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Covid-19: Economic Recovery

Volume 682: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2020

What steps his Department is taking to support Wales’s economic recovery from the covid-19 outbreak. (907300)

The UK Government have provided a support package for Welsh businesses and communities in recent weeks, including the Government’s £30 billion plan for jobs. Our ambition remains to secure jobs, stimulate growth and provide opportunities to level up Wales.

I thank the Secretary of State for his financial support for Wales and for the devolved Welsh Government. Does he agree that, if the Welsh Government want to trigger further restrictions and go beyond Government measures, which should ultimately be used as a last resort, they need to provide plans for how they will financially support the industries that will be hit as a result?

My hon. Friend makes a very good point. The Barnettised numbers, which total £4.4 billion so far, do give the Welsh Government a degree of flexibility in addressing issues if the evidence supports doing it in a slightly different way. There are one or two examples of where they have introduced their own interventions, courtesy of money provided by UK taxpayers, but the overriding point is that there does need to be a degree of collaboration and co-operation that straddles all the countries of the UK, because this is an international and a national challenge.

Like me, the Secretary of State will have welcomed the vision set out by the Prime Minister last week for expanding renewable energy and, importantly, the commitment to boosting floating offshore wind power, which represents such a big opportunity for us in Wales. May I ask him if he would use his good offices to ensure that all the relevant players in this—the private sector developers that have projects ready to go, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Crown Estate, which owns the seabed—are all on the same page, working towards a shared goal so that we get decisions made in a timely way?

Absolutely. I agree with my right hon. Friend and neighbour’s assessment of the situation. We were all encouraged by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary’s comments just now in that respect. I can, I hope, encourage my right hon. Friend by saying that I am meeting the Crown Estate the day after tomorrow, I think, to discuss the potential delays, which at the moment look like being its problem, and we need to unblock that.