Cost of Living Crisis: Wales — Caroline Nokes in the Chair

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:19 pm on 19th July 2022.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour, Swansea West 3:19 pm, 19th July 2022

It is permissible on a Wales-only basis, and that is what Swansea University suggests we do. Obviously, we would have to work in co-operation with the UK Government to do that, but the idea would be to put that gas into the grid, or put the hydrogen into cylinders and send it to Ceredigion in place of the oil, so that people in rural environments would have a lower carbon footprint and a lower energy bill.

Whether it is those innovations or whether it is the tidal lagoon, there is no shortage of ideas; what there is a shortage of is Government focus on greening the economy and powering us up in a sustainable way. Instead, they just go to their mates—the oil barons—who say, “You’ve had to do this windfall tax. Give us 90% back to drill for more oil and destroy the environment.” Look at the temperature outside! It is absolutely disgraceful. The Government would not even help us with the tidal lagoon. That is not going to stop, is it? Of course, they said, “We are not helping.” That does not make any sense, even though it will go on for 100 years. The council and the Welsh Government have had to deal with it on their own.

We need a Government who care about people and stopping them starving. People may have heard of Professor Amartya Sen, a Nobel prize-winning economist who had the joy of teaching me on one occasion. He wrote “Poverty and Famines”, and found that famines were not a function of food shortages, but a function of high prices, low wages and some food logistics. He was not writing about the UK at the time, but that is precisely what we are now finding in the UK. We see pockets of starvation. We should stop that. The Government are empowered to stop it and they should, whether by indexing social security and universal credit, increasing rent, investing in green technologies, or stopping obeying everything the oil barons say. I will leave it there.