First Minister accuses David TC Davies of not being voice for Wales in Westminster
First Minister, Mark Drakeford has accused David TC Davies of not fighting for Wales over funding from HS2 and cash to make coal tips safe.
His comments came in a rant during FMQ’s on Tuesday (November 28) about the UK Government’s recent Autumn Statement.
Labour MS Huw Irranca-Davies asked the First Minister if there was any progress on the Conservatives standing up for Wales on issues regarding rail investment and coal-tip remediation.
Mr Drakeford said that neither of the issues were mentioned in the Autumn Statement announced last week.
He said: “One of the most shocking parts of the whole statement is that next year, for everything we need to do in terms of investment in the tourism industry, investment in our schools, in our hospitals, the Welsh Government next year will get £6 million.
“£6 million was what the Autumn Statement delivered for every single investment need in Wales. Had those two things being delivered, by themselves they would have come to nearly £300 million.”
The Deputy Presiding Officer attempted to regain control of the Chamber as MSs shouted out over the First Minister who continued to sound off asking where was the Secretary of State for Wales’ voice on issues in Wales.
He said: “We should have had our share of HS2 money, the £270 million, and we certainly should have had the £20m, the very modest request we made for help with remediation of dangerous coal tips.
“Where was the Secretary of State for Wales supporting that? Had he been prepared to add his voice instead of refusing to sign letters alongside me as he agreed in the last meeting of the coal tip safety committee, maybe we would have had that money, but we don’t have a voice for us speaking up for Wales.”
The Secretary of State for Wales subsequently hit back at the First Minister saying he was wasting time on “name blaming”.
Mr Davies told Nation.Cymru: “The UK Conservative Government is providing a record £18 billion a year to the Welsh Government through the Block Grant – ensuring that Wales receives £1.20 of Barnett-based funding for every £1.00 per person of equivalent UK Government spending in England.
“The First Minister knows perfectly well that £1 billion from HS2 will be used to build the North Wales Mainline. He should also be aware that coal tips is a devolved matter, meaning it’s the sole responsibility of the Welsh Government.
“The Labour Welsh Government has already been given £31 million in response for Storm Dennis, of which £9 million was to repair vulnerable coal tips. However, if they believe it is not enough, I urge ministers to re-direct part of the £130 million they intend on spending to create more Senedd Members on coal tips instead.
“I told the First Minister in one of our latest meetings that I would await to see the content of the proposed letter, before putting my signature to it. As Secretary of State for Wales, I cannot sign a blank cheque without first knowing the details – that might be the accepted norm from other governments but that isn’t what I do.
“Rather than waste time in name-blaming, I would urge the First Minister and his government to accept that coal tip safety is a devolved matter and they need to take full responsibility for it.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.