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I agree with the hon. Gentleman and I am happy to work with him, because the issue is one for Wales as a whole. To his and his colleagues' credit, they have asked
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questions about the Barnett formula. The formula has worked fairly up to now, as the Holtham commission said, but we need to ensure that it works fairly in future. That is why the formula and the agreement I got with the Treasury for assessing the allocation to Wales under the comprehensive spending review have to be refined to protect Wales's future.

Alun Michael (Cardiff, South and Penarth) (Lab/Co-op): Does my right hon. Friend accept that as well as moving to the fairest possible system for the allocation of finances, we must understand that the problem with formulae is always unpredictable year-on-year fluctuations? We have seen that in local government, police, health service and other formulae. Will he ensure that any new system makes sure that there is predictable income year on year, whatever the elements on which it is based?

Mr. Hain: As always, my right hon. Friend makes a very telling point. This goes to the heart of the issue, which is that the Holtham report showed that although Wales had been treated more or less fairly, under seriously large increases in public spending we could see a convergence between Wales and the English average, which would disadvantage Wales against those areas of England that are most comparable with it, particularly the north-east. That is why we needed a new approach that underpinned the Barnett formula with an assessment that ensures every time that Wales is not disadvantaged-it puts a floor, as it were, under convergence-which is what I have achieved.

Road Accidents

6. Mr. Andrew Pelling (Croydon, Central) (Ind): How many road traffic accidents there were in Wales in the latest period for which figures are available. [308875]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Wayne David): The number of people killed or seriously injured in 2008 was 1,395, which is 31 per cent. lower than the average in the period 1994 to 1998. In 2008, 7,783 road accidents involving personal injury were reported in Wales. We are taking steps to reduce road traffic accidents still further. Interruption. ]

Mr. Speaker: Order. There are far too many private conversations taking place in the Chamber. The House must come to order, and I know that it will want to listen to the hon. Member for Croydon, Central (Mr. Pelling).

Mr. Pelling: The debacle last winter of clearing the roads of snow and ice is perhaps being repeated this winter, with the roads up the valleys in south Wales being closed. Is it safe for my constituents from Croydon, Central, some of whom are Welsh and want to visit relatives, to visit Wales at this time?

Mr. David: The Government in all parts of the United Kingdom are taking drastic action to ensure the greatest free movement of traffic possible. As far as the Welsh Assembly Government are concerned, an announcement has been made that stocks are held for motorways. They are ensuring that stocks that are available for motorways are, if necessary, being made available for local authorities to help with other roads in Wales.

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Mrs. Siân C. James (Swansea, East) (Lab): The travel conditions in the snow at the moment are important and we all appreciate the difficulties. However, going back to serious measures that deal with road traffic accidents in Wales, I am sure the Minister will join me in congratulating the Welsh Assembly Government on their initiative to reduce speeds outside schools to 20 mph. That is a really important initiative that helps to save lives.

Mr. David: My hon. Friend is perfectly correct. The Welsh Assembly Government and police forces are working together in Wales on a number of initiatives to improve safety generally, and the one she cites is a very good example. Action is being taken outside a number of schools in Wales to ensure that there is the smallest possible chance of accidents, and it is proving to be extremely effective.

Mr. Roger Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire) (LD): Statistics show that more than one third of all road traffic accidents in Wales in 2008, including 52 deaths and 372 serious injuries, involved young people between the ages of 16 and 25. Many of those accidents could be prevented by better training for young and newly qualified drivers. With that in mind, will the Under-Secretary meet me, other like-minded Members of Parliament and academics from Cardiff university who are involved in those issues, to see whether we can find ways to ensure that newly qualified young drivers can drive more safely, and thus reduce the tragic number of lost young lives?

Mr. David: The Government are making good progress on reducing fatalities and serious injuries. A 40 per cent. reduction target has been set and we are making good progress towards achieving it. However, the hon. Gentleman is right to say that we need to focus on young people, and the Government are doing that. I would be happy to have further discussions with him to see how that can be taken forward.

Future Jobs Fund

7. Mr. Dai Havard (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) (Lab): What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the progress of the future jobs fund in Wales. [308876]

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Hain): The £1 billion future jobs fund is already creating 4,300 jobs where they are needed most in Wales, including through the successful Merthyr Tydfil borough council bid, which alone will create more than 700 jobs in Merthyr and the nearby communities, helping many of my hon. Friend's young constituents to find jobs.

Mr. Havard: I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, which is in stark contrast to the abandonment of young people in the valleys by the Tories in previous recessions. What discussions will he have about economic regeneration and training opportunities to consolidate those that are available, so that the future jobs fund becomes an opportunity for future employment?

