Business Growth

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th December 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Vice-Chair, Conservative Party 12:00 am, 5th December 2018

What steps his Department is taking to support the growth of businesses in Wales.

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

The Government have a host of policies to support businesses in Wales, from tax reductions to city deals and a modern UK industrial strategy. As a result, Wales continues to attract inward investment across all sectors.

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

As we leave the European Union, we clearly need to promote all parts of the United Kingdom and their fantastic trade potential. How does the Secretary of State plan to harness Wales’s potential, building on the success of the “Great” campaign?

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

I pay tribute to what my hon. Friend does to promote businesses across the whole United Kingdom. He gives me an opportunity to highlight the fact that, in less than two weeks’ time, the tolls on the Severn crossing will be abolished for the first time in 52 years—a major boost to the economy of the south-west of England as well as south Wales.

Photo of Ben Lake Ben Lake Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion

Diolch, Mr Speaker. Many premises in Ceredigion are still awaiting confirmation of whether they will be in scope for the next phase of the Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru scheme. Will the Secretary of State ensure that his Government’s Wales superfast broadband programme and “outside-in” initiative give priority to premises that may find themselves beyond the scope of the Welsh Government’s scheme?

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

I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman, who is a strong campaigner in this area. We are determined to work closely both with him and with the Welsh Government to deliver the best broadband possible in the constituency of Ceredigion and in all other parts of Wales. Already, £69 million has been spent, in addition to the gainshare, but there is more that we can do, particularly in linking businesses with broadband. I know that the hon. Gentleman is a strong supporter of that campaign.

Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee

May I, too, welcome the new Minister to the Wales Office, which is now attracting talent from across the whole of the United Kingdom? Does the Secretary of State agree that communications would be much improved if the Welsh Labour Government got on with building the M4 relief road?

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

My hon. Friend makes an extremely important point. I highlighted earlier the fact that in less than two weeks’ time the tolls on the Severn crossing will be abolished, but it is hard to believe that the former Member of Parliament for Richmond (Yorks) was the Secretary of State for Wales when the commitment was first made in relation to that road around Newport. The resource is available and the time has been available; I am only sorry that the Welsh Government have not reacted and built that road in response to those calls.

Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

Business growth in north Wales is being choked off by congestion on the M56, on my side of the border. Will the Secretary of State sit down with the Transport Secretary to work out when it will be upgraded?

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

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. I regularly discuss those issues with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, who has brought together a working group of officials and Ministers from all parts of the United Kingdom to discuss cross-border issues. I am only disappointed that the Welsh Government did not attend the last time we met.

Photo of David Jones David Jones Conservative, Clwyd West

Businesses across north Wales were delighted with the Chancellor’s Budget announcement of £120 million of funding for the north Wales growth deal. They are disappointed, however, that that announcement has not been followed by a similar announcement from the Welsh Assembly Government. Does my right hon. Friend know when such an announcement might be expected?

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

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for highlighting that important policy. It is taking some time to negotiate the north Wales growth deal, but as he rightly points out, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced £120 million of funding in the Budget statement. We are working closely with the Welsh Government to encourage them to follow the same lines of commitment, and on Friday there will be further meetings to seek to crystallise that.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

Order. I want to invite the House to join me in warmly welcoming to the Gallery a quite extraordinary, brave and courageous rape victim who has waived her anonymity in order to campaign not merely for her rights, very important though those rights are, but for the rights of all women similarly violated. I am referring of course to Sammy Woodhouse. Welcome to the House of Commons, Sammy. [Applause.]