23/11/2016 The Wales Report


23/11/2016

The Wales Report is in Westminster to discuss the chancellor's spending review and its impact on Wales.


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Tonight on the Wales report we are at Westminster for a special

:00:10.:00:15.

programme on today's Autumn Statement. If we will be looking at

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the Chancellor's measures considering what they mean for the

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people of Wales, as well as looking at Brexit in a Welsh context.

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Good evening, and welcome to the Wales Report. The Chancellor has

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delivered his Autumn Statement. We will be considering the measures and

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setting them in a Welsh context. The most striking figures concern growth

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and borrowing, because growth forecasts have been downgraded.

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Government finances will be ?122 billion worse off and borrowing will

:01:00.:01:04.

increase and Government debt is predicted to increase to over 90% of

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GDP. One specific announcement, bringing an extra ?400 million to

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Wales to be spent on infrastructure projects of the next five years.

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It's more than enough for us to talk about. You can join the discussion

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on social media. Here are my guests. The Wales Office minister and

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conservative MP for... Welcome to you all. ?400 million for Wales and

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infrastructure. The greater scheme of things, doesn't sound like -- a

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lot. This is on top of the fact that we have had it said this week that

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Wales is not underfunded any more. On top of that, there is an extra

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400 million pounds coming down the line. Anyone should welcome that

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sort of investment in Wales. We need to make sure the economy responds to

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the challenges we now face, in terms of dealing with our exit from the

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EU. I trust the Welsh Government to make sure they spend the money

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wisely. The point about underfunding is not about infrastructure

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investment. He made it very clear that Wales is no longer underfunded

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in comparison with England. On top of that we are now having investment

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into capital spending in Wales. On top of that as well there is ?500

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million committed to the city deal in Cardiff. He has that progression

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of the city deal which we are trying to get together for Swansea. And

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there is the fact that we are still waiting for proposals from North

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Wales. These are on top of what the Government receives. I think these

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are very positive from a Welsh perspective and it is important that

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the Welsh Government priorities spending in a way that will protect

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Wales moving forward. What you think the priority should be? It is

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important to recognise the fact that this is investment over five years.

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It is also a consequential investment over the UK. It doesn't

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strike me that the Welsh Government have been banging the drum for Wales

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to get this investment. Clearly, extra investment is welcome across

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Wales as it is only a drop in the ocean in terms of the cuts that we

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have had to the Welsh apartment budget since 2010. How much money

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would labour invest, given the circumstances we are now in, which

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are less than favourable? The circumstances we are in as a direct

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result of the failures of the coalition and how will it --

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Conservative Government. If we had a Labour Government would be in a

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different position and we would not have seen a significant cuts that we

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have seen over recent years to Welsh Government budget and public

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services generally. ?436 million over five years. Someone said to me

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earlier today it is better than nothing. But what should the level

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of investment be in the context we are in right now? He's putting the

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best china he can on these figures, which are Barnett consequentials.

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Plaid Cymru has considered this from a needs -based approach and the

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infrastructure commission needs something in the way of 700 million

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a year. It is worth bearing in mind that this is only 0.5% of what is

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being spent on the HS two project. What we need in terms of

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infrastructure, this is just scratching the surface. Were going

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to see money spent on the south Wales metro, there are already

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projects in the pipeline. But if ever an economy needed a boost it is

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the Welsh economy. What you think? This is small beer for England and

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also small beer for Wales. We get the spread of the Barnett

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consequentials from that. If you look at it in terms of actual terms

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it is not a great deal of money that you can do a great deal of things

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with. I think the challenge to the Welsh Government is going to be

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heard as it managed to build that money to something bigger by using

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perhaps private sector investment, borrowing powers, all of that to get

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a big package together for all the investment is the need to be done

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for instant infrastructure, railways, broadband etc. I think if

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you've only got a small amount of money you are going to get and we

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know why, what you should do is try to match the five that by pulling as

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many livers as you possibly can to create as much opportunity as you

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can. Working with the private sector and the borrowing powers, put it all

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together and see if you can make a real difference rather than just

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simply writing small checks the small things. The problem is the

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Chancellor has just acknowledged that growth has been sharply

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downgraded. If you look into, three, four years' time, people will argue

