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Bourne: Fighting for Wales in Europe

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"This is an important debate. Clearly, the budget settlement that was reached in December during the UK presidency was important for Wales. I accept that, as far as convergence funding is concerned, there is no question that that was good news.

However, looking at the position of the budget as a whole, it is a more mixed bag, and, for understandable reasons, the First Minister perhaps skipped over the bits that were not so good for Wales, and I want to focus on those particular points.

Crucially, there are consequences from convergence funding. The First Minister said that there is no dartboard; we do not know what numbers we have to hit, but we know that there is a dartboard and that we have to get darts on it.

What we are seeking from the First Minister today, so far without success—and that is reflected in what happened in the Committee on European and External Affairs—is a commitment in principle to seek appropriate match funding from the Treasury in relation to this European spend.

It is no good saying that this is something that could be addressed later. It certainly has to be addressed later in terms of how much we seek, but we need a decision, in principle, today during this important debate that says, 'Yes, we are going to seek it', and it is as well that the Treasury is aware of that.

We do not have to say how much it is; I can see that we do not know that yet, but we know that we need to seek some funding, and that is the issue on which we are pursuing the First Minister.

The second issue relates to the surrender of part of the rebate, and, again, there is no question that part of the rebate was surrendered without any real commitment to reform the common agricultural policy, certainly not within the parameters that had been originally set out by the Prime Minister in saying that we wanted fundamental reform of CAP.

That did not happen; there is no agreement on that, and the consequence of a cut in the rebate—and I realise that there would have been a cut—has to mean higher taxes, higher borrowing, cuts in public expenditure, or a combination of those three. That is our concern about this aspect, hence amendment 8.

The third issue is the rural development fund. I was not impressed by the First Minister on this; we know that there will be a cut in the rural development fund in Wales.

We do not know how much it will be, but it is something that we need to address because it is causing concern throughout Wales, particularly rural Wales. That is something that we will have to return to. I am not convinced by those figures; there is some smoke and mirrors there, and that is something to do with match funding.

There is a real cut in the rural development budget and it will affect Wales, so let us be clear on that.

Those are our concerns. There is partial good news for Wales in terms of qualification again for convergence funding, although let us be clear that that is due to poor economic performance in west Wales and the Valleys, which remains poor, and we look to the Government to correct that.

As I said, there is some partial good news here, but there are issues that need to be addressed, and I hope that the First Minister, or whoever responds to this debate, will grapple with those in a way that has perhaps not been done so far."

"Mae hon yn ddadl bwysig. Yn amlwg, yr oedd setliad y gyllideb y daethpwyd iddo ym mis Rhagfyr yn ystod llywyddiaeth y DU yn bwysig i Gymru.

Derbyniaf, o ran arian cydgyfeirio, fod hynny yn ddi-au yn newyddion da. Fodd bynnag, o edrych ar sefyllfa'r gyllideb gyfan, mae'n fwy cymysg, ac, am resymau dealladwy, bu i'r Prif Weinidog efallai anwybyddu'r darnau nad oeddent cystal i Gymru, ac yr wyf am ganolbwyntio ar y pwyntiau penodol hynny.

Yn allweddol, mae i arian cydgyfeirio oblygiadau. Dywedodd y Prif Weinidog nad oes gennym ddull o amcangyfrif y ffigurau; nad yw'r ffigurau yn hysbys, ond gwyddom fod yna ffigurau ac y bydd yn rhaid inni eu cyflawni.

Yr hyn yr ydym yn ei geisio gan y Prif Weinidog heddiw, heb lwyddiant hyd yma—ac adlewyrchir hynny yn yr hyn a ddigwyddodd yn y Pwyllgor Materion Ewropeaidd ac Allanol—yw ymrwymiad mewn egwyddor i ofyn am arian cyfatebol priodol gan y Trysorlys mewn perthynas â'r gwariant Ewropeaidd hwn.

Nid oes llawer o bwynt dweud bod hyn yn rhywbeth y gellid mynd i'r afael ag ef yn ddiweddarach. Yn bendant, rhaid mynd i'r afael ag ef yn ddiweddarach, o ran faint y gofynnwn amdano, ond mae angen penderfyniad heddiw, mewn egwyddor, yn ystod y ddadl bwysig hon sy'n dweud, 'Ydym, yr ydym yn mynd i ofyn am hynny', ac mae'n beth da bod y Trysorlys yn ymwybodol o hynny.

Nid oes rhaid inni ddweud faint ydyw; gallaf weld na wyddom hynny eto, ond gwyddom fod angen inni ofyn am rywfaint o arian, a dyna'r mater yr ydym yn pwyso ar y Prif Weinidog yn ei gylch.

Mae a wnelo'r ail fater ag ildio rhan o'r ad-daliad, ac, unwaith eto, nid oes amheuaeth i ran o'r ad-daliad gael ei hildio heb unrhyw ymrwymiad gwirioneddol i ddiwygio'r polisi amaethyddol cyffredin, ac yn bendant nid o fewn y paramedrau a bennwyd yn wreiddiol gan Brif Weinidog y DU wrth ddweud ein bod am ddiwygio PAC yn sylfaenol.

Ni ddigwyddodd hynny; nid oes cytundeb o ran hynny, a rhaid i ganlyniad toriad yn yr ad-daliad—a sylweddolaf y byddai toriad wedi bod—olygu trethi uwch, benthyciadau uwch, toriadau mewn gwariant cyhoeddus, neu gyfuniad o'r tri pheth hynny. Dyma ein pryder ynglyn â'r agwedd hon, a'r rheswm dros welliant 8.

Y trydydd mater yw'r gronfa datblygu gwledig. Ni chreodd y Prif Weinidog argraff dda arnaf yn hyn o beth; gwyddom y bydd toriad yn y gronfa datblygu gwledig yng Nghymru.

Ni wyddom faint y bydd, ond mae'n rhywbeth y mae angen inni fynd i'r afael ag ef am ei fod yn achosi pryder ledled Cymru, yn arbennig yng Nghymru wledig.

Mae hynny'n rhywbeth y bydd yn rhaid inni ddychwelyd ato. Nid yw'r ffigurau hynny yn fy narbwyllo; mae rhywfaint o gonsurio yn perthyn i hynny, ac mae a wnelo hynny, i raddau, ag arian cyfatebol. Ceir toriad gwirioneddol yn y gyllideb datblygu gwledig a bydd yn effeithio ar Gymru, felly gadewch inni fod yn glir am hynny.

Dyna ein pryderon. Mae rhywfaint o newyddion da i Gymru o ran bod yn gymwys eto i gael arian cydgyfeirio, er y dylem fod yn glir bod hynny o ganlyniad i berfformiad economaidd gwael yn y gorllewin a'r Cymoedd, sy'n parhau i fod yn wael, ac edrychwn i'r Llywodraeth unioni hynny.

Fel y dywedais, mae rhywfaint o newyddion da yma, ond mae materion y mae angen mynd i'r afael â hwy, a gobeithiaf y bydd y Prif Weinidog, neu bwy bynnag a fydd yn ymateb i'r ddadl hon, yn ymdrin â hwy mewn ffordd nas gwnaed o'r blaen efallai."

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