Summit handshakes and re-balancing the UK economy
- 2 September 2014
- From the section Wales politics
Now where were we? MPs are back at Westminster after the summer recess - and it's back to the day job for me too.
You can watch my report on the prime minister's statement on anti-terror measures here. After two hours answering MPs' questions, David Cameron departed for No 10 where he hosted a media reception.
The talk in No 10 was of this week's NATO summit in Newport. The UK government believes that the disruption the gathering is causing people in south Wales will be worth it for the way it will raise Wales's international profile and demonstrate the country's ability to host major international events.
It is such a large summit the prime minister has been joking about the number of hands he will have to shake in welcoming other leaders - the estimate is 67 - and whether Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has been preparing for the task. (Those worried about a repetitive strain injury from multiple handshakes could always opt for the apparently more hygienic fist bump).
Today, it has been George Osborne's turn to answer MPs' questions. Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards focused on research from the Inequality Briefing organisation that suggested west Wales is the poorest region of northern Europe. The richest region - inner London - is also in the UK.
"What has happened," asked Mr Edwards, "to geographically re-balance the UK economy?"
George Osborne: "Of course we need to tackle longstanding regional disparities in our country and we are putting investment into Wales, including transport infrastructure investment into Wales to try and lift the economic performance of Wales.
"We do need to bring the economic geography of our country closer together. It's an argument I've made about the north of England. The gap between the regions grew under the last Labour government. By making the long-term investment under our long-term plan we hope to reduce the disparities under this government."
Wrexham Labour MP Ian Lucas asked why the chancellor would fail to eliminate the deficit - as promised - by 2015. The Osborne response: "slower growth in Europe."