Mr. Hain: I applaud my hon. Friend's diligent application in supporting his constituents and his expert knowledge of the schemes. I am happy to continue to explore ways in which we can take them forward-they matter so much to Merthyr and areas such as my constituency.
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I agree with my hon. Friend: I do not understand how the Leader of the Opposition can want to stop the future jobs fund and prevent funding from coming in to support young people, thus condemning them to the misery and unemployment that they suffered in the 1980s and 1990s under a Tory Government. That would be repeated if the right hon. Gentleman got power.

Mark Williams (Ceredigion) (LD): Despite the benefits of the future jobs fund-I pay tribute to it for the jobs that have been created in my constituency-45 per cent. of those unemployed are under 25. Does the Secretary of State share the concerns of the Prince's Trust about opportunities for young entrepreneurs to create businesses and jobs for the future?

Mr. Hain: I very much agree with the hon. Gentleman. As he knows, one of the future jobs fund schemes is in Ceredigion. The Prince's Trust does fantastic work in Wales and elsewhere, and we should support its efforts to encourage young entrepreneurs to get themselves out of the crisis. That said, because of active Labour Government investment and the policies that we have pursued, youth unemployment is a third lower than it was in the early 1990s under the Tories. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker: Order. There is still far too much noise in the Chamber. It is unfair to hon. Members asking questions and, indeed, to Ministers answering them.

Youth Employment

9. John Robertson (Glasgow, North-West) (Lab): What recent discussions he has had with the First Minister on assisting young people into employment; and if he will make a statement. [308878]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Wayne David): We know that young people in Wales and throughout the United Kingdom have been hit particularly hard by the recession. That is why we quickly introduced measures such as the young person's guarantee and the future jobs fund-to help them to find work as quickly as possible.

John Robertson: Further to the questions asked by my hon. Friends the Members for Ynys Môn (Albert Owen) and for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Havard), my hon. Friend knows that when larger employers close, it has the social effect of well-paid jobs and apprenticeships being lost. What is he doing to ensure that well-paid jobs and apprenticeships are maintained in affected areas?

Mr. David: It is important to remember that some 54,000 young people have been helped into work in Wales through a new deal for young people and £1 billion has been set aside in the future jobs fund. Those schemes are creating real jobs for young people the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, including Wales. I find it strange that Opposition Members opposed both initiatives. We are adamant that the mistakes of the past in the 1980s and 1990s will not be repeated. We will not stand aside and allow our young people to be lost from work for a whole generation.

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Mr. Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire) (Con): But is it not the truth that this Government's approach to youth unemployment has been characterised by massive complacency and a failure to engage with the issue? When the Minister and the Secretary of State met for their friendly pint with the new First Minister last night, what practical steps did they agree on to rescue Wales's lost generation of young people-the tens of thousands of youngsters doing nothing constructive with their lives?

Mr. David: The most important thing to realise is that we will not repeat the mistakes of the Tory past. That is the lesson that we have learned here at Westminster, and that the Welsh Assembly Government in Cardiff are learning as well. We are working together in a spirit of partnership to make sure that as many people as possible are put back into work as soon as possible, and our progress is there for all to see. If the Tory policies were implemented, there would be far more unemployed people in Wales than there currently are.

Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd) (Lab): Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating the Rhyl city strategy team on its successful bid for the future jobs fund, which will put 320 young people back to work in my constituency over the next six months?

Mr. David: I congratulate my hon. Friend on the excellent work he has been doing. What is happening in Rhyl is a good example of what can be achieved through proactive government at local authority level, Welsh Assembly level and here at Westminster as well. It is an excellent example of what can be achieved when we all work together and we do not stand to one side. It is worth remembering, too, that unemployment in Wales is still 30 per cent. lower than at the height of the early '90s; we will not forget that.

Prime Minister

The Prime Minister was asked-


Q1. [308855] Mr. Brian H. Donohoe (Central Ayrshire) (Lab): If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 6 January.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Gordon Brown): Before listing my engagements, I am sure that the whole House will wish to join me in paying tribute to the soldiers who have lost their lives in Afghanistan since we last met. They are: from 33 Engineer Regiment, explosive ordnance disposal, Sapper David Watson; from 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, Corporal Simon Hornby; from 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, Private Robert Hayes; from the Parachute Regiment, Lance Corporal Tommy Brown; from 3rd Battalion The Rifles, Lance Corporal Christopher Roney and Rifleman Aidan Howell; and from 4th Regiment Royal Military Police, Lance Corporal Michael Pritchard. Our thoughts are with their families and friends, who can be rightly proud of the courage, dedication, bravery and sacrifice shown by these men. That sacrifice will never be forgotten. We have been reminded once again since the House last met that there are those who seek to harm us through terrorist incidents. We must remain vigilant and ever grateful to all those serving in Afghanistan and around the world working for the safety of the British people.

