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Small Businesses

Volume 602: debated on Wednesday 18 November 2015

9. What assessment he has made of the effect in Wales of the Government’s measures to support small businesses. (902191)

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Welsh economy and are leading the way in creating new jobs and driving growth. There are now 22,000 more businesses in Wales than in 2010. Supporting these businesses to grow is a key part of the Government’s long-term plan for Wales and the UK.

Does the Secretary of State agree that infrastructure is critical to supporting small businesses and that the electrification of the Great Western railway, which serves my constituency too, will unlock social and economic opportunities for his constituents and mine?

I totally agree with my hon. Friend. Of course, investing in the Great Western line is just one part of the largest programme of investment in British railways since the days of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

May I associate myself with the comments about the explosion in Cardiff today and the sad situation at the Celsa steelworks, and thank the Secretary of State for making us aware of it?

The legal profession is a crucial part of the small business sector in my constituency. The Secretary of State will be aware that the First Minister now wants a separate Welsh legal jurisdiction, despite what he said 18 months ago. Will he assure me he is protecting our jurisdiction?

I am aware of the calls from the First Minister and Plaid Cymru for Wales to have a separate legal jurisdiction. One of the sources of Cardiff’s growth in recent years has been investment in legal and professional services, and I fear that moves to create a separate jurisdiction for Wales will lead to a flight of talent from the Welsh legal profession.