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Cairns: Labour must fulfil commitment on EU funding

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"I am grateful to Plaid Cymru for nominating the debate and to the acting Deputy Presiding Officer for selecting the amendment and calling me to speak to it.

In the first instance, it is clear that the match funding debate was exceptionally important in the first Assembly and, let us not get away from it—although the press might be bored with it—it is equally as important in this second Assembly, particularly in the time leading up to next January.

It is worth clarifying—because the Welsh Assembly Government enjoyed the confusion that was created at the time and was happy to perpetuate that—that not a penny of match funding was received for the current round of structural funds. Not a single penny of match funding over and above Barnett was received.

Yes, we had an element of the European money, but we would be forgiven for thinking that we even had all of the European money. However, we did not even have all of the money that was being made available over and above Barnett. Therefore, we need to address the debate from this starting point.

Alun Michael quite obviously failed to get match funding, but at least he tried. I am not sure about the First Minister's position and what he plans to do to win match funding for Wales, because we were told that he and the Minister for Economic Development and Transport would do everything possible to secure the maintenance, repair and overhaul operations at the Defence Aviation Repair Agency in St Athan, but then information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 exposed their inconsistency. They told us something completely different from what was revealed through the freedom of information data.

Therefore, we will be watching you, First Minister, and it will be interesting to see what sort of representations you make. Your past record, on representations that you made in relation to DARA at St Athan, is not the strongest.

You may well sit there and grin, First Minister, but I have no doubt that, once you get up to make a speech, you and Andrew Davies will resort to the most personal attacks, as you did last week and earlier today.

I am happy to take them, because we all know that the facts were made quite clear last week. You may reject them, but that is what the officials say. On the match-funding issue, people will say that the facts are quite clear after seeing the applications that you made.

Our amendment is about the failure to make full use of the European funds. It is quite clear that we have not made full use of the European funds, is it not? As was said in questions to the First Minister earlier, we are the poorest part of the United Kingdom.

The poverty in west Wales and the Valleys is even greater than that in many parts of the former eastern bloc countries. Those are the facts. Those are the poorest parts. When Rhodri Morgan was made First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales, we were not the poorest, but we are now.

Even when you harp back to the last Conservative Government, we were far more prosperous, relatively, compared with England then than we are now. Those are the facts. The First Minister may grin and no doubt he will make personal attacks again, but these are the facts that we need to address the argument.

If he answers only one question today, I would be grateful if he would answer the question on the strategic approach that he is looking to take to the second round of European funds. In the past, 'strategic' has meant 'centralising', which has quite obviously been the tendency of the Welsh Assembly Government, centralising all of the decision-making to the cabal in Cathays park, where they all get together around the table and tell the local authorities and the quangos how to act.

That is the approach that the Government is proposing to take in relation to the new round of European funds. The reason given was that there were 3,000 projects under the existing proposal. I remind the First Minister and the Minister for Economic Development and Transport that they developed the strategy and the single programming document that led to 3,000 projects.

There is no point in using that as an excuse for centralising every issue. All local authorities are extremely concerned about this 'strategic' phrase that is being used because it is another code for 'centralisation'.

To remind everyone, Wales is the poorest part of the United Kingdom. It is a hallmark that needs to be ingrained on the First Minister's forehead."

"Yr wyf yn ddiolchgar i Blaid Cymru am enwebu'r drafodaeth ac i'r Dirprwy Lywydddros dro am ddewis y gwelliant ac am fy ngalw innau i siarad yn ei gylch.

Yn gyntaf, mae'n amlwg y bu'r drafodaeth ynghylch arian cyfatebol yn eithriadol o bwysig yn y Cynulliad cyntaf a, pheidied inni anghofio—er efallai fod y wasg wedi diflasu arno—y mae yr un mor bwysig yn hwn, yr ail Gynulliad, yn enwedig yn ystod yr amser sy'n arwain at fis Ionawr nesaf.

Mae'n werth egluro—oherwydd i Lywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru fwynhau'r dryswch a grëwyd bryd hynny ac yr oedd yn falch i'w barhau—na chafwyd yr un geiniog o arian cyfatebol ar gyfer rownd gyfredol y cronfeydd strwythurol. Ni chafwyd yr un geiniog o arian cyfatebol ar ben Barnett.

Do, cawsom beth o'r arian Ewropeaidd, ond gellid maddau inni am feddwl inni gael yr arian Ewropeaidd i gyd hyd yn oed. Fodd bynnag, ni chawsom hyd yn oed yr holl arian a oedd ar gynnig ar ben Barnett. Felly, mae angen inni drafod hyn gan gymryd hynny fel man cychwyn.

