SOUTH-WEST WALES MPS, AMS AND COUNCIL LEADERS CONDEMN UK GOVERNMENT FOR 'BETRAYING THE PEOPLE OF WALES' BY FAILING TO BACK THE TIDAL LAGOON.
A powerful grouping of politicians from across the South-West Wales area has today expressed its deep disappointment at the announcement that the UK government will not back the lagoon.
In a joint statement, the representatives said:
“This news is devastating for the Swansea Bay Region.
“After months of the UK Government prevaricating on this decision, and more than a year after the Hendry Review backed the project, once again the UK Government has failed on its duty to support the communities of South-West Wales, and has yet again betrayed the people of Wales.
“The lagoon required the Government to be bold and back a pathfinder project that would promote energy self-sufficiency, re-balance the economy, and create jobs across the UK, addressing disparities in national productivity.
“Giving the lagoon the green light would have been a massive boost to the economy of the area, especially at a time when the region is reeling from job losses at Virgin Media and dark clouds are gathering over steel jobs thanks to President Trump and his tariffs.
“We are all too familiar with this story from a Tory Government who have failed to stand up for steel and failed to deliver on rail electrification west of Cardiff.
"The Conservative Secretary of State for Wales has presided over the removal of electrification money of £400m-£700m - depending on whose figure you use - and has now failed to support £1.3bn for the tidal lagoon. That’s £2bn he has ripped away from the South Wales economy, killing jobs, and denying opportunities to families and communities in South Wales.
“Yet again it was left to the Welsh Labour Government to attempt to pick up the pieces, just as they did with the steel crisis, and to make an offer of support which has fallen on deaf ears.
“This is a project that would have played directly into the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, which makes the decision to reject it all the more short-sighted and irrational.
"The UK Government needs to rethink this decision and back the lagoon, because in doing so they would be investing in the local area, delivering jobs, clean energy and real opportunity to the Swansea Bay Region.”
“This whole sorry tale does also raise serious questions about whether Alun Cairns should continue as Secretary of State for Wales. Mr Cairns is supposed to be the voice of Wales in the cabinet, standing up for our interests and fighting our corner. But this announcement on the lagoon today confirms that absolutely nobody is listening to him, and he should therefore consider his position.”
The first of its kind in the world, the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon would produce enough energy to power 150,000 Welsh homes for 120 years, sustain over 2,000 construction and manufacturing jobs in Wales, and support as many as 311 industrial and manufacturing businesses along the supply chain. It would deliver £8 million in tourism revenue, and the project would require more than 100,000 tonnes of steel, much of which would come from the Port Talbot steel works, with further jobs downstream making the component parts.
Issued jointly by:
Tonia Antoniazzi MP for Gower
Geraint Davies MP for Swansea West
Nia Griffith MP for Llanelli
Carolyn Harris MP for Swansea East
Stephen Kinnock MP for Aberavon
Christina Rees MP for Neath
Jeremy Miles AM for Neath
Rebecca Evans AM for Gower
Mike Hedges AM for Swansea East
Julie James AM for Swansea West
David Rees AM for Aberavon
Lee Waters AM for Llanelli
Cllr Rob James Leader of Carmarthenshire Labour Group
Cllr Rob Jones Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council
Cllr Rob Stewart Leader of Swansea Council
Responding to the news that the Conservative UK Government have decided to pull the plug on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, Rebecca Evans, Assembly Member for Gower, said:
“First they cancelled the electrification of the rail line to Swansea, and now this.
“The Tory Government in Westminster has shown an appalling lack of vision and ambition for our area, and an unyielding unwillingness to invest in projects that would bring us prosperity.
“They had the chance to put us at the forefront of a new global industry, creating skilled jobs and boosting tourism, but instead they have failed us once again.”
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower has welcomed the Maggie’s LIFE exhibition to the Senedd.
The LIFE exhibition is a collection of portraits of people with cancer, taken by Maggie’s supporter and photographer Zoë Law, and curated by Ab Rogers – architect for Maggie’s at The Royal Marsden.
