Byron Davies MP on Devolution.

Julian Ruck: “Wales is not exploiting the technological innovation zones that are going on in the rest of the UK? The M4 corridor, for instance?”

Byron Davies: “I blame Edwina Hart as Minister for this. The whole thing is a mess and I’ve never got a straight answer from her. We’ve got all this regeneration being talked about, but I don’t know who is going to be investing in all this? Does Edwina know? Does anybody know?”

JR: “There’s no real debate going on in Wales about the Welsh economy. Do you agree?”

BD: “That’s exactly right. Wonderful soundings coming from Edina Hart but nothing ever happening. Her answer is to appoint experts to conduct a review.”

JR: “Post devolution, do you think that Wales has become more insular, more parochial?”

BD: “Yes I do. We’ve become very introverted since devolution.”

JR: “But this is fatal in a global economy.”

BD: “I totally agree. Everything stops at the Severn Bridge We talk about the border with England. Ridiculous. I’ve asked Carwyn Jones many times what his plans are for Welsh exports. He’s been over to America many times. China twice I think, and for what? Where’s the evidence of what is happening with growth in Wales?”

JR: “What about Swansea’s local economy?”

BD: “The local authority has a huge part to play in this, but it isn’t rising to the challenge. There are a lot of business in the Mumbles area that feel left out because the local authority doesn’t come near them. It doesn’t want to know about regeneration.”

JR: “Wales is a grant junky how do you respond to this?”

BD: “My response to this? Where has all the European money that has come into Wales gone? It’s gone to support the Labour vote. Look at the money being spent in the Valleys, Merthyr Tydfil for example? We could draw down some of that for Gower and I’ll be fighting for this.”

JR: “Didn’t a lot of the European money that went into SA1 go AWOL?”

BD: “Yes it did. I believe Edwina Hart’s Department was involved, millions of pounds involved as I recall?”

JR: “These are extremely important issues. So why isn’t the so-called Welsh media addressing them?”

BD: “Yes, they are big issues. The Western Mail for example should be addressing them. Like many of the publications it relies on Welsh Gov’t notices for income on its back pages.”

JR: “The Western Mail receives about £220,000 pa in advertising income from Welsh Labour, which hardly makes it impartial?”

BD: “I agree.”

JR: “Do you find that culturally, your own well-travelled background places you in direct conflict with nationalist Plaid Cymru?”

BD: “Oh absolutely. Anyone that gets out of the box and then comes back having spent say a few years in London will feel this. Our young people go away and do they come back? Answer no.”

JR: “How do you stop this?”

BD: ”By creating growth and bringing manufacturing back to Wales but you’ve got to have the infrastructure.  What’s going on at Swansea Uni, engineering etc and the Jersey Marine is brilliant. Wales needs more of this. But we need the roads and transport facilities”

JR: “Wales needs to push much harder to bring in outside talent and investment, then?”

BD: “Of course it does.”

JR: “And finally, the UKIP impact?”

BD: “I don’t think UKIP will have a remarkable effect on the Assembly elections next year.”

JR: “Surely UKIP is a threat to Labour?”

BD:”I totally agree with that.”

Mr Davies didn’t pull his punches and this is exactly what Wales needs!

LFW

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