Mae'n gwbl amlwg bod Alun Michael wedi methu cael arian cyfatebol, ond o leiaf fe geisiodd ei gael. Nid wyf yn siwr ynghylch sefyllfa'r Prif Weinidog nac ynghylch yr hyn y mae'n bwriadu ei wneud i ennill arian cyfatebol i Gymru, gan y dywedwyd wrthym y byddai yntau a'r gweinidog dros Ddatblygu Economaidd a Thrafnidiaeth yn gwneud popeth a allent i sicrhau'r gwaith cynnal a chadw, atgyweirio ac archwilio yn yr Asiantaeth Atgyweirio Awyrennau Amddiffyn yn Sain Tathan, ond mae gwybodaeth a gafwyd dan Ddeddf Rhyddid Gwybodaeth 2000 yn dangos iddynt fod yn anghyson. Dywedasant bethau cwbl wahanol wrthym i'r hyn a ddatgelwyd trwy'r data rhyddid gwybodaeth.

Felly, byddwn yn cadw golwg arnoch, Brif Weinidog, a bydd yn ddiddorol gweld pa fathau o sylwadau a wnewch. Nid yw eich hanes, o ran y sylwadau a wnaethoch ynglyn â DARA Sain Tathan, gyda'r gorau.

Hawdd i chi eistedd yno dan wenu, Brif Weinidog, ond nid oes amheuaeth gennyf, unwaith y codwch i areithio, na fyddwch chwithau ac Andrew Davies yn troi at ymosodiadau hynod bersonol, fel y gwnaethoch yr wythnos diwethaf ac yn gynharach heddiw.

Yr wyf yn falch o'u derbyn, oherwydd bod pawb yn gwybod i'r ffeithiau gael eu datgan yn ddigon clir yr wythnos diwethaf. Gallwch eu gwrthod, ond dyna beth y mae'r swyddogion yn ei ddweud. Ynglyn â mater yr arian cyfatebol, bydd pobl yn dweud bod y ffeithiau'n ddigon clir ar ôl iddynt weld y ceisiadau a wnaethoch chwithau.

Mae a wnelo ein gwelliant â'r ffaith na wnaethpwyd defnydd llawn ar y cronfeydd Ewropeaidd. Mae'n gwbl glir nad ydym wedi gwneud defnydd llawn ar y cronfeydd Ewropeaidd, onid ydyw?

Fel y dywedwyd yn ystod y cwestiynau a ofynnwyd i'r Prif Weinidog yn gynharach, dyma ran dlotaf y Deyrnas Unedig. Mae tlodi gorllewin Cymru a'r Cymoedd yn waeth hyd yn oed nag eiddo llawer o wledydd bloc dwyrain Ewrop gynt. Dyna'r ffeithiau. Dyna'r rhannau tlotaf. Pan wnaethpwyd Rhodri Morgan yn Brif Weinidog Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, nid ni oedd y tlotaf, ond ni yw'r tlotaf yn awr.

Hyd yn oed pan fyddwch yn taflu'ch golygon yn ôl at y Llywodraeth Geidwadol ddiwethaf, yr oeddem yn llawer mwy llewyrchus, yn gymharol, o gymharu â Lloegr nag ydym ar hyn o bryd. Dyna i chwi'r ffeithiau. Hawdd i'r Prif Weinidog wenu a bydd heb os yn gwneud ymosodiadau personol unwaith yn rhagor, ond dyma i chwi'r ffeithiau y mae eu hangen arnom i roi sylw i'r ddadl hon. Os yw am ateb un cwestiwn yn unig heddiw, byddwn yn ddiolchgar pe bai'n ateb y cwestiwn ynghylch y dull strategol y mae am ei arfer yn ail rownd y cronfeydd Ewropeaidd.

Yn y gorffennol, golygai 'strategol' yr unpeth â 'chanoli', a dyna, yn amlwg ddigon, fu tuedd Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, canoli pob penderfyniad ymhlith cabál parc Cathays, lle maent oll yn cwrdd o amgylch y bwrdd ac yn dweud wrth yr awdurdodau lleol a'r cwangos sut mae gweithredu. Dyna'r dull y mae'r Llywodraeth am ei arfer yn rownd newydd y cronfeydd Ewropeaidd.

Y rheswm a roddwyd oedd bod 3,000 o brosiectau dan y cynnig presennol. Hoffwn atgoffa'r Prif Weinidog a'r Gweinidog dros Ddatblygu Economaidd a Thrafnidiaeth mai hwy a ddatblygodd y strategaeth a'r ddogfen rhaglen sengl a esgorodd ar 3,000 o brosiectau. Nid oes diben defnyddio hynny fel esgus dros ganoli pob mater. Mae'r awdurdodau lleol i gyd yn bryderus iawn ynglyn â'r gair 'strategol' yma sydd ar waith a hynny am mai cod arall am 'ganoli' ydyw.

A gaf atgoffa pawb, Cymru yw rhan dlotaf y Deyrnas Unedig. Mae'n ddilysnod y dylid ei serio ar dalcen y Prif Weinidog."

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