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about the Brexit effect, but the figures are there. Are you not a

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lounge by -- alarmed? Clearly there is a concerned and we need to

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interest in infrastructure where possible support the economy. But

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the estimate for economic growth for this year has gone up from two to

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2.1. And for next year it is still better than the vast majority of

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European countries. The last thing we should do is talk ourselves into

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a recession. We need to be careful about that. In terms of my point

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about using the money creatively, that is something we have done with

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the Cardiff city deal where Welsh Government have worked with

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Westminster to boost communities in the valleys. That is money on top of

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the fund that we already have. To claim that ?436 million is small

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beer is unacceptable. The Government is saying the ideas for the

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development of the Welsh economy should come from the communities in

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Wales. In North Wales, the ideas for the electrification of the railway

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line, and others, are all coming from North Wales economies. The

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reason we are having such small amounts of money put into the system

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is because of the forecast that are dropping us forward of this

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situation we find us in. On the small amount of money, I think it is

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important for opposition parties, when they say this is a small

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investment, they should be brave enough to say how much would they

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invest. What I would say to you is that we would need to get ourselves

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out of, and I'm sure we will discuss it later, the Brexit problem that we

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find ourselves in. All the uncertainty and the downgrading of

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growth, everything that flows from it, we are in a very uncertain world

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and that is why we have an uncertain aspect from the Chancellor. We will

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talk about Brexit and whether we can get out of it. On these figures,

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because people will be watching, thinking what can 400 million pounds

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over five years do? What are your thoughts? How should this be spent?

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I think there are infrastructure projects in Wales needs. The walk

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south wales metro... There is a need has capital investment in North

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Wales and across Wales. We are in a difficult situation, there is lots

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of uncertainty because of the withdrawal from the European Union,

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and this money go some way towards providing some reassurance and some

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certainty in terms of jobs. The Welsh affairs committee were told

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that if there was uncertainty about Brexit money there would be

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uncertainty about the south wales metro as well. It is too early to

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see if this money will make a difference to project ready in the

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pipeline, or if it will make a difference to new projects. That is

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clearly very important. The Treasury has been very clear that when there

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is a commitment from the Welsh Government, as long as it is seen in

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the national interest, that will be. If the scheme is under way by the

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time we exit the European Union it will be protected. If it is

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underway. Where is this going to be allocated, when will it appear in a

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statement or a budget? That is an issue for the Government. This is

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crucial, European funding committed prior to our leaving the European

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Union will be protected and underwritten by HM Treasury. I think

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it is important that we do not again start talking negatively when people

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are trying to put together plans to make sure that the best use of that

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European money... One of the things that struck me today with the OBE

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are is the sheer uncertainty. We have seen this downwards drop. In

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two or three years we don't know where we will be. We're talking

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about this as a commitment but where will the come from? The big issue

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for me is that the Government have only given reassurances up to the

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point we exit the European Union. What happens after that is a huge...

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It's very clear we would have no certainty about European funding

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streams after this round of funding. That is whether we stay in the EU or

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not. There is clearly a layer of uncertainty. We should pause for a

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second, because the Autumn Statement was supposed to deal with the sharp

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challenges ahead for Brexit and those negotiations will play a huge

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part in defining those challenges. They concern access to the single

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market and the free movement of people. How can the priorities be

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weighed up and what would be in Wales's best interests? Before we

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discuss that letter is here to opposing voices.

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I think about 40% of Welsh exports go into the single market. Obviously

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it is vital. We sell about ?1 million into Germany. It is a small

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part of our business, but that sales going into Germany has created jobs

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in South Wales. It is in the interests of the EU to reach a deal

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with us. It is not necessarily the best thing for arson. They need to

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export to us then more than we need to export to them. The focus on

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Europe is important but they will have to go on training with us and

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we will find a way to sell to them. I might not. If some European

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countries start to bring in the protectionist attitude by imposing

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higher import duties, we won't be able to import to them. It is not in

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Europe's interest to give us favourable terms. The question is

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pushing us in a direction of Partick which is where the debate has gone.

