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UK Government’s Plans to Turn Wales into a Green Industries Hub

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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 and industry yesterday 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.

One area of concern for many business leaders across Wales is centred around the clear political differences between UK and Welsh governments and the urgency of working in partnership to deliver for Welsh businesses.

Business News Wales editor, Mark Powney asked the Secretary of State for Wales on how he plans to build a relationship with new Minister for the Economy Vaughan Gething:

Projects highlighted by the Welsh Secretary included:

  • 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 the Home Office and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to locations in Wales.
  • Making almost £5m available for the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub project to pilot the use of hydrogen in the transport sector.
  • Investing up to £30m, subject to approvals, in the Global Centre of Rail Excellence to create a world class train testing and R&D facility in the Dulais Valley.
  • Supporting the emergence of floating offshore wind, with the Crown Estate holding a formal leasing round for floating offshore wind projects in the Celtic Sea.
  • Implementing the new Levelling Up Fund which will invest up to £4.8 billion in local infrastructure across the UK that has a visible impact on people and their communities.
  • Launching Project Gigabit, a £5bn connectivity programme to support the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband in the hardest to reach communities in Wales.
  • Continuing to improve rural connectivity via the Shared Rural Network, a £1 billion deal with the mobile network operators to deliver 80% 4G mobile coverage from all four operators across Wales and 95% coverage from at least one.
  • Investing in Wales’ transport infrastructure including a further £2.7m to upgrade the digital signalling capability on the Cambrian Line.
  • The delivery of the first-ever Freeport in Wales which could lead to thousands of new jobs.

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.”