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Welsh Affairs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:23 pm on 27th February 2020.

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Photo of Simon Hart Simon Hart The Secretary of State for Wales 1:23 pm, 27th February 2020

It will also be about an opportunity for the hon. Gentleman to intervene—in a minute, but not yet. I have been waiting 10 years for the opportunity to be able to turn the hon. Gentleman down. I am not going to lose out on that.

In Wales, there are now 144,000 more people in work than there were in 2010 and 90,000 fewer workless households than there were in 2010. Before anybody sticks up their hand and says, “Ah, but they’re not real jobs,” or, “Ah, but they’re zero-hours contracts,” even if we take the most pessimistic view of those figures, it is still a remarkable testament, not necessarily to the Welsh Government or even the UK Government, but to the businesses and individuals in Wales and their resilience in being able to create and sustain that positive economic picture.

Since 2010, GDP per head in Wales has grown by more than the UK average, and in the past year alone 51 foreign investment projects have come our way, creating 1,700 jobs. We have institutions such as INEOS Automotive in Bridgend; Admiral and GoCompare; Airbus and Toyota in Deeside; Aston Martin in St Athan; Bluestone and Valero down in my part of the world, in west Wales; Tata, Celsa and Liberty Steel; numerous successful holiday and leisure small and medium-sized enterprises around the coast; agri-tech in Aberystwyth; a cyber-security hub in Newport; Zip World in north Wales; and a growing renewables hub in the Milford Haven waterway. I know that every single colleague present will have a fantastic example of people who have created interesting, diverse and profitable businesses.