ST David’S Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:04 pm on 28th February 2019.

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Photo of David Jones David Jones Conservative, Clwyd West 1:04 pm, 28th February 2019

I shall try to adhere to your quite reasonable constraints, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is a great pleasure to participate in this annual debate. As Tonia Antoniazzi, whom I congratulate on securing it, said, it gives us an opportunity to celebrate all that is good about Wales. Unlike Albert Owen, whose remarks were rather Eeyore-ish, I want to celebrate what this Government are doing for Wales, and especially for north Wales.

In particular, I would like to pay tribute to the Government for their total commitment to the North Wales growth deal, which was pioneered by George Osborne and has been taken forward by this Chancellor, with an announcement in the last Budget of £120 million- worth of funding. That funding has now been matched by the Welsh Government. This is a huge opportunity for north Wales. It gives us the opportunity to put in place transformational programmes that will benefit not only this generation but the generations to come. It is extremely important that the Government should continue to do what they are doing at the moment—that is, not only listening to local government but working with Members of Parliament. The Government have been working extremely closely with the all-party parliamentary group on Mersey Dee North Wales, which is chaired by Ian C. Lucas, and listening closely to what north Wales MPs think.

We are now arriving at the moment when the design of the growth deal is coming to fruition, and we should be considering what the transformational projects should be. I believe that infrastructure, particularly digital infrastructure, should be the key to this. That will be the key to our future economic growth. Historically, north Wales has been at a disadvantage in that regard, but that disadvantage will shortly be overturned by 5G, which will bring in gigabit speeds right across the country, including the difficult-to-reach areas of north Wales.