Ben Lake: The Secretary of State has committed to ensuring that the devolved Administrations are able to inform the Government’s approach to negotiations, but will he clarify what role they will have in the negotiations themselves and whether their consent will be sought before any trade agreement is ratified?
Ben Lake: Diolch, Mr Speaker. What consideration has the Secretary of State made of ways in which the UK Government might intervene to alleviate the pressures faced by farmers across Wales as a consequence of the recent dry weather, particularly the pressures on the already dwindling fodder reserves?
Ben Lake: I begin by thanking the Minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability for taking time out of a very busy diary to meet me recently to discuss the Bill in greater detail. The opportunity to raise some matters of specific concern to my constituents was much appreciated. I, along with Plaid Cymru, welcome the Bill and support the Government’s desire to control the purchase and...
Ben Lake: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. I have indeed received many representations from responsible sportsmen, and from target shooters in particular, who are very open to looking again at the conditions connected to the licensing arrangements, particularly with regard to the storage of firearms. It would be both proportionate and reasonable to pursue the matter further in Committee.
Ben Lake: I give way to my hon. Friend and neighbour.
Ben Lake: I concur wholeheartedly with my hon. Friend. I am aware that Dyfed-Powys police already enforces the licensing arrangements thoroughly. It would be a reasonable and logical step to add some additional requirements with regard to the security of storage, and I am sure that the police will be fully able to ensure that the law is complied with. It is incumbent on us to ensure that any changes...
Ben Lake: West Wales and the valleys remains one of the poorest areas in western Europe, yet since 2015 we have seen the UK Government renege on manifesto promises to electrify the main line to Swansea and the north Wales line, and, more recently, on the development of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon. Will the Prime Minister commit to ensuring that the mid-Wales growth deal does not suffer a similar...
Ben Lake: Before the Minister moves away from discussing the funding arrangements, could he assure me that, in designing a future funding arrangement, the Government will look at ensuring there is a period of similar length—perhaps five or seven years? That gives certainty to farmers that a shorter period simply would not.
Ben Lake: Just before the Minister concludes, I want to add my support to the comments of the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Vicky Ford) about our continuing participation in Horizon 2020 and ensuring collaboration between institutions.
Ben Lake: The hon. Member has made a very important point about the decades of underinvestment. A friend of mine, John Peters, suffers from ME and was first struck down in the 1980s. The impact on his life has been total. He acknowledges that he would not have been able to do everything in life; he knows that there would have been ups and downs. But as he quite painfully put it to me, he has not had...
Ben Lake: As to the point made by the hon. Member for Ochil and South Perthshire (Luke Graham) about the different histories, I am unaware—perhaps the hon. Lady can enlighten me—but was not there a union of the two crowns, in the Acts of Union, between Scotland and England?
Ben Lake: Given that the Secretary of State has confirmed this afternoon that increased NHS funding will not be wholly accounted for by any fantastical Brexit dividend, could he clarify whether the Welsh Government will be expected to increase the Welsh rates of income tax if the UK Government’s promise of an additional £1.2 billion for Wales is to be realised?
Ben Lake: rose—
Ben Lake: My colleague Simon Thomas is leading the way on tackling air pollution and has proposed a clean air Act for Wales. Does the Secretary of State agree that there is a case for transferring responsibility for fuel duty income so that the National Assembly has the additional resources to tackle air pollution?
Ben Lake: rose—
Ben Lake: I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing this important debate. For what it is worth, he can count on the support of Plaid Cymru—his cousins across St George’s channel—in getting this tick box for the Cornish identity. Does he agree that doing so is of not just symbolic, but practical, importance? It is symbolic in that the census would then acknowledge the Cornish...
Ben Lake: I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate. Before he moves on, I add that the Aberystwyth innovation and enterprise campus has also benefited from the European regional development fund.
Ben Lake: What consideration has been given to the contribution that varying certain business taxes, such as VAT, according to the nation or region of the UK could make to encouraging economic growth?
Ben Lake: What progress has been made towards the development of a memorandum of understanding between the devolved and UK Governments clarifying how higher education institutions in Wales will be accorded adequate representation in UK Research and Innovation structures?
Ben Lake: Does the hon. Gentleman share my concern that the impact assessments conducted by the Department for Transport underestimate the impact of the proposals on very vulnerable people? The impact assessments led us to believe that the impact would be minimal.