Before the Budget on Wednesday, I was able to ask the Minister of State for the Wales Office, Guto Bebb MP, why the Government has broken its promise, as set out in its 2015 election manifesto, to protect funding for S4C.
The funding last year for S4C was £6.7m and was £6.1m this year. A fall of £600,000, completely contravening the Government’s pledge to the people of Delyn.
The Minister dithered and failed to answer my question directly. Instead he said that a review was being undertaken and that an announcement will be made shortly on the continued freezing of funding for S4C. As we can see, funding hasn’t been frozen it has been cut.
I will always push for better investment and support for the Welsh language. The Welsh Assembly Government is doing an excellent job in promoting Welsh, but that is in spite of the efforts by the Westminster government.
On Wednesday, I asked the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP, about the future of the steel industry.
When the Prime Minister visited the Indian Government we learnt that she failed to raise steel. As Tata, the Indian based company, is the company responsible for the steel works in Shotton it beggars belief that she did not think it necessary to ask the Indian Prime Minister, or any of his Ministries about how we can go forward and secure the thousands of jobs in the vital steel industry.
I asked the Secretary of State what steps he will take in the near future when he meets trade unions representing the steel industry to discuss the impact of the loss of single market access. Losing access to the single market will see our industry being hit with tariffs, making steel production become more expensive in the UK and threatening jobs.
The Secretary of State changed the subject of the question to discuss the cost of energy to this sector. As important as this is, under the current circumstances the costs imposed through losing access to the single market will be far more damaging. I was disturbed that the Government did not seem to have an answer to my specific question. I will continue to raise the steel industry within parliament until we get a plan that secures jobs for the long-term.