Bill Presented — Private Pensions (Charges, Disclosure and Accountability) Bill
Simon Hart (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Conservative)
My hon. Friend is determined to claim rugby superiority over me, but he cannot claim, as I can, that at least three members of the Welsh squad
were educated at the local school in Whitland, so he will have to try a little harder if he is to outdo me on that score.
In the brief time available to me, two things need mentioning. First, there is national tourism week, which is taking place for an obvious reason: its critical importance to the economy in Wales and, in particular, my part of Wales, south and west Pembrokeshire. I hope that the Chancellor will take a number of points on board in the next few weeks before he announces his Budget, because it is important to recall that there are 100,000 people in Wales alone who are employed in that industry, and that foreign people undertake almost 1 million trips to our country. That is SME territory if ever there was any, and I hope—perhaps through the Secretary of State—that even in these last few days leading up to the Budget we can make the case for any proposal that makes life easier for the tourism practitioners in our part of the country.
Pembrokeshire has a particular claim as far as that is concerned, because Members should not forget that it was recently voted the second best coastline—not in Britain, but in the world. There is no regional stuff for us, only the best or, as it turned out, the second best, but we should not underestimate the significance of that for our county and country.
Secondly, there is the significance of the Milford Haven waterway, and the proposal, in vague terms at the moment, for an enterprise zone covering that area. As hon. Members will know, Milford Haven waterway is the only thing that divides me from my hon. Friend Stephen Crabb. It is a centre of incredibly important economic activity. It has a number of companies, including RWE, which is about to launch the biggest gas-fired power station in Europe; Valero, the welcome new refinery in our area, which has taken over from the previous very good refinery, Chevron; Ledwood Engineering; and Mustang Marine. All those companies are doing important things but see themselves not as Welsh companies or Pembrokeshire companies but as UK companies competing in a UK context in a global market. Passionate though they are about their place in Wales, it is very important to them that they compete on the global stage as UK businesses. We must not do anything that undermines that or diminishes their status in the valuable work that they do, not only for the businesses in our area but across the whole UK and the rest of the world in their respective sectors.
If there is one message that we should pass on to those whose responsibility it will be to say yea or nay to an enterprise zone, it is this: let us not fixate too much on the money. So often in these cases, the money is tempting but comes with so many conditions and over such tight time scales that it is almost impossible for most reasonable people to comply. Let us focus a little more on regulation. If the enterprise zones delivered a more relaxed attitude to regulation, be it on the environment, where possible, or in planning, where that is possible given the extraordinary significance of the Milford Haven waterway, then that in itself would unlock entrepreneurial skills and business opportunities for everybody in the area and, equally importantly, for those who wish to move there to engage in beneficial activity. That is absolutely crucial in the message that we send about the enterprise zone proposals.
A less rosy story in Wales is the health service, which was touched on by Paul Murphy. I refer the House to a Mr Colin Ross and his wife Ann, who wrote to me only this week. Ann is a former NHS nurse who is suffering from a very serious form of cancer and requires the drug Cetuximab, which she and her family have had an endless struggle to obtain. She and her husband say:
“Politics should play no part in the care of the sick. The reality of political ploys in the Wales NHS are free prescriptions, free car parks and recently, the inequality of, where there is clinical need, PIP transplants will be remedied at the expense of the Welsh NHS. These are all transparent examples of the lack of judgement in the care and well being of the community in Wales and these ploys speak volumes as to the morality and self serving actions of our political representatives.”
It does not matter whether that is right or wrong; if that is what our nation is thinking, if that is what people are suffering when they are trying to deal with—