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Business Support (Wales)

Volume 513: debated on Thursday 8 July 2010

2. When he last met the Deputy First Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government to discuss policy to support businesses in Wales. (6679)

As I gallop to Wales from the north-west, let me make sure that I give the hon. Gentleman the right answer.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not yet had the opportunity to meet the Deputy First Minister to discuss business support in Wales, but, as the hon. Gentleman will know, business support is a devolved activity.

I am sure that the Minister would like to join me in congratulating the One Wales coalition in Wales on reaching its third anniversary this month, with the Deputy First Minister’s Department having developed innovative strategies such as ProAct and ReAct. The Department is also publishing, this week, its new economic renewal programme, which focuses efforts on improving business infrastructure, such as broadband provision, in Wales. Will the Minister make representations to his colleagues in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that the money that would have been spent for the benefit of Wales, through the independently funded news consortiums pilot, is released directly to the Welsh Assembly Government to help them to achieve their broadband objectives?

The economic renewal programme, which I have had an opportunity to look at, has considerable merit, not least because it moves away from the tinkering and meddling of the last Labour Government and towards infrastructure. Broadband investment is very important and the Ministers who deal with broadband will have heard his representations. The issue is important and we want to act on it promptly.