Welsh Secretary David Jones: Big builds 'will help grow economy'

Welsh Secretary David Jones says infrastructure spending is a priority

Related Stories

The UK Government is committed to delivering big building projects to help the Welsh economy compete globally, the Welsh secretary insists.

David Jones said projects like the electrification of the Great Western rail line to Swansea and a new prison for north Wales would boost areas.

Critics have said ministers waited too long before committing public money for building projects.

But Mr Jones said ministers had needed to "rebalance the economy".

He was speaking after delivering a speech on the next steps for infrastructure in Wales in Cardiff on Monday.

Start Quote

The most important thing to do was to rebalance the economy after the bust in 2008”

End Quote David Jones MP Welsh Secretary

It came after the UK Government announced plans last week to invest £100bn in infrastructure projects, £250m of which will be invested in building the new prison in north Wales.

Rail passengers are also set to benefit from faster train services between Swansea and London by 2018 when work to electrify the line will be completed.

Mr Jones warned that without the right infrastructure the Welsh economy would not grow and said that in the last year his government had made several big announcements.

"The biggest one of course being the electrification of the Great Western line all the way down to Swansea and of course the Cardiff valleys lines," he said.

Frosty

"We've seen the announcement of the £57m worth of investment form the Westminster government in broadband in Wales and of course only last week we saw the anno of the new prison in north Wales which will be a tremendous boost to that area."

Responding to opposition claims that the UK Government had been slow in committing money to spend on big infrastructure projects Mr Jones said: "I don't believe that we have - the most important thing to do was to rebalance the economy after the bust in 2008.

Trains like this will run on the main line from Swansea to London The electrification of the rail line is one of the projects the UK government has given money to

"And in order to do that we had to aggressively attack the deficit and I believe that we've done that and we're moving from the rescue to the recovery stage and I think that the announcements we made last week in new infrastructure will help kick start that recovery."

During his speech Mr Jones paid tribute to the Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt and later accepted that the sometimes frosty relationship between the two governments was improving.

"I don't think there's any questioning of a softening (in relations between the Welsh and UK governments)," he said.

"I think that we have to look at the reality.

"As far as infrastructure is concerned most infrastructure is not devolved, the principal exception of course is roads.

"So therefore if we are to deliver effective infrastructure improvements in Wales the two administrations in Westminster and Cardiff have to work closely together, and this is something that I have been saying since day one of my appointment.

"And I'm sure that Jane Hutt would agree with me."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Wales stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.