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A lot of economists don't stink about the minutiae of detail that

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selling into new markets causes a company like mine. At the moment it

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is easy and if we could just find a quick way of sorting out that

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problem called Brexit we could move forward and continue to create jobs

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in Wales. If we just go for free trade and say, look, we have had

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enough of expensive food and cars will, we are going to open ourselves

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up to the Wales -- world. I don't think we should accept the

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free movement of labour in order to get better access to the European

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market. Our country has relied on an immigrant labour force since the

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times of the empire. We need to have people coming in. The free movement

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of people is working well in our favour. Don't think we will struggle

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to recruit. The rate at way the population is growing is

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extraordinary and it is crowded. I would like to have a migrant labour

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force. People who move house to work are keen and enthusiastic and

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ambitious. I think the question we need to answer is why should we give

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Romanians more rights to move to Britain than Australians. Just

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because they're Romanians and not Australians. That is what the EU

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imposes on us. What I need out of the negotiations is to find a

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solution as quickly as possible. In the meantime let's develop

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arrangements with other countries, but more than anything, I do need a

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good level of employees and I would like to see free movement. But with

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sensible restrictions on how much they can exploit the welfare state.

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I would be unhappy if we ended up with the free movement of labour and

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very little control over any other policies that we had, because we had

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to concede all these things to the EU in negotiations. We want to have

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sovereignty back. If we don't get sovereignty back that, would be the

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worst possible outcome. So there we had a businessman woman and the head

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of economics at Cardiff University. Not many prisoners taken there in

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terms of discussion. Back with my guests. They talked about the single

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movement and free movement and negotiations. Let's start with the

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single market and the access we need. Liz, what is Plaid Cymru says

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about the prospect of access to the single market, given as I'm sure

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Plaid Cymru does, that Brexit means Brexit. As Laura said on the clip

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there, that for Wales with a 40% export, anything less than full

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membership is a disadvantage. Access or full membership. Full membership.

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But that comes with conditions that are politically impossible. We

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cannot perceive a situation for the Welsh economy that would be better

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other than with full membership. If we accept that we are in a position

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where it is not possible for Theresa May to accept that, are you saying

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that full access on some terms s would be acceptable. Full membership

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is our stand point. That is not realistic what, where do you go. We

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must look at situation where the giving that Wales has an exporting

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economy, the most advantageous form of that economy. Political reality,

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if we accept and it is a big if, if we accept that the free movement is

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a non-negotiatable element for the Conservative Party, where does that

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leave your view on the single market? For a start, the words are

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free movement of workers. And I think that there maybe room for

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negotiation on that and there may well be if we go into the

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negotiations in a correct way and being able to accommodate and for

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them to accommodate. Because it has affected other countries. There is

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room for a dialogue. But clearly Wales need to be as close as

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possible o' the European Union, not just for our manufacturing, but

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simply because our agriculture output. A huge amount of lamb is

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exported to Europe. It is not go anywhere else much and the tariff

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barriers they would face on free market terms would mean it would

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decimate the agricultural industry in Wales and I think that we need to

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find a cheesest poss -- closest possible to get us into the EU. Does

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Labour see a close route. Where would you like this to end up? I

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think Wales and the UK voted to leave the EU and we respect that.

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What we have to make it work for Wales. Businesses that I speak to in

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my constituency are telling many ethat access to the single market is

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vital and it has to be a red line for businesses across Wales. Because

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the jobs and risk to business associated with that could be

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catastrophic. What is your view on freedom of movement, do you think

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that is something that will have to be put on the table and it will be

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part of bargaining process? There are businesses in Wales that have

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operations across the EU and for them the free movement of people is

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something that is supported. I think you know it is something as far as

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Wales is concerned, our public services, they have a huge migrant

:19:59.:20:02.

population within the public services. So that free movement is

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something again you know it is something we have to negotiate,

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there was a view within the referendum campaign on that. But it

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is a sensitive issue. Do you say to people who say, this is one of the

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elements, we don't like free movement and that is why we

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supported leave. We have to sort of discuss it and raise awareness of

:20:25.:20:29.

the implications of you know if we don't have access too that single

:20:30.:20:35.

market, what the repercussions and free movement maybe a condition and

:20:36.:20:38.

we have to build that into the negotiations. Liz? Again being out

:20:39.:20:47.

on the street in the area asking people about what mattered and free

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movement and immigration, but the realisation, when what would happen