The photographs were taken to mark Maggie’s 21st birthday. Its debut was at Christie’s in London in 2017 and the exhibition is now on tour to raise awareness of the support needed for people with cancer and their friends and family, as well as to show the importance of Maggie’s, through a moving and enlightening collection of images.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “By providing free practical, emotional and social support, Maggie’s - based at Singleton Hospital - plays an important role in providing people living with cancer, their friends and families with the help and advice that they need.
“This exhibition is a powerful and inspiring collection, and is a visual reminder that when we are talking about cancer we are talking about real people with real fears, real passions and real lives.”
The LIFE exhibition will be open to the public from Friday 22nd June to Friday 29th June, in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower is backing the first UK-wide Fair Tax Fortnight (9-24 June), a UK-wide celebration of the companies and organisations that are proud to pay their fair share of corporation tax.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “Every year, billions of pounds are missing from the UK’s public purse because companies choose to avoid paying their corporation tax.
“This tax avoidance causes huge damage. Small businesses cannot compete because it is not a level playing field. Money funnels upwards contributing to growing inequality. Democracy is undermined as companies play by their own rules, and less money is available for the vital public services we all need.”
Rebecca Evans AM is encouraging local businesses and organisations across Gower and Swansea to find out more about how achieving the Fair Tax Mark accreditation can help them become part of a growing UK-wide network of businesses leading on responsible practice, changing the tax landscape for the better.
Paul Monaghan, Chief Executive, Fair Tax Mark, said: “Corporation Tax is often presented as a burden, but it shouldn’t be. Not when considered against the huge array of public services it helps fund - from education, health and social care, to flood defence, roads, policing and defence. It also plays a crucial role in holding the whole tax system together – helping to counter financial inequalities and rebalance distorted economies.”
Notes to editors:
The issue of ‘fair tax’ rose to prominence as it emerged high profile businesses had been avoiding paying corporation tax - which not only distorts the UK economy but also undermines the opportunity for business to compete fairly. It is has been estimated that €600bn of corporate profits are annually shifted to tax havens, with corporate tax revenue losses globally of €200bn per year – which equates to approximately £7bn of missing revenues in the UK. Polls of consumers and the public consistently reveal that one of their biggest concerns about business is the fair payment of tax.
For more information, see: www.fairtaxmark.net
During Glaucoma Awareness Week, Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, is supporting calls to improve awareness among Welsh drivers about the importance of having an up-to-date eye test before getting behind the wheel.
It is estimated that crashes involving a driver with poor vision cause 2,900 casualties each year.
At an event in the Senedd, Rebecca Evans AM discussed eye health with Vision Express, and tested a driving simulator which replicates the experience of driving with glaucoma.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “The simulator was a real eye-opener in terms of the impact that poor vision can have on driving.
“It’s absolutely right that, to-date, efforts to improve road safety have focussed on speeding, drug and drink driving, driver fatigue and mobile phone use. However, there now needs to be a focus on promoting good eye health.”
Glaucoma is one of the biggest causes of preventable sight loss in the UK – it accounts for over one million outpatient NHS visits across the UK each year. The condition is symptomless in its early stages, and a regular eye test is the only way to detect it. Over 90% of people diagnosed early will retain some useful sight but late diagnosis can result in total blindness.
There are an estimated 19,000 people with glaucoma who could be driving without realising the danger they pose to themselves and others.
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has long supported Fairtrade initiatives, and is pleased to celebrate Wales’ 10th Birthday as a Fairtrade Nation on Wednesday 6th June 2018.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “On 6th June 2008, Wales made history and became the first ever Fair Trade Nation, leading the way for nations across the globe.”
There are various milestones that have to be met for a country to be declared a Fair Trade Nation. These include:
• 100% of counties have active Fairtrade groups working towards Fairtrade status
• 100% of cities have Fairtrade status
• Over 55% of towns have active Fairtrade groups working towards Fairtrade status
• 60% of HE institutions have active Fairtrade groups working towards Fairtrade status
• 75% of people know about Fair Trade
The Fairtrade campaign seeks greater equity in international trade. It offers better trading conditions and rights for marginalised producers and workers, and guarantees a set minimum price to farmers for their products, which covers the cost of sustainable production and adds a premium to be spent on social or economic projects.
Fair trade products include fruit and vegetables, footballs, chocolate and clothing.
Rebecca Evans added: “We must continue to work for a global Fairtrade response for farmers at home and abroad.”