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Leaving the EU: No Deal

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

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Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee

What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on economic preparations for the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019.

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

I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues. We would prefer to leave the European Union with a deal, but if it is not possible, we will leave without a deal, and the Government are committed to preparing for this outcome.

Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee

Wales will benefit from Brexit with or without a deal. Does the Secretary of State agree that we could deliver an extra boost to the economy of south Wales by devolving air passenger duty to the Welsh Government, allowing them to cut that tax in Wales, which would put Wales on an equal footing with Scotland and Northern Ireland?

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

My hon. Friend has made many points. I pay tribute to the research and report that the Welsh Affairs Committee, which he chairs, has published. It has recently received a response from the Government. It highlighted that this is one aviation market. Therefore, we cannot act in a way that would benefit one part and destroy another. I fear that the Welsh Government would increase air passenger duty in Cardiff and make the airport even more uncompetitive.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Labour, Delyn

What provision have the Government made to support Welsh farmers in the event of a 40% tariff on 1 November?

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

I met the Farmers Union of Wales yesterday to discuss the challenges and opportunities that Brexit will bring. I plan to meet NFU Cymru shortly. We recognise that there are new markets that we need to be exploring. I have already highlighted Japan as one of those markets, but there are many more.

Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Shadow Minister (Wales)

To continue that point, 40% of the UK’s sheepmeat is exported tariff-free to the EU. Yesterday, our shadow team met the FUW, which said that on 1 November there will be a huge lamb market in Dolgellau. If we crash out of the EU without a deal on Halloween, the lamb export market will disappear overnight. The lambs in Dolgellau will have no market value and will be culled, buried or sold off as pet food. Which of those options does the Secretary of State think is the best?

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

Our record supporting rural Wales and the rural economy across the whole of the UK is strong. It compares favourably with the hon. Gentleman’s performance. I hardly saw him as the champion of Welsh agriculture in the past.