EU exit threatens Wales' aid, David Cameron warns

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Media caption,

David Cameron said AMs must 'make their choice' on EU membership

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the UK government could not guarantee making up any shortfall in the EU aid Wales receives if Britain was to leave.

He also indicated he was disappointed Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies had decided to vote to leave the EU in the referendum in June.

Mr Cameron made his comments in an interview on BBC Wales Today.

Leave.EU said the UK's net contribution to the EU budget was £9-12bn, so there was "no such thing as EU aid".

Earlier on Friday, Mr Cameron told an audience at GE Aviation, in Nantgarw, leaving the 28-member bloc would put 100,000 jobs in Wales at risk.

Asked on BBC Wales Today if he could make up the shortfall in EU aid for places like Wales after an exit, he said: "I think you can't be certain about that.

Economic dislocation

"We know, between 2014 and 2020, in the European budget is £1.8bn for Wales, vital money for economic development and important projects.

"Were we to leave, I believe there could be quite an economic dislocation.

"We might see higher interest rates. We might see higher unemployment. We might see higher prices.

"In those circumstances, of course, the United Kingdom government would always want to do everything it could for all the different parts of the United Kingdom, but you can't guarantee these things, because we might be in quite difficult economic circumstances."

In response, Leave.EU spokesman Jack Montgomery said: "Our net contribution to the EU budget is about £9-12 billion.

"So there's no such thing as EU aid in this country - the prime minister is trying to bribe us with our own money."

'Always disappointing'

Earlier this week, Welsh Conservative leader Mr Davies said he was not convinced by an EU deal negotiated by Mr Cameron and would be backing the campaign to leave.

Mr Cameron, asked if he was disappointed by Mr Davies' decision, said: "It's always disappointing when someone doesn't back your view."

During his visit to Nantgarw, he said: "For Welsh MPs and members of the Welsh assembly, it's up to them to make their choice.

"But each of them has only one vote. It will be the people of Wales, the people of the United Kingdom who will make this decision."

Jobs 'threat'

Mr Cameron said three million jobs in the UK, including 100,000 in Wales, were "in some way reliant on European trade".

"I don't think we should put those at risk," he added.

"We have a big say in this market. We can make sure that we sign trade deals with other countries across the world. I think the alternatives would be worse."

Leave.EU boss Liz Bilney said the real threat to Welsh jobs came from remaining in an EU that "has devastated the steel industry" with policies that undermined business.

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David Cameron said the alternatives to EU trade are worse

Speaking on the impact of cheap Chinese steel on the UK industry, Mr Cameron said the UK had been voting with other European countries on anti-dumping tariffs - a process where firms allegedly sell goods at prices below fair market value.

UKIP's Nigel Farage, who wants the UK to leave the union, has said powers to protect the steel industry from cheap Chinese imports had been "given away" to Brussels.