Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart has outlined the UK Government’s ambitious plans for Wales which aim to deliver thousands of skilled jobs and ensure Wales’s place as a hub for innovation and the green industries of the future.
Speaking to an online audience of representatives from Welsh business, industry and tourism on Thursday (20 May) the Welsh Secretary explained how the UK Government will build back better and greener from the pandemic by investing in digital infrastructure, providing financial backing for green industry and supporting jobs and growth right across Wales in the coming months and years.
Launching the UK Government’s Plan for Wales, Mr Hart also described how his government will operate at a community level in Wales, working directly with local authorities and other groups on delivery of funding and major projects.
Speaking about the plans, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
Just as the economic heft of the UK provided the resources to get all four of its constituent parts through the worst of the pandemic – and acquire the vaccines that will ultimately bring it to an end – so that strength in numbers will help Wales become fairer, greener and more prosperous as we build back better from Coronavirus.
By working together we can bring faster internet connections, more reliable mobile signals and better transport connections. We can create good, skilled, well-paid jobs from Menai Bridge to Machynlleth to Merthyr Tydfil and we can help Wales play its part in building a net-zero economy with everything from the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub to vast floating windfarms in the Celtic Sea.
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said:
The UK Government is stepping up a gear in Wales. We are accelerating our support for local communities to help them recover from the pandemic, we are bringing the UK Government closer to Wales and we will lead Wales’ recovery into a green industrial revolution of jobs and growth.
Every single investment we make will be looked at through the prism of jobs, livelihoods and sustainability. Like never before people will see the UK Government work directly with the 22 Welsh local authorities as well as other local partners.
Neither Westminster nor Cardiff has a monopoly of knowledge and expertise and I firmly believe it is local communities that are often best placed to determine both how to meet the specific needs of their areas and what will have the greatest impact.
The Plan for Wales has been published following a year which has seen unprecedented support provided to businesses and individuals in Wales during the Covid-19 pandemic with more than 500,000 Welsh jobs protected by UK Government support schemes including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, billions provided in government loans to Welsh firms and an extra £8.6bn allocated to the devolved Welsh Government through the Barnett Formula since the start of the pandemic.
Mr Hart said that the collective strength of the United Kingdom has been instrumental in harnessing collective scientific, industrial and financial strength to deliver a world-class vaccination programme that has provided a path out of lockdown.
The Welsh Secretary outlined a series of ambitious projects across Wales to which the UK Government has recently committed funding and support, and reiterated his government’s backing for longer-standing policies like significantly improving Wales’ digital infrastructure and ensuring transformational growth deals cover every area of Wales.
Projects highlighted by the Welsh Secretary include:
- Investing, alongside industry, more than £40m to support a cluster of industries in South Wales to transition to net-zero.
- Hundreds of millions of pounds in business and job creation in every area of Wales via the Growth Deals programme.
- Investing £15.9m in low-carbon heavy goods vehicles which will be pioneered in Cwmbran.
- Moving more jobs in UK Government departments including…