This Government have a proud record on devolution in Wales: establishing the Silk commission, devolving landmark new fiscal powers and taking forward the
St David’s day agreement through the new Wales Bill. In that agreement, we committed to consider the case for devolving APD to Wales and this work is currently being undertaken and assessed by the Treasury.
Devolving air passenger duty will create a market distortion favouring a state-owned airport against a private one. It will damage the economic viability of Bristol airport and have consequential detrimental effects in the south-west. When my right hon. Friend discusses this with the Chancellor, will he gently reflect on the fact that, had our colleagues not made such great gains in the south-west, there would not be a majority Conservative Government?
I am sure that my right hon. Friend, like me, welcomes the fact that the Government are cutting APD in all parts of the UK. However, let us be clear: I want Cardiff airport to be a success story, but I also recognise that there are serious concerns about the effect APD devolution might have on competition issues in relation to Bristol airport.
I am very aware of the issues that the hon. Gentleman raises. I recently met the north Wales business council precisely to talk about the importance of a rail link from north Wales into Manchester airport. He makes an important point that we are very mindful of.