Welsh Grand Committee


[back to previous text]

We must grapple with difficult decisions, such as whether we want a barrage that might damage a certain marine environment, whether we want wind turbines that may not be aesthetically pleasing and whether we want nuclear power stations to produce clean, safe energy, which our industry and country require. Those are tough decisions, but they must be made. We must make those difficult decisions in the context of the energy review report and climate change, because we shall not be self-sufficient for long if we do not do so. We cannot always rely on gas. By 2020, 80 per cent. of our gas will be imported, so we need to be self-sufficient in energy. I support renewable energy, but I also support nuclear.
Mr. Roger Williams: I admire the passion with which the hon. Gentleman speaks about having a good mix of energy supply, including renewables, but surely those decisions must be taken with real knowledge and real science. A report at the weekend showed that the output from land-based wind turbines has approached only around 25 per cent. of the realistic target, which is why my party has resisted onshore wind turbines.
Albert Owen: I admire the hon. Gentleman’s stance, but he has strengthened my argument. The inefficiency of renewables is why we need nuclear as part of the mix. The technology is not there to achieve the targets that many of us adhere to, so we need alternatives, and I believe that nuclear should be part of those alternatives.
Mr. Jones: I share the hon. Gentleman’s enthusiasm for nuclear power, but does he agree that a considerable problem has been the lateness of the energy review and the Government’s about-turn on their attitude to nuclear energy? Does he also agree that, even if we were to commission a new nuclear power station in Anglesey now, there would be a 10-year hiatus before it came on stream?
Albert Owen: I agree that there has been a delay. There was also a delay in the 1980s, when the Conservatives refused to introduce a new build programme. They outlined a Wylfa B in the 1980s, but they never moved it forward.
A matter that has come out of this debate is the waste issue. It is not a matter for the Queen’s Speech, but it is important that we deal with it. The Conservatives failed to do so and created the current problem. I agree that there have been delays by the Government, but the problem is historical.
The climate change Bill is very welcome, and I hope that we can reach a consensus through mature debate. The Pensions Bill will help the most vulnerable, particularly women, and we should welcome it.
I also welcome the child support measures, because, as the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire has said, the CSA has been a complete and utter failure—it is one issue that constituents keep bringing to me. I do not want to want to write off the debt or to let children go further into poverty, and I do not want an amnesty. I feel strongly about that, but we must sort out the mechanism, which, again, was a Conservative idea. We should not have moved forward with it, but we should have reformed it earlier.
The Queen’s Speech has a lot to offer Wales, and we in Wales should embrace it. It includes many great measures, and I welcome it wholeheartedly.
It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o’clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
Adjourned till this day at Two o’clock.

Questions not Answered Orally

St Athan's

7. Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): If he will make a statement on the future of St Athan's defence facilities. [108138]
The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Hain): St. Athan has been a centre of engineering excellence for generations, providing major job opportunities and skills training for the people of Wales. I sincerely hope that it will continue in this vein for generations to come, and I thank my hon. Friend for his fervent and tireless support to bring the DTR project to St. Athan.
11. John Smith (Vale of Glamorgan) (Lab): If he will make a statement on the future of St Athan's defence facilities. [108142]
The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Hain): St. Athan has been a centre of engineering excellence for generations, providing major job opportunities and skills training for the people of Wales. I sincerely hope that it will continue in this vein for generations to come, and I thank my hon. Friend for his fervent and tireless support to bring the DTR project to St. Athan.

Economic Inactivity

9. Mr. Dai Havard (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) (Lab): What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the UK Government and Welsh Assembly Government initiatives to tackle economic inactivity in Wales. [108140]
The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Hain): The UK Government and Welsh Assembly Government’s welfare to work initiatives have been a huge success in Wales.
The number of economically inactive people of working age in Wales has fallen by 6,000 compared to the same period a year earlier.

Renewable Energy

10. Paul Flynn (Newport, West) (Lab): What discussions he has had on measures in Wales to promote renewable energy. [108141]
The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Hain): This year’s energy review and the upcoming energy White Paper make plain our commitment to a massive increase in the proportion of energy obtained from renewables—20 per cent. by 2020.

Police Force Amalgamation

15. Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy) (PC): What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the financial impact on the North Wales police authority of preparatory work for amalgamation of police forces in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [108146]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Nick Ainger): I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues in the Home Department on a wide range of issues affecting Welsh police forces.

Community Safety

16. Mr. Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire) (Con): If he will make a statement on the implementation of neighbourhood policing in Pembrokeshire. [108147]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Nick Ainger): Effective neighbourhood policing is vital to the safety of our communities.
17. Mrs. Siân C. James (Swansea, East) (Lab): What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of UK Government and Welsh Assembly Government initiatives to promote community safety and tackle crime. [108148]
The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Hain): We take the problem of antisocial behaviour more seriously than any previous Government. The tough measures we have introduced are stamping out this blight on our communities.

Armed Forces (Recruitment)

18. Albert Owen (Ynys Môn) (Lab): What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on methods of recruitment to the armed forces in Wales and the numbers so recruited. [108149]
The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Hain): I welcome the initiative shown by the Army in providing young people with an alternative choice of career that they might otherwise not have considered for their future working life.
 
Previous Contents
House of Commons 
home page Parliament home page House of 
Lords home page search page enquiries ordering index

©Parliamentary copyright 2006
Prepared 14 December 2006