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Volume 735: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2023

Foreign investment created 3,062 jobs over the last year. With the number of FDI projects also on the rise, that shows that more and more investors are looking to Wales. This is testament to the £52 million that we are providing to support two new freeports, our commitment to delivering at least one investment zone in Wales, and the £1 billion we are investing in the next decade to boost the UK’s global strengths in semiconductors.

Does the Minister agree that supply chain businesses need

“a modern, functioning road network to keep goods moving efficiently”—

whether they are on the M4, the A55 or elsewhere—and that the failure of the Welsh Government to commit to this is a “body blow”, according to the Road Haulage Association director, Geraint Davies?

I absolutely do; my hon. Friend makes an excellent point. The Welsh Government’s response to the roads review is more of a roadblock, sadly. Their opposition to the M4 relief road and other schemes continues to hold the Welsh economy back. The Welsh Government’s impact assessment suggests that the impact of the 20-mile-an-hour default speed limit could be as much as £4.5 billion. The Welsh Government, I am afraid, are advertising that Wales is closed for business.

The automotive sector contributes significantly to the economy in Wales, including Gestamp in my constituency, where investment in the latest technology to make lighter, tougher bodywork parts contributes to the safety and energy efficiency of vehicles, including new electric vehicles. However, with the US and the EU offering big incentives to companies to invest in new green technologies, what talks has the Minister had with ministerial colleagues about offering similar incentives to get the investment from automotive companies to ensure that we keep a vibrant automotive sector?

I know that that question is very important to the hon. Member and her constituency. I point her in the direction of the growth deals, which have an important role to play, and regular ongoing discussions are held between the Secretary of State, the Wales Office and other Government Departments.

Investment in Wales is also conditional on there being adequate healthcare. Is my hon. Friend aware that, in Tywyn on the west coast of Wales, a hospital that was built only six or seven years ago has now closed? People in that area have to travel many, many miles to get healthcare when it is needed.

I thank my hon. Friend for raising that issue. Clearly, the provision of healthcare services in rural areas is often very difficult, but he will be aware of the particular challenges in Wales, especially north Wales, over the availability of safe and accessible healthcare services. He is right to raise that point.

As a GP, the Minister knows the value of community engagement. Will he ask the Home Secretary to increase investment in policing in Wales to ensure that there is an effective response to tackling crime when bad things happen?

The hon. Member will be aware that there are more police officers in all the forces in Wales than ever before. The Government and the Home Office have been investing in the uplift programme and ensuring that there is a strong police presence across Wales.