Leaving the EU: Benefits for Wales

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th June 2018.

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Photo of Owen Smith Owen Smith Labour, Pontypridd 12:00 am, 13th June 2018

What recent assessment he has made of the benefits for Wales of the UK leaving the EU.

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

The Welsh economy approaches EU exit from a position of strength. Leaving the EU will allow us to shape our own ambitious trade and investment opportunities, in Europe and beyond, and put Wales and the wider UK at the forefront of global trade and investment opportunities.

Photo of Owen Smith Owen Smith Labour, Pontypridd

Some 67% of Welsh exports are to the European Union. Yesterday, the Office for National Statistics reported that manufacturing in our country declined by the greatest amount in the past five years, and Ernst and Young says that our exports are nosediving. How is Brexit going to help?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

I would say in the first instance that the hon. Gentleman is calling for a second referendum, which would create the greatest uncertainty for the UK, both economically and constitutionally. I also point out that exports from the UK are growing, and at a faster rate than areas outside the European Union, and he well knows that exports from Wales cannot be taken in isolation without considering the wider procurement and networking of businesses across the UK.

Photo of Scott Mann Scott Mann Conservative, North Cornwall

Wales and Cornwall have benefited from objective 1 funding and subsequent funding. What discussions has the Secretary of State had on the shared prosperity fund and how its funding will be allocated?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

My hon. Friend is obviously very interested in how the successor to European aid programmes will work, as I am in relation to west Wales and the valleys in general. We have committed to a UK shared prosperity fund, which will allow us—this is one of the benefits of leaving the European Union—to come up with a much simpler and more targeted approach that can help the poorest communities across the UK.