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Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2018

12. What assessment his Department has made of the value of the industrial opportunity presented by the Swansea bay tidal lagoon. (905068)

Helping businesses create high-quality, well-paid jobs across the country is integral to this Government’s industrial strategy. On the Swansea tidal lagoon, taking into account that job creation capability, as well as the decarbonisation potential and the cost to UK taxpayers, is an integral part of that analysis.

It is understood that major infrastructure projects give rise to opportunities for companies throughout the UK supply chain. The proposed Swansea lagoon project certainly falls into that category, and it could provide companies throughout my constituency and South Yorkshire with opportunities to supply products and processes to the project. Will the Minister therefore assure me that a holistic approach that places a value on jobs and investment throughout the country is being used to assess the viability of this project?

The hon. Lady, as always, speaks up powerfully for her constituency. I assure her that exactly those assessments are being made, both by ourselves and by the Welsh Government, to whom there have been very specific requests from the developer. It is right that we are having a cordial, open-book conversation about what commitments are actually being asked for, because this all comes back to UK consumers and/or UK taxpayers.

The Minister mentions that the Welsh Government have committed, in January, to provide substantial equity and loan investment to get the Swansea tidal lagoon project off the ground. Indeed, they are anxious to explore with the UK Government how this might be incorporated into an overall support package for the lagoon. Over and above contacts between officials of the two Governments, what meetings has she or other Ministers in the Department held with Ministers in the Welsh Government to examine and progress this offer?

The hon. Gentleman is right to say that these conversations have to happen jointly. There have been numerous meetings between my officials and officials in the Welsh Government, and I have met the Welsh Environment Secretary and her special advisers to discuss this and many other issues.