Easing the energy burden on industry

The compensation package for energy intensive industries announced in Chancellor George Osborne's Budget - and the cap on the tax on their emissions - is particularly relevant in Wales.

Heavy industry may have declined hugely but the size of what remains is often underestimated.

I've spoken to Karl Kohler, the boss of Tata Steel, in recent years at the Port Talbot plant and the cost of energy in the UK was inevitably one of the first things he would talk about.

Business leaders are always after a tax break for whatever industry they represent but this is something the British steel industry has felt aggrieved about.

The Wales Office has been lobbying the UK government on this, and Carwyn Jones has held talks in London with some of the big players.

It's not just Tata that will benefit but so will the Spanish steel maker Celsa and the Dow Corning chemical works in Barry. All of them have enormous energy costs.

As far as I'm aware, none of them have explicitly threatened to pull out of the country but it would be interesting to know whether any threats like that were made behind the scenes, something that would have had a devastating impact on some communities.

It's understood that sixteen companies are in line for compensation.

A quick word on the changes to pensions which were outlined by the Chancellor.

We always say Wales has a higher proportion of older people than other parts of the UK.

Well, I decided to check the actual figures from the latest census and this is correct, with 18% of the population in Wales aged 65 and over, compared to 16% in England, 17% in Scotland and 15% in Northern Ireland.

So whatever the merits of today's announcements on pensions, it is fair to say they could have a bigger impact in Wales than anywhere else.