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Infrastructure Resilience

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons on 26th June 2019.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Finance Committee (Commons)

What recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the resilience of infrastructure in Wales.

Photo of Wayne David Wayne David Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement)

What recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the resilience of infrastructure in Wales.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

We have regular discussions with the Welsh Government’s Minister for Economy and Transport on a range of matters, including infrastructure in Wales. We are committed to ensuring that Wales prospers on the back of a strong and resilient infrastructure base, supported through our modern industrial strategy and national infrastructure delivery plan.

Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Finance Committee (Commons)

The Assembly Government have good plans for the Treherbert line, which serves Rhondda Fawr, but people who live in Rhondda Fach and at the top of Rhondda Fawr who need to go over the Rhigos road to get to work, or indeed to the maternity unit at Prince Charles Hospital, need significant investment in the roads. It must surely be unfair that it takes many people in Rhondda, including expectant mothers, four buses to get the hospital, which might mean that a woman would not get there in time to deliver safely and that babies might not live.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

I recognise the strength with which the hon. Gentleman has put forward his constituents’ case. Roads and highways are obviously in the devolved space, but I would certainly be more than happy to meet him to discuss what we can do to support his cause.

Photo of Wayne David Wayne David Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement)

The European regional development fund has made a huge contribution to the development of infrastructure in Wales. Will the Minister give a commitment that resources from the new shared prosperity fund will be allocated on the basis of need and not through competition?

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

We will decide on the future of the UK shared prosperity fund, which I touched on earlier, through consultation and through the comprehensive spending review later this year. What would make a huge difference to roads in south Wales would be getting the M4 relief road back on track. If that was our decision, Wales would now be on the highway to the future; sadly, as it is a devolved one, it is now on the road to nowhere.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

Two years ago, there was no broadband at all in the Dysynni valley in Gwynedd, in the constituency of the right hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Liz Saville Roberts). Now, there is fibre going direct to premises, delivering a minimum of 75 megabits per second download. What more can the United King-dom Government do to deliver high-speed broadband to rural Welsh businesses?

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

At the autumn Budget, we announced £200 million for the hardest to reach areas, and Wales will be included in the first phase of this work. Tomorrow, I will be in Wales with my counterpart in the Welsh Government talking about the north Wales growth deal, and digital connectivity is a key part of that. In addition to the funds in the growth deal, there will be £8 million from the local full fibre networks challenge fund to support increased connectivity.

Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn

Ports infrastructure is essential to the economy of Wales and the United Kingdom. Holyhead port is a gateway from the Republic of Ireland. What discussions has the Minister’s Department had with the Irish Government to ensure that there are adequate facilities in place before Brexit, because the Irish Government are planning to detour freight direct to mainland Europe?

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be pleased to know that there are ongoing discussions with the Irish Government to ensure that whatever scenario there is for Brexit, there will not be so much disruption at Holyhead. He will also be pleased to note that potential investment in Holyhead port is part of the north Wales growth deal, which I will be discussing tomorrow.