Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Secretary for Finance
Today I attended the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations) where the substantive discussion was the UK Government’s forthcoming White Paper on Brexit.
Before and during the discussion I made it clear to the Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington that as the full draft of the White Paper had not been shared with the Welsh Government or the Scottish Government, we had not been given a meaningful opportunity to consider the proposals and provide comment.
This goes against previous assurances from the UK Government that the devolved administrations would have a meaningful opportunity in shaping negotiating positions as they are developed. Nevertheless, we continue to take every chance to make the case for a Brexit which protects the interests of Wales.
The Welsh Government has been consistent and transparent in communicating to the UK Government our preferred approach to Brexit.
More than a week before today’s JMC (EN) I wrote to the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis (on 26 June) setting out my deep concerns about the state of the negotiations with the EU27 and the uncertainty the UK Government’s approach is creating across key areas of the economy and with regard to the future delivery of public services.
In the letter, attached below, I highlighted what we believe should be the key aspects of our future partnership with the EU based on the detailed analysis in our policy documents and how these should be reflected in the UK Government’s White Paper.
The Welsh Government’s evidence based approach set out in our White Paper, Securing Wales' Future and our subsequent policy papers provide a blueprint for the right form of Brexit for Wales and indeed the whole UK. Web links to our documents are provided below.
We are entering a critical time and the UK Government’s forthcoming White Paper needs to set a new direction on a number of key issues and do so in a way that is clear to the EU and businesses.
Members can be assured that the Welsh Government will continue to vigorously press the case with the UK Government for a sensible Brexit that does not do needless damage to jobs and our economy. I will provide a further update to the National Assembly on the content of the UK Government’s White Paper and the potential implications for Wales when it is finally published.