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Seaside Towns

Volume 517: debated on Wednesday 3 November 2010

6. What recent discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues on the economy of seaside towns in Wales. (20329)

My right hon. Friend has had regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on all issues affecting the Welsh economy, including the vital role that the prosperity of seaside towns plays. The Government are committed to working with the Welsh Assembly Government to promote Wales as both a tourism and an investment destination, so that seaside towns prosper as we deliver sustainable economic growth.

What assessment has the Minister made of the effect on seaside towns, especially Welsh seaside towns such as his and mine, of what Boris Johnson calls the “Kosovo-style” clear-out of people on housing benefits in inner cities?

I can fully understand the hon. Gentleman’s concern that after 13 years of Labour government the west ward of Rhyl became the poorest and most deprived area in the whole of Wales. In so far as benefits are concerned, the most important aspect of the matter is to ensure that housing is available in the west ward of Rhyl and in other parts of his constituency.

Does my hon. Friend agree that tourism is a key part of the north Wales economy, and as such is it not inexplicable that the Assembly Government’s economic renewal plan does not mention tourism at all?

Yes. Tourism provides £4 billion per annum to the Welsh economy, and it is essential that we do as much as we can to encourage it. However, the north Wales coast regeneration area fund will also utilise private funding, and that is a Welsh Assembly Government initiative of which we approve.