SOUTH-WEST WALES MPS, AMS AND COUNCIL LEADERS CONDEMN UK GOVERNMENT FOR 'BETRAYING THE PEOPLE OF WALES' BY FAILING TO BACK THE TIDAL LAGOON.
A powerful grouping of politicians from across the South-West Wales area has today expressed its deep disappointment at the announcement that the UK government will not back the lagoon.
In a joint statement, the representatives said:
“This news is devastating for the Swansea Bay Region.
“After months of the UK Government prevaricating on this decision, and more than a year after the Hendry Review backed the project, once again the UK Government has failed on its duty to support the communities of South-West Wales, and has yet again betrayed the people of Wales.
“The lagoon required the Government to be bold and back a pathfinder project that would promote energy self-sufficiency, re-balance the economy, and create jobs across the UK, addressing disparities in national productivity.
“Giving the lagoon the green light would have been a massive boost to the economy of the area, especially at a time when the region is reeling from job losses at Virgin Media and dark clouds are gathering over steel jobs thanks to President Trump and his tariffs.
“We are all too familiar with this story from a Tory Government who have failed to stand up for steel and failed to deliver on rail electrification west of Cardiff.
"The Conservative Secretary of State for Wales has presided over the removal of electrification money of £400m-£700m - depending on whose figure you use - and has now failed to support £1.3bn for the tidal lagoon. That’s £2bn he has ripped away from the South Wales economy, killing jobs, and denying opportunities to families and communities in South Wales.
“Yet again it was left to the Welsh Labour Government to attempt to pick up the pieces, just as they did with the steel crisis, and to make an offer of support which has fallen on deaf ears.
“This is a project that would have played directly into the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, which makes the decision to reject it all the more short-sighted and irrational.
"The UK Government needs to rethink this decision and back the lagoon, because in doing so they would be investing in the local area, delivering jobs, clean energy and real opportunity to the Swansea Bay Region.”
“This whole sorry tale does also raise serious questions about whether Alun Cairns should continue as Secretary of State for Wales. Mr Cairns is supposed to be the voice of Wales in the cabinet, standing up for our interests and fighting our corner. But this announcement on the lagoon today confirms that absolutely nobody is listening to him, and he should therefore consider his position.”
The first of its kind in the world, the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon would produce enough energy to power 150,000 Welsh homes for 120 years, sustain over 2,000 construction and manufacturing jobs in Wales, and support as many as 311 industrial and manufacturing businesses along the supply chain. It would deliver £8 million in tourism revenue, and the project would require more than 100,000 tonnes of steel, much of which would come from the Port Talbot steel works, with further jobs downstream making the component parts.
Issued jointly by:
Tonia Antoniazzi MP for Gower
Geraint Davies MP for Swansea West
Nia Griffith MP for Llanelli
Carolyn Harris MP for Swansea East
Stephen Kinnock MP for Aberavon
Christina Rees MP for Neath
Jeremy Miles AM for Neath
Rebecca Evans AM for Gower
Mike Hedges AM for Swansea East
Julie James AM for Swansea West
David Rees AM for Aberavon
Lee Waters AM for Llanelli
Cllr Rob James Leader of Carmarthenshire Labour Group
Cllr Rob Jones Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council
Cllr Rob Stewart Leader of Swansea Council