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.
Ben Lake: There is considerable disagreement about the total amount saved by the cancellation of electrification to south Wales—the figures range from £430 million to £700 million—but, irrespective of the total amount saved, does the Secretary of State not agree that there is a compelling case for reinvesting any funds saved by the cancellation in the Welsh network?
Ben Lake: Many agricultural unions in Wales have expressed concern about clarity relating to the future arrangements for common frameworks. Do the UK Government intend to apply the Barnett formula to any funding allocated to Wales in the future?
Ben Lake: I beg to move, That this House has considered the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the veterinary profession in Wales. Diolch yn fawr iawn, Mr Hosie. It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship. I am grateful for the opportunity to debate the future of the veterinary sector in Wales, and particularly the impact that leaving the European Union will have on it. It is a profession...
Ben Lake: My hon. Friend makes an important point. It illustrates what important pillars of communities vets are, particularly in rural areas.
Ben Lake: The hon. Gentleman succinctly makes the same point. It is true that, in rural areas, whether in Wales or any other part of the UK, the vet is very much a pillar of the local community. Whether by bringing solace to weary pet owners, safeguarding standards in the meat processing sector or supporting farmers to rear healthy livestock, they perform a crucial service. We often hear about the...
Ben Lake: I thank the hon. Gentleman, who is my constituency neighbour, for his intervention. I very much hope that I will today be as reassured and convinced as he is that the Government’s plans to ensure a robust future for the veterinary profession are well founded. It is true that, given the volatility that the agricultural industry all too often faces and the likelihood that further changes...