TIN MAN FINDS A HEART – AS CRABB DOES A SIDEWAYS U-TURN

This week, I spoke in the Commons in response to the budget and Iain Duncan Smith's resignation:

 

"What a shambles from the Wizard of Osborne, with the revelation that the tin man, the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has a heart. I do not really believe it myself—I believe that he [Ian Duncan Smith] is thinking of jobs after Brexit with the Mayor of London."

 

"Of course, we now have a new Secretary of State, the former Welsh Secretary, who has just done a U-turn on the Wales Bill and has now done a U-turn on disability payments. I never thought that crabs did anything other than move sideways, but there we are. He was cheering away at the Budget a few days ago, but apparently now he does not agree with it."

 

"As usual, the Wizard of Osborne has blamed Labour, but let us not forget that in the 10 years to 2008 the economy grew under Labour by 40%, some 4% a year, whereas that figure is now about 2%. We left debt as a share of GDP at 55% and it is now 83%. Why is that? Because of economic failure and slow productivity growth. Why is that? Because we have low investment in research and development and in infrastructure compared with the rest of the developed world. In particular, that is focused on London and the south-east and not in the north, in Wales or elsewhere."

 

"I welcome the reduction in the Severn bridge toll, but that could have been reduced to a quarter of the price to cover operational costs as opposed to half the price, as the Government will continue to make a large margin of profit by basically putting a tax on trade with Wales. I welcome the news that there might be a new city deal for Swansea and the fact that the Chancellor is still trying to support the EU."

 

"Finally, I should mention the other stealth tax from employers’ contributions on pensions, which is a back-door cut for the Welsh Government that I resist. In a nutshell, this is a sheriff of Nottingham Budget that I resist."

 

 gdd.png


George Osborne must commit to the Swansea Tidal Lagoon

The Chancellor explicitly mentioned the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon in his Autumn Statement in 2014. I'm asking him now, 18 months later, to recommit to our Swansea Lagoon in the Budget next week. If he doesn't people will naturally think he is playing games and that his 'review' will simply kick the project into the long grass.
 
The latest research shows that methane leakage during fracking is 8% and so fracking is two and a half times worse than coal in terms of climate change, the Chancellor must use the Budget to promote green energy like Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon instead of fracking which is worse than coal for climate change.
 
80% of fossil fuels cannot be used if our the world is to keep temperature increases below 2% as agreed in the Paris Climate Change Conference. Meanwhile if nuclear energy provided 15% of world energy then uranium supplies would be exhausted within 10 years.
 
The Chancellor must use the Budget to invest in sustainable power and Swansea's Tidal Lagoon is the first page in a new chapter of wave energy that could make Britain a world leader.

Diesel Bill Second Reading

Today my Air Quality in Urban Centres Bill receives its Second Reading. The Bill has the support of MPs from all parties, the British Lung Foundation, the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. 

Last week a report from the Royal Colleges revealed that there are 40,000 premature deaths caused annually by air pollution in the UK.

The Air Quality Bill will save thousands of lives and billions of pounds every year. Our cities are pumping out belches of diesel clouds which threaten the lives of families, in particular young children and unborn babies. The Bill gives local authorities the power to give residents a breath of fresh air by extending low emissions zones, tram systems, pedestrianisation and cycle-lanes, and even to ban the most polluting diesel vehicles from urban centres.

Motor manufacturers like Volkswagen, caught black-handed cheating emissions tests need to clean up their act as the Bill brings in tough new tests on diesel-burning cars.

The future is electric and hydrogen powered transport, and the Government needs to provide a national network to top up both electric and LPG vehicles.

My Bill means that the Environment Agency will be able to step in when a pollution cloud has hit an area, so that windows, doors and even roads can be closed, and if necessary local people evacuated until it is safe to return.

There are already too many children missing school because of asthma attacks, caused by big diesel cars lying idly at their gates. Every parent’s first duty is to their child, and my Bill will protect clean air to ensure healthy and happy families.

In his budget, George Osborne needs to ensure we invest in a greener, cleaner future in our cities, so that our children can have a happier healthier future. My Bill aims to take the ‘die’ and ‘ill’ out of dies-ill.

 

Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Air pollution causes tens of thousands of early deaths every year, increases the risk of lung cancer and impairs child lung development. Geraint Davies’ Bill further highlights these unacceptable dangers to the nation’s lung health. Immediate action must be taken by the government.”


The real issue is 'in' or 'out', not candyfloss negotiations

There are overwhelming reasons for the UK to stay in the EU. Our membership secures 25,000 jobs in Swansea bay alone, and the EU helps to clean up our environment, while protecting water and air quality. The Prime Minister’s negotiation risks being a distraction from the central issue that Europe continues to shape our future, whether we are in it or not. The issue is whether we want to be in the driving seat, if we stay in, or a passenger if we leave.
On Tuesday I challenged the Minister of Europe when asking: “Does the Minister agree that the central issue is that if, whether we are in or out, we want lasting influence over the social, environmental and economic future of Europe, we need to stay in? This candyfloss negotiation—it is not possible to ratify it legally in a treaty, but it is welcome—may be sweet to taste, but appears much bigger than it in fact is and will not have a lasting impact unless we stay in the Union to see it through.”

Climate change means we need flood protection sooner, not later.

Before becoming an MP, my role through the Environment Agency was to provide flood defences across Wales. We must adopt a more creative approach to land use management and storage, so that water is held upstream and prevented from overflowing into our sewers by rainwater capture off roofs.
 
 
It's not good enough that the government simply reacts to flooding events, when the world has accepted that we will see another 2 degrees rise in temperature by 2020. This inevitably means more flooding.
 
 
In Parliament I asked Lizz Truss, the Environment Secretary, whether she accepts the facts about climate change. I said: “Does the Secretary of State not accept what is happening with climate change? Once-in-200-year events have now become once-in-100-years events, and it was accepted at the Paris conference that another 2 degrees would probably be added to world temperatures. There is surely no excuse for not investing more and more—even more than we planned to invest following the 2007 Pitt review. Will the Secretary of State urge the Government to invest even more than is proposed under the current agreement?”
 
 
The Environment Secretary responded by saying that the Government is “reviewing our national resilience and looking at our climate change models. Climate change is currently built into our six-year plan.” Following my point, she also said, “we clearly need to look at [climate change] again in the light of recent events.”
 
 
Climate change means we need flood protection sooner, not later.