On Wednesday I raised my deep concerns that a no deal Brexit would cost Wales between 7-8% of its GDP. The Secretary of State for Scotland wanted to stress that all the Conservative Party candidates didn’t want a no deal Brexit, but what he failed to mention is that they are all willing to carry one out.
What the MPs standing to be Prime Minister have failed to grasp when they state that they will renegotiate a deal with the EU is that there is no one to negotiate with. Following the elections to the European Union Parliament we are now awaiting the election of a new Commission and President of the European Parliament and Council of Ministers. This does not conclude until November, a full month after the 31 October 2019 extension that has been secured for Article 50.
Bravado from a small group of Conservatives is driving our country towards a devastating outcome. I have made it clear that the deadlock reached because of the time wasted by this UK Government can only be unpicked by a final public vote. This process started with you, the people, and should end with you.
I was pleased to join UK Steel in Parliament this week to sign the UK Steel Charter.
The UK steel industry directly employs over 30,000 people, supporting thousands more in constituencies across the UK. Furthermore, these jobs are high skilled and highly paid, with an average wage of £36,000 per annum, this is 46% higher than the average regional wage where the bulk of these jobs are concentrated.
The UK Steel Charter aims to maximise opportunities – not just for these 30,000 workers – but for the UK economy, by encouraging and promoting measures that can be taken in relation to the procurement of steel for major projects.
The Charter builds on the pre-existing public guidance from the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments, turning it into practical steps that public and private organisations can publicly commit to. Simple examples include: advertising steel supply opportunities early, engaging with supply chains in advance of tendering, or simply ensuring contractors know and report on the origin of their steel.
A healthy national economy is built upon a healthy steel industry. We have faced some difficult times of late with the dumping of steel by China and other countries onto the international markets. We need a UK Government which supports this vital industry not one that stands idly by. That is why I signed the Steel Charter and why I will continue to press for greater investment.
I asked the Minister of State for Leaving the European Union, at Brexit Questions, if the Government will guarantee the maintenance of protected status for Welsh products after Brexit.
Protected status, or Protected Geographical Status to give it its full title, is a scheme run by the European Union to protect the reputation of regional protects, promote traditional and agricultural activity and to eliminate non-genuine products which may mislead consumers or be of inferior or different character.
Recently, traditional Welsh Perry and traditional Welsh Cider was awarded protected status by the European Commission. This joins other Welsh products, such as Welsh Laverbread, Welsh Lamb and Halen Môn/Anglesey Sea Salt, in being recognised for their distinct quality and awarded protection against imitation and misuse. Read more “Brexit Questions: Protected Status”