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Investment from England into Wales

Volume 726: debated on Wednesday 18 January 2023

9. What discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on investment from England into Wales; and if he will make a statement. (903090)

I have regular discussions with the Welsh Government on increasing investment in Wales and supporting the Welsh economy. Our plans for at least one Welsh freeport alongside our investment in infrastructure will act as a catalyst for further investment from the UK and beyond.

A number of Welsh nationalists—not all but some—used the opportunity of covid and the closure of the Welsh border to incite anti-English feeling. Now we hear that Plaid Cymru, working with Labour, will introduce a hotel tax and other taxes. What does my right hon. Friend think that will do for English investment in Wales?

I want to see people from England, and from all over the world, visiting Wales, and I am sure that all who do will appreciate the natural beauty and all that Wales has to offer to the tourism industry. I was disappointed that some people appeared to be indulging in anti-English rhetoric during the covid crisis. I hope all Members of this House would condemn such behaviour. I want to do more to encourage tourism, which is why I regret the fact that the Welsh Labour Government are bringing in a tourism tax. A tax on tourism is an attack on the tourist industry.

On the subject of investment between England and Wales, progress on speeding up the Wrexham to Bidston line is about as slow as the trains on the Wrexham to Bidston line. What has the Secretary of State personally done to improve rail connections between north Wales and Liverpool?

I am sure I speak for the whole Government in saying that we are completely committed to better rail connections across the United Kingdom. I am well aware of the line between Wrexham and Bidston. I am also aware that it went through a business case procedure that was not completely positive. I can assure the hon. Lady that a number of projects in the rail network enhancements pipeline will be discussed shortly by the Department for Transport.

Order. Before we come to Prime Minister’s questions, I point out that a British Sign Language interpretation of proceedings is available to watch on