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Economy in Wales: 2021 Senedd Election

Volume 695: debated on Wednesday 19 May 2021

If he will make an assessment of the effect of the outcome of the 2021 Senedd election on the economy in Wales. (900099)

The Senedd election has shown that three out of four voters rejected separatism, recognising that our economic prosperity is indelibly linked to being part of the Union.

I am concerned that one of the first priorities of the Welsh Government seems to be a universal basic income. Is my right hon. Friend aware of the debates that I took part in at the Council of Europe, in which the idea was completely rubbished?

I say to my hon. Friend:

“Anybody who thinks this is a good idea should knock some doors of Labour voters in working families. It might sound radical to academics and ‘policy wonks’ but it sounds out of touch if you ask most normal people.”

Those are not my words, but the words of the new Minister for the Economy in the Welsh Government, so it seems that they have a problem in their own ranks, let alone trying to persuade us of the merits of it.

Does the Secretary of State accept that it is Mark Drakeford’s superb stewardship of the Welsh economy and the Welsh NHS that has secured Mark’s overwhelming re-election? Will he welcome the Welsh Labour Government’s new 10-year infrastructure investment plan for a zero-carbon economy and release the promised UK Government funding for the global centre of rail excellence to be built in my Neath constituency?

There were many questions included in that, but I am delighted to have played a part in getting the global centre of rail excellence situated in the hon. Lady’s constituency. That was a Government announcement by the Chancellor in the Budget, and it shows that collaboration can work when we try to achieve these aims. As far as covid reaction is concerned, that has been a team effort and a cross-UK effort. The vaccination programme is probably the clearest indication of why the Union matters and how we have been able to work collaboratively with our colleagues in the Welsh Government to deliver something that genuinely benefits the entire nation.