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International Sporting Events

Volume 602: debated on Wednesday 18 November 2015

5. What effect the hosting of international sporting events has had on the Welsh economy in 2015 to date. (902187)

The rugby world cup demonstrated yet again how Wales punches well above its weight in the global sporting arena. It was the most successful rugby world cup in history, generating £316 million for the Welsh economy. There should be no limit to our ambition to build on these successes and to attract more tourism and inward investment to Wales.

What steps is the Minister taking to attract even more high-quality sporting events to Wales, such as the Commonwealth games, which would make my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff North (Craig Williams) very happy, as well as people across our great country?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making such a suggestion. It was on a Conservative motion back in 2006 that the Assembly voted unanimously to attract the Commonwealth games to Wales. The next opportunity is in 2026, and I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff North (Craig Williams) is keen on that date and keen to ensure that Cardiff makes a leading bid. The Wales Office is standing ready and waiting to support any bid that comes forward from any part of Wales.

We were all pleased to see the rugby world cup come to Cardiff. I know that the Secretary of State shares my concern about the delays on the great western railway. What will he do to ensure that such delays do not happen again?

The hon. Lady raises an important point. Immediately after those disruptions occurred, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State spoke with the train operators, who have apologised to him and to the public. Of course, we are upgrading the great western main line, which will make a significant difference in the long term. We also call on the Welsh Government to bring forward their proposals for the M4 in order to improve the infrastructure for those coming to Wales by road as well as by rail.