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I know that the House will also want to join me in sending our condolences to the wife and children of David Taylor who, sadly, died on Boxing day. He was a tremendous constituency Member of Parliament who thoroughly deserved the accolade of Back Bencher of the Year for his tireless work for the people of North-West Leicestershire. He will be greatly missed, not only by his family, who are here in the House today, but by colleagues in Westminster and all his constituents.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall have further such meetings later today.

Mr. Donohoe: I would of course endorse all that my right hon. Friend says about those who have made the sacrifice of dying for their country while fighting in Afghanistan. I also want to say something about those in the west of Scotland who have died as a result of taking heroin, all harvested in Afghanistan, and to pay tribute to my hon. Friend and comrade, David Taylor, who served in this House assiduously and gave his all in his constituency as well.

If I may turn to the question, will my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister give us an update on the situation in respect of the terrorist incident that took place on the plane travelling from Schiphol in Amsterdam to Detroit?

The Prime Minister: The whole House will echo what my hon. Friend says about the damage done in our country by drugs that come from Afghanistan, and I would be very happy to meet him to talk about those issues.

Since the Christmas day incident in Detroit, we have, as the Home Secretary reported to the House yesterday, taken a number of actions in key areas. In aviation security, the first of a new generation of full-body scanners will be in operation at Heathrow within a few weeks, and then, over time, in airports across the United Kingdom. Although the person who was involved in the Detroit incident was refused a visa and was on our watch list, we are nevertheless reviewing and enhancing our watch list arrangements, and given the changing nature of security, I have asked the Cabinet Secretary to ensure that any lessons that can be learned from recent events are considered and to examine whether we can further co-ordinate and integrate the work of the intelligence services and better make that work available to us.

Mr. David Cameron (Witney) (Con): May I join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to the seven British servicemen who have lost their lives since the last Prime Minister's questions? They were: Private Robert Hayes, Sapper David Watson, Rifleman Aidan Howell, Lance Corporal Tommy Brown, Lance Corporal Christopher Roney, Lance Corporal Michael Pritchard and Corporal Simon Hornby. They died serving our country, and we must always honour their memory and look after their families.

I also join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to David Taylor and his contribution to public service. We, too, send our condolences to his wife and children. He was diligent, decent and determined. As one obituary brilliantly put it, he

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He will be sadly missed.

This year the Government will have to borrow £178 billion. Yesterday, one of the largest holders of Government debt warned that British debt is likely to be downgraded. The OECD, the CBI and the Bank of England have all warned that there is no proper plan to deal with the deficit. Why does the Prime Minister think that all those people take that view?

The Prime Minister: First of all, let us put this in context. The debt of every country has risen as a result of the global financial recession, and debt in Britain is actually lower as a percentage of national income than that of America, lower than in France and Germany, lower than in Italy and Japan, and lower than the average for the euro area. So every country faces the difficulty of taking itself out of recession while having to develop a deficit reduction plan. I tell the right hon. Gentleman that we will not stop the fiscal stimulus before we are out of recession, and we will not take his advice and leave the economy without the necessary support. If we had taken his advice, many thousands more would be unemployed and many thousands of businesses would be lost.

We have published a deficit reduction plan- [Interruption.] Yes, it includes raising the top rate of tax. I assume that the right hon. Gentleman now supports that. It raises national insurance so that we can fund our health and public services. I assume that he has to consider that as well. It does not include cutting inheritance tax-costing £1.5 billion-for the 3,000 richest families in the country. It includes cuts in some of the major Departments, but it includes defending the front-line services of health, education and policing. He asks me about public spending this week after he said that it was the year of change-he changed his policy in the morning, he changed his policy in the afternoon and he changed his policy in the evening.

Mr. Cameron: The Prime Minister talks about the context. The context is the biggest budget deficit of any advanced economy in the world. Let us be clear about what these people say about the Government's plans. The CBI says that the Government's plans are "too little too late". The Governor of the Bank of England says that

The OECD says that

Howard Davies, the man whom the Prime Minister appointed as the head of the Financial Services Authority, said that


facing this country. And he said that after the utterly feeble pre-Budget report. So let me ask the Prime Minister again: why does he think that all those people think that his plans are so feeble?

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The Prime Minister: The Governor of the Bank of England said:

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