:20:53.:20:55.

to the NHS and the people who work there, oh, they can stay. That is

:20:56.:20:59.

fine. What is interesting is we are having this conversation about what

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this does imply. To me, in Wales, and in communities, what you're

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seeing is a long-term economic decay and people are so dismayed about

:21:09.:21:12.

that that immigration Israels what has taken their -- immigration is

:21:13.:21:16.

what has taken their dissatisfaction, but with we have to

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job to make sure that community have hope and immigration is a side issue

:21:20.:21:24.

to some of the economic issues. Is that right? I think we are having a

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discussion which could have been had before the referendum and people in

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Wales voted clearly 52.5%. I was on the Remain side, but the message was

:21:38.:21:43.

clear. I don't buy the argument that people didn't understand that

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freedom of provement came and -- movement came with it. I want as

:21:47.:21:53.

comprehensive an access to the market, but full membership will be

:21:54.:21:56.

difficult, the unless we say to people, we are not going to take on

:21:57.:22:00.

board the message you sent us. We need to be aware of the fact that we

:22:01.:22:04.

are dealing with a democratic decision taken by people in Wales,

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17 of the 22 local authorities returned a leave vote in Wales.

:22:10.:22:15.

While I accept entirely migrant work verse made a huge and positive

:22:16.:22:19.

contribution, it is the case the people who have suffered from the

:22:20.:22:22.

freedom of movement has been the lowest paid and people in good jobs

:22:23.:22:27.

have not been subject to competition from migrant workers, but people in

:22:28.:22:30.

the hospitality industry have been. People working in the meat

:22:31.:22:34.

processing sector. So there has been an impact upon elements of community

:22:35.:22:39.

and there has been a reaction. Our job is to try and deal with the need

:22:40.:22:44.

to have access to the single market, whip is as comprehensive as

:22:45.:22:50.

possible, but acknowledging the decision taken by people. We don't

:22:51.:22:53.

want to be too negative, because the negotiations with Europe are

:22:54.:22:58.

starting from a position where we have full access, tariff-free access

:22:59.:23:02.

and for every threat and tariff from Europe, then there will be a

:23:03.:23:06.

corresponding possibly threatened action. That is where we need to

:23:07.:23:10.

really work very hard to prioritise what is important for Wales. That is

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what I'm doing in my Welsh office capacity. But we shouldn't make the

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situation seem as if it is the choice between freedom to access the

:23:20.:23:24.

market or full tariffs. That is not where we are starting the in. From.

:23:25.:23:33.

It would be good to know what the Government's position is. We have no

:23:34.:23:37.

idea what their landing point is or their starting point. Perhaps you

:23:38.:23:44.

have given us an insight of where Theresa May would start. I'm not

:23:45.:23:48.

going to give any running commentary on this issue. There are two factors

:23:49.:23:54.

that the OBR brought out. First, it is assuming a 10 year decline in

:23:55.:23:58.

trade in the United Kingdom. Ten years. That is what it is saying.

:23:59.:24:04.

That is an assumption on the basis of information from government. That

:24:05.:24:07.

is a good point. That is based on the fact that we don't sign any

:24:08.:24:12.

other trade treaties. They can only look at what we have now. They have

:24:13.:24:16.

no idea where we will be, any trade deals. You're reinforcing my

:24:17.:24:21.

statement that they have made an assumption and you say based upon no

:24:22.:24:26.

information from the Government. If the Government is keen to do this

:24:27.:24:29.

work I'm sure we could come to Parliament and make that decision

:24:30.:24:33.

and come to an agreement as to what we want to see on matters of

:24:34.:24:40.

principle. It is the concern that is causing the problem. Uncertainty for

:24:41.:24:46.

business, workers, for nurses from other countries, they want to know

:24:47.:24:50.

and we want to know and the country needs to know where we are going. It

:24:51.:24:56.

is a poor poker player who shows their hand before the start. It is

:24:57.:24:59.

important that we understand that the Government has a mandate to try

:25:00.:25:03.

and put together a deal for the UK within the EU. I don't think it fair

:25:04.:25:08.

to say we should provide a running commentary. It is not a running

:25:09.:25:14.

commentary. We are asking about the details of tariffs on specific

:25:15.:25:21.

goods. It is strategy. Have been challenged on the tariffs on lamb.

