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Tourism

Volume 642: debated on Wednesday 13 June 2018

3. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretaries of State for (a) Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and (b) Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on promoting Wales as a tourist destination; and if he will make a statement. (905729)

I have regular discussions with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, including about how we work together to promote Wales across the globe. Along with the Minister responsible for tourism, my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton North (Michael Ellis), I recently met key figures from our tourism sector to discuss the industry in Wales and the important role that the UK Government and VisitBritain have to play.

Whether it be the beautiful beaches of the Gower peninsula, on which I entice my hon. Friend to join me one day, the Clink restaurant in Cardiff prison, or whitewater rafting—I could go on and on—

But I won’t; does my hon. Friend agree that the tourism offer in south Wales will be enhanced by the removal of tolls on the Severn crossing?

Given my hon. Friend’s participation in the programme “First Dates”, I am somewhat perturbed by his proposition. Anyway, I agree that the removal of the tolls will show that Wales is open for business and that we are determined to get people to come and visit the wonderful sights on offer in south Wales and throughout the country.

The fastest-growing industry in Wales is tourism, and as the Minister will know, the jewel in its crown is Anglesey, Sir Môn. Many businesses have been helped to establish themselves by the European social fund; how will that gap be filled post Brexit? Those businesses need the UK Government’s help.

Having been born and brought up on Anglesey, I have to agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is a wonderful place to visit. The European funding systems have been very complex and a source of frustration for businesses. We want to ensure that the UK prosperity fund is far more effective for exactly the industries that the hon. Gentleman refers to.

The 24 policy areas held back by Westminster in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill have now, with Labour’s seal of approval, been increased to include state aid. Why are the Government deliberately intervening to deny Wales the means to help ourselves?

The Government are absolutely determined to make sure that our exit from the EU is as smooth as possible and benefits every part of the United Kingdom. We will make sure that in that process, we fight Wales’s corner in every part of Whitehall.

Last night, the Unionist parties showed their complete contempt for devolutionists by collaborating to ensure that we had no longer than 18 measly minutes to debate the fate of our national democracies. Is this another attempt by Westminster to defeat what a former Prime Minister once described as the “enemy within”?

I have the utmost respect for the hon. Lady, but I completely disagree with her. I am a proud Unionist and I am also proud to be Welsh. I have to say that it was not Members on the Conservative Benches who curtailed the debate; it was the Opposition, who pushed every single Question to a Division.

It may be a small thing, but one way of attracting tourism to Wales is to clean up our verges and our roads. There is nothing worse than coming to Wales and seeing rubbish thrown across the sides of the valleys. What are the Government doing to speak to the Welsh Assembly and local councils to ensure that they are cleaning up their roads to attract more people to Wales?

The hon. Gentleman is right. It is actually issues such as that that matter a great deal to people and give a good impression. That is exactly why we have given more and fairer funding, to the Welsh Government. My understanding is that it is £120 per head at the moment.