The poorest areas of Britain will lose billions of pounds in public spending after Brexit under government plans, a study is warning – while the richest areas gain.
Wales, the southwest and northeast of England will be the biggest losers, with cash diverted to wealthy London and the southeast, it has calculated.
The authors, a coalition of community leaders and charities, raised the alarm over “a historic disaster” – urging all the Conservative leadership contenders to back a change of course.
“It will be like handing every Londoner a cheque for over £200 and taking £700 from every Welsh person,” said Tony Armstrong of Locality, one of the groups involved.
And Anna McMorrin, a Labour supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: “These jaw-dropping figures are a stark warning about the future facing Wales and the poorest parts of the UK after Brexit.”
The study examined what would happen to economic development spending when the UK loses billions of so-called EU “structural funds” after Brexit.
EU structural funds aim to rebalance regional social and economic disparities. They have paid for the redevelopment of town centres, including in Llanelli and Pontypridd in Wales, and have also paid for major road works and university research centres.
Theresa May has promised a “shared prosperity fund” to replace them, but no details have been released and a promised consultation has yet to even start.
The coalition that wrote the report, called Communities in Charge, said “uncertainty is mounting”, with the contest to find a new prime minister now in full swing.
It warned that economic development funding was set to “follow the regional pattern of existing UK policies and end up increasing regional inequalities rather than reducing them”.