As many of you will know, I voted last night to ensure that Parliament could reclaim sovereignty from a UK Government that is pushing the limits of our constitution. That vote passed and ensured that today we could vote upon a Bill to block a disastrous no deal Brexit.
One of the important industries for Delyn is farming. I have held many meetings with hill farmers in Delyn to discuss their fears about a no deal Brexit and what it will mean for their livelihoods. One of the most worrying impacts of no deal is the automatic application of 40% tariffs on sheep meat. These costs will be applied when our farmers are trying to export their world beating produce to the EU – which they can currently do tariff free. The EU is the biggest market for our lamb and no deal would lock us out of it.
That is why I asked the Secretary of State for Wales what action he will take to ensure that no tariffs are applied and no deal is averted.
Instead of giving an informed response about the costs of these tariffs on farmers the Secretary of State decided to ignore the point. Yet again Wales and Delyn is being let down by Alun Cairns MP who cares more about his job than our economy and is not speaking up for us in Government.
I will be voting for the Bill tonight to block no deal to ensure that we do not crash out. Industries, like farming and manufacturing, cannot cope on no deal grounds. It is reckless and breaks my manifesto commitment to you I made in the 2017 General Election.
Figures released this week demonstrated that 1 in 5 people in Delyn have had to use a foodbank in the last three years. This is disgraceful.
I pointed out to the Secretary of State that that information coincides with Flintshire being one of the first constituencies in the UK to see the roll-out of Universal Credit.
The minister buried his head in the sand and refused to accept that the rise in poverty was in any way linked to the bungled implementation of Universal Credit.
Under this UK Government we have seen child poverty, after housing costs, rise to 40% in some areas in Delyn and unemployment increase for four months in a row. The contempt this government shows towards us in North Wales is utterly exasperating.
The North Wales Growth Deal has been announced several times over now. I have been stating that we need it urgently if we are to stop any increases in unemployment. Sadly, the Government have only just started to take action. That is why I wanted to press the Minister on the increase in unemployment in Delyn announced today.
October witnessed a rise in unemployment and I warned the UK Government if they did not take action it would only rise further. Today’s figures demonstrate that they did not heed these warnings and let unemployment push above the 800 mark. This follows years of fluctuations in unemployment in Delyn, under the Conservatives, but no definitive fall.
Youth unemployment is remaining at 180 people. Showing that despite the efforts of the Welsh Assembly Government in providing excellent education and skills training, the UK Government is squandering our young people’s potential.
What we are seeing is a government who are not competent enough to manage the UK economy. For all their bluster surrounding their credentials on the economy we can see a shambolic approach to bringing down inflation and securing more decent jobs. We now live in the situation where inflation continues to rise to an eye-watering 3.1% and the number of people in secure work plummets. Labour will invest into our community and tackle the cost of living crisis head on.
The Minister seemed to demonstrate an unwillingness to even note the rise in unemployment in Delyn. Instead he opted to say that everything is well in his constituency. This shows a disregard for the people of Delyn and shows this government’s incompetency in implementing a growth deal when it was first needed.
I am deeply concerned at the speed in which this Government takes decisions on transport investment. The expansion of Heathrow airport has constantly been kicked into the long grass despite an independent review stating it was the best option.
The failure to expand Heathrow is worrying as the promises to make Crewe a hub for HS2 may never happen if the Government live up to form. The hub at Crewe will directly benefit us as we will have quicker links to Manchester, Birmingham and London. This is good for people wanting to visit North Wales, but is equally as good for businesses who currently operate in our community.
I pressed the Minister to tell us when Heathrow and the hub at Crewe will be given the green light so businesses and people in Delyn can plan accordingly.