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Industrial Strategy

Volume 624: debated on Wednesday 26 April 2017

6. What steps his Department has taken to ensure that the Government’s industrial strategy benefits Wales and other parts of the UK equally. (909714)

8. What steps his Department has taken to ensure that the Government’s industrial strategy benefits Wales and other parts of the UK equally. (909716)

We are delivering a bold, long-term industrial strategy that is truly UK wide and builds on our strengths and prepares us for the years ahead. It is important that the economy works for everyone, delivers good, skilled, well-paid jobs, and creates the conditions for competitive, world-leading businesses to prosper and grow across the UK. That, we are doing.

The industrial strategy and the Cardiff city deal demonstrate the strong and stable Government the people of south Wales need. Alongside the compound semiconductor catapult in Cardiff, the industrial strategy and city deal are delivering sustainable high-tech jobs. Does my hon. Friend agree?

I could do nothing other than agree with my hon. Friend, who is a fantastic champion for Wales’s capital city. The city deal is an example of the Westminster Government working with the Welsh Government for the benefit of Wales, and the semiconductor centre is an example of a world-class resource in which Wales leads the globe. We can contribute so much more with the support of the UK Government, working with the Welsh Government.

Will the Minister outline what response he has had from businesses and organisations across Wales since the launch of the industrial strategy consultation, and how is he ensuring that Welsh interests are front and centre of the strategy as it goes forward?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. The response from stakeholders across Wales has been truly superb. The engagement that the Wales Office has had with businesses and industry across Wales has been second to none. The response to the industrial strategy is very clear: businesses and industry want us to support research and innovation, and to invest in digital infrastructure. Those are exactly the types of priorities that we have in our industrial strategy.

The hon. Member for Cardiff North (Craig Williams) is right to be concerned about possible unequal treatment under his Government’s industrial strategy for Wales because there has been silence about Bridgend and Ford compared with what has been said about Nissan and the north-east. Will the Minister guarantee from the Dispatch Box that Ford in south Wales will get exactly the same treatment as Nissan in the north-east?

I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that Ministers and officials have been in regular discussions with Ford at Bridgend. Indeed, those discussions are ongoing and constructive, and they involve the Welsh Government as well. Our aim and intention is to ensure that Bridgend remains a car producing area.

The Welsh Labour Government have proved that lasting economic success comes only through continued investment in Welsh industry and infrastructure. Is there any chance of progress on the electrification of the Great Western Railway to Swansea, the north Wales growth plan and the HS2 hub in Crewe before purdah kicks in?

The hon. Lady is right that investment in infrastructure is absolutely crucial for the future of the Welsh economy. That is why the Welsh Government should get on with work on the M4 in south Wales and improve the A55 in north Wales. In relation to rail infrastructure, electric trains will be on their way to Swansea before the end of the year. More importantly, the commitments that we have in Crewe will be absolutely crucial to the development of north Wales. We had a meeting yesterday with the hon. Member for Wrexham (Ian C. Lucas) and my hon. Friend the Member for Vale of Clwyd (Dr Davies) to ensure that north Wales benefits from these investments.

14. Although, over the past seven years, we have given new powers and new money to the Welsh Labour Government precisely so that they can get on and improve transport in Wales, we have seen near zero progress on big projects such as improving the M4 around Newport. Who does my hon. Friend think is responsible for holding back Wales, and what should voters do about it on 8 June? (909722)

My right hon. Friend makes a very important point. The fiscal framework that has been agreed between the UK and Welsh Governments has been described as a game-changer by Gerry Holtham. It means that, unlike during the 13 years when Labour was in government in this place, Wales is no longer underfunded. The people of Wales should look at the M4 and the A55, and point the finger of blame at the Labour Government in Cardiff.

The Under-Secretary of State says that there will be electric trains going out of Swansea, but there will not be an electrified line. When will he get on with electrifying the line from Cardiff to Swansea, ensuring additional infrastructure investment for the Valleys line, including my line at Ogmore?

The hon. Gentleman should be aware that £500 million has been put towards the city deal in Cardiff, which will be crucial for the electrification of the South Wales Valleys line. We have also done work on the Severn tunnel. Let me say one thing to the hon. Gentleman: I will take no lessons from a party that electrified not a single mile of rail track in Wales in 13 years.