Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the provisions of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 on trends in the level of sustainable development in Wales.

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

While the UK Government have not made a formal assessment of this legislation from the National Assembly for Wales, the wellbeing of future generations is already at the heart of UK Government policy.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

The aim of this Act is to focus minds on the long term so that we leave things better off for the next generation than they are for us. Given the decade of austerity, the risk of a no-deal Brexit and the climate emergency we are currently in, how does the Minister think this legislation would fare in UK law judging by what we are doing to the future generations now?

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

If we were looking well to the future, we would say that this was the first Government of one the major industrialised countries to set a legal target for zero carbon emissions. We can look at the work being done in the north Wales growth deal to drive forward sustainable growth. Given that one of the tests for future generations is not handing them unsustainable debt, we can look at how we got on and tackled the deficit that was completely unsustainable when we inherited it in 2010.

Photo of Anna McMorrin Anna McMorrin Labour, Cardiff North

As someone who helped to develop this law from its beginning to its end in Welsh government, I have seen what a difference it has made to our public bodies, to Welsh government, and to people’s lives in Wales in terms of long-term decision making. Will the Minister commit his Government to bringing in this future generations law for the whole of the UK?

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

As I said, the UK Government already have the wellbeing of our future generations at the heart of our policy. Looking at Labour Members, it would be interesting to know exactly how the provisions around handing on unsustainable debt would apply to the shadow Chancellor’s economic policy.