- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Category: Assembly Questions
I want to ask for two Government statements. Firstly, as we know, not just in Cambridge and around major American universities, but in European cities such as Aarhus in Denmark and Mannheim in Germany, the university sector acts as an economic driver. Can I ask that the Welsh Government makes a statement on how it sees the university sector in Wales helping create wealth in Wales, either via science parks or promoting entrepreneurship?
The second statement I want to request—and it follows on from a question Dawn Bowden raised last week—is on the action being taken to monitor the progress made in cases of defective wall cavity insulation in Wales. I have had several complaints, as a constituency Member, about this. I know that other Members have, and I’m sure most Members who I’ve talked to—. Or I know most Members I’ve talked to have, and I can see no reason why almost all Members here will not have had those problems, and it does have a serious effect on those who are being affected by it. So, can I ask for a Government statement on the size of the problem and what they see as a way out of it? And I also know the problems that exist when the Government made the decision, instead of having one insurance company, they put it out to competition—a word that always makes me shiver—and the fact that it makes life very difficult, then, to find out who is responsible.
I thank Mike Hedges for those two questions. In terms of your first question, of course Wales’s universities are already, and indeed benefit from best practice such as the examples you give—Aarhus in Denmark and Mannheim in Germany. Of course, one of the ways that it does this is by fully engaging, as West Wales and the Valleys, with EU programmes like Manumix, and that encourages the sharing of best practice in the advanced manufacturing sector. But I would follow on from a question to, and a response by, the First Minister earlier on this afternoon, that, if the proposed tidal lagoon at Swansea is approved, which I know, across this Chamber, we all want and expect, it would present a golden opportunity for Swansea to seize national leadership on tidal lagoon research, technology, commercialisation, and supply chains, as Aarhus in Denmark has done with wind energy.
On your second question, it is important to report that the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs has agreed changes to the competent person scheme requirements to help ensure insulation is not installed to unsuitable properties from 1 October. For existing installations, officials will be meeting with the main guarantee provider, the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, to discuss progress in resolving outstanding claims.