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Ryder Cup

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 16 January 2008

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have regular discussions with colleagues in the Welsh Assembly Government and elsewhere about issues affecting Wales, including the preparation for major events. In fact, I am planning to meet representatives of Ryder cup Wales in the near future to discuss the preparations for 2010.

Will my hon. Friend redouble his efforts to ensure that the great enthusiasm of all of Wales for the Ryder cup is shared by people throughout the UK? Is he looking forward, as I am, to that glorious day in 2010—a few months after the next general election—when I, the newly re-elected Member for Newport, West, will welcome the right hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) to Newport to congratulate him on his eighth successive year of distinguished service as Secretary of State for Wales?

My right hon. Friend, who has been a huge supporter of the Ryder cup, will indeed look forward to that glorious day and to the re-election of my hon. Friend. Certainly, the Ryder cup is welcomed across Wales and the UK—with its massive investment in infrastructure and jobs, the involvement of the private sector in Newport, and new hotel development. It is a great tribute to the work that Wales has done in remodelling itself as the venue for top-class sporting events.

Of course, the Ryder cup will not be a success if people are unable to get to it, so will the Minister give an assurance that the construction of Crossrail along the Great Western main line, which is due to commence in 2010, will not cause huge disruption to train services from Paddington to Newport?

The hon. Gentleman makes a fair point and I am happy to take up that issue. It is important to have the infrastructure in place so that people can make use of it. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will welcome not only the massive investment in Newport but the legacy of the Ryder cup in Wales, the wider investment in golf across Wales and the fact that Wales now stages the rugby world cup, the Heineken cup final, the FA cup final and the Wales rally GB. Wales is now truly the destination for world-class sporting events.

What assessment has been made of the impact of the 2010 Ryder cup on my constituency in respect of economic, tourism, social and sporting prowess? Bridgend has some of the best golf courses in the UK, including the Royal Porthcawl, which is very popular with the Japanese ambassador, who regularly plays there.

My hon. Friend is unusually well informed about the activities of the Japanese ambassador, but it is indeed true that he plays there every month. It is estimated that the Ryder cup brought £88 million into the Irish economy in the tournament week alone and studies are progressing on how much it will bring into the wider Welsh economy and Bridgend. I have no doubt that our success in getting the Ryder cup will once again put us at the highest level in attracting investment and providing a sporting legacy for Wales.