Question to the First Minister - Regional Productivity & Transport Infrastructure

Russell George

 

First Minister, the UK’s industrial strategy aims to close regional productivity gaps. Here, in Wales, regional productivity varies widely, from Anglesey having 53 per cent of the UK’s gross value added, compared with 90 per cent in Cardiff. Your Government has previously stated that variations in levels of GVA per head are affected by commuting patterns. While the Welsh Government has put £80 million of European funding into the Heads of the Valleys road improvements, mid and north Wales have traditionally suffered from poor transport connectivity. I note the exception, of course, of the Newtown bypass, which is making good progress. Can I ask what your Government is doing to close these regional gaps in economic prosperity caused by inadequate transport infrastructure?

 

Carwyn Jones

 

The First Minister

 

Well, he has slightly argued against himself there by saying that there’s a lack of infrastructure when, indeed, the Newtown bypass is being built. That is something, of course, that is hugely important. We’ve seen improvements on the A470 over the past few years in terms of straightening the road. We’ve seen it recently in Dolgellau, for example; and, over the years, Cross Foxes; Pont-yr-Afanc; further south in Cwmbach Llechryd, with the bypass; and Christmas Pitch, as it’s called, on the road from Erwood. So, there are many, many examples of where the A470 has been strengthened. And, of course, in terms of the rail network, we’ve seen improvements in terms of passenger services through the constituency that he represents, and there are important opportunities in the future, both to improve the service and potentially look at new stations. Bow Street is an example of that. So, we’ve demonstrated our commitment to transport, both public and private.