:25:22.:25:28.

That is detailed. If I could, one point, the uncertainty is affecting

:25:29.:25:33.

the value of the pound and that affects, the former chief of

:25:34.:25:40.

Executive of Sainsbury's said an increase. They would be happy with

:25:41.:25:47.

that decline. With a country like Wales, that 5% on household

:25:48.:25:52.

requirements and food and supermarket products will have a

:25:53.:25:58.

real impact. I don't dispute nachlt that You have to look at it in the

:25:59.:26:02.

round. For businesses the uncertainty is the worst part. We

:26:03.:26:07.

are not talking about a running commentary, but some sort of lines

:26:08.:26:12.

of communication as to what the Government, what is their starting

:26:13.:26:16.

points and you know my view is that initially was that I thought the

:26:17.:26:19.

Government were holding things back, but I think they don't know and

:26:20.:26:24.

don't have a plan. Again what is the starting point? It is clear we have

:26:25.:26:28.

announced we are going to take into English law the entirety of the

:26:29.:26:32.

regulations. Why? In order to ensure on the day we leave we will have the

:26:33.:26:39.

same regulations as we have now. And we are starting from be point where

:26:40.:26:45.

we have tariff free access. Why did Boris Johnson announce we are

:26:46.:26:53.

leaving the customs union. Everyone slaps him down. He is the Foreign

:26:54.:26:59.

Secretary. Do they know? Has the Government got a sense of direction.

:27:00.:27:02.

What is the plan. At least we could have a starting point. I have given

:27:03.:27:09.

you the starting point. Access to the single market. On the day we

:27:10.:27:12.

leave we will have the same regulations in place and the same

:27:13.:27:16.

rules and tariff position. Now the negotiations will have to decide

:27:17.:27:19.

whether we move from that, but that is the point of negotiation process

:27:20.:27:24.

and you are asking me questions about elements of market. You're

:27:25.:27:31.

highlighting the fall in the pound, but exporters have been pleased with

:27:32.:27:36.

the fall in the pound. So it not a one way street. I would stress

:27:37.:27:43.

again, the projections for growth this year, when people said we would

:27:44.:27:47.

go into recession. It has been upgraded. We have a minute left,

:27:48.:27:51.

because you have filled the time with your lively debate. A quick

:27:52.:27:55.

word on where you think we will be, because was know have a new budget

:27:56.:28:00.

arrangement and Autumn Statement and that will be a spring staiment. The

:28:01.:28:04.

Chancellor announced that. By the next proper budget, do you expect

:28:05.:28:09.

that the projections put out today by the OBR, that were a rise in

:28:10.:28:14.

borrowing and a fall in growth, that they will be adjusted as the Brexit

:28:15.:28:19.

effect fakes effect, or are you confident the direction is one we

:28:20.:28:27.

can trust. To expect that in four months, I'm confident there won't be

:28:28.:28:33.

much movement. I'm not confident, the Government have failed on every

:28:34.:28:36.

target they have set and growth is down. There is no optimism and

:28:37.:28:41.

today's announcement does little for ordinary people in Wales. Are people

:28:42.:28:48.

confident? Are we feeling there would be growth? No. There is no

:28:49.:28:53.

certainty and the markets and everyone will move in a negative

:28:54.:28:58.

direction. All the prospects are for a down turn and I'm worried we are

:28:59.:29:02.

going to have the same thing next year. Do come back all of you and

:29:03.:29:08.

keep me company again. So that is all we have time for. Thank you to

:29:09.:29:12.

my guests and if you want to get in touch with us about what has been

:29:13.:29:19.

discussed, you can e-mail us. Or you can follow us on social media. We

:29:20.:29:24.

are back next week. Thank you for watching. Good night.

:29:25.:29:50.

We've challenged Radio Cymru's Aled Hughes

:29:51.:29:52.

to promote his programme whilst going down a zip wire at 100mph.

:29:53.:29:56.

Huw Edwards asks the questions that matter to you about your job, your health, your future. Calling to account the decision-makers here in Wales and beyond our borders too, each week the team bring you in-depth reports on pressing issues that matter to the lives of everyone living in Wales.


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