- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Category: Uncategorized
Mike Hedges, AM for Swansea East added his voice this week to the growing demands for the Westminster Govnt to come off the fence and confirm that the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will be going ahead.
Mike said… ‘this is a vital project for the city region and Wales as a whole and the independent report which was published 6 months ago said that it was a project for which there would be no regrets. I asked the Jane Hutt for a statement on Welsh government support for the project and I note that she too is exasperated with the Westminster Govnt response. I look forward to the cross party meeting with Greg Clark to see if this will bring a favourable announcement closer.’
|Mike Hedges||Can I ask for two statements? I make no apology for asking for one on the tidal lagoon. I know the tidal lagoon has been mentioned twice this afternoon in questions to the First Minister, but I think it is of such great importance to those of us who live in the Swansea bay city region that I think we would like to have a statement on it, covering two points: one is the marine licence that the Welsh Government is responsible for; and, secondly, what discussions the Welsh Government has had with the Westminster Government about giving it the go-ahead. It’s of such great importance, and I think of how Aarhus in Denmark has created a whole industry in terms of wind turbines, because it was the first to do it. We’ve got an opportunity in south-west Wales to be the first to do tidal lagoons and get the whole benefit of that.|
|Mike Hedges||The second statement I would like to ask for really follows on from what Steffan Lewis was asking. We have had a large-scale casualisation of the workforce over recent years. We’ve gone from the days of people queuing outside docks to being called to now getting a text message, but the principle is exactly the same. This casualisation of labour is not good for the workforce, it’s not good for the country and it’s not good for the taxation system. So, I think I would add my voice to that of Steffan Lewis in asking for a statement on what we can do. And I know what the Welsh Government can do is limited because of what is devolved and what isn’t, but we need to try and reduce the number of people who are plainly being exploited within this system.|
|Jane Hutt||I’m glad that Mike Hedges has taken the opportunity to ask another question on Swansea tidal lagoon. As the First Minister has said, we continue to be supportive of the benefits of the proposed Swansea bay tidal lagoon, and we are waiting for the UK Government’s response to the Hendry report—waiting with exasperation, I would say, in terms of the slowness. It is interesting that the Prime Minister is asking for ideas and engagement with other parties. Well, at least she’s got something on her doorstep that she could say ‘yes’ to straight away in terms of engaging. Of course, there is cross-party support from this Assembly for the tidal lagoon. The Welsh Government’s been meeting with Tidal Lagoon Power on the proposed Swansea project for a number of years across a range of areas to ensure Welsh businesses and the local economy gain maximum benefit. In fact, in his review, Hendry recognised the integrated approach we’ve taken on skills and supply chain development in support of this important sector. And, indeed, we’re recognising the role that the private sector and investors have played in taking this forward, to the point where we now await the response from the UK Government. I think Huw Irranca-Davies earlier on reported on the fact that there’s going to be a cross-party meeting, I think, with Greg Clark as chair. So, I think that is very welcome. We would want to hear from that, but, again, we will be pressing the UK Government for a speedy response.|
|Jane Hutt||I can only say, ‘Yes, Mike Hedges is absolutely right’. I think the Welsh Labour Government is doing a great deal to tackle the casualisation of labour and the inequities of zero-hours contacts, particularly in relation to social care. So, I will seek a statement to update on all aspects of that work.|