approach to the 'levelling-up' agenda, claiming they had been denied any meaningful input into how the money should be spent outside of England.

At the time, Wales' former finance minister Rebecca Evans "shared concerns about the UK government’s decision to bypass democratically-agreed devolution arrangements" to deliver investment via the Levelling Up Fund and other post-Brexit investment schemes.

If you value our reporting, help us grow our team of journalists by becoming a subscriber.