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Cairns: Wales short changed on state aid regime

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"It would be discourteous of me not to respond to some of the points that the Minister has made about 'Wales: A Vibrant Economy', bearing in mind that he used a significant part of his speech to talk about it.

I should also add that I am disappointed that we have not had a statement on 'WAVE', but I think that it is fair to say that, at best, it has had a stuttering start.

The people involved in the drafting to get it to this stage have expressed concern to me about the number of times that they have had to rewrite it and the times it has had to be referred back to the various bodies and groups, the economic development advisory board and so on. It has been delayed.

It would have been unfair to the Business Minister to spring something on this on her, because she may well have scheduled time for such a debate several times over and had to pull it because, clearly, the Minister is not in control of this document.

'WAVE' needs to recognise the widening wealth gap between Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom. We now have the widest wealth gap since records began. The Minister seems to be clutching at almost any good news.

There was some good news in the recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, however, when you look at the business start-up rates and so on, the figures are different.

He has obviously taken a lot of credit for the figures in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and I look forward to seeing the next data set, in view of the weight that the Minister has put on that measure.

On the substantive issues, the motion calls on us to note the actions of the Welsh Assembly Government. I am sure that all opposition parties are prepared to note the actions. On the negotiations that the UK Government is engaged in, we need to recognise that the UK Government will need to act in the interest of the United Kingdom, but, of course, we have a particular interest here in Wales.

The timing of the negotiations and the settlement of these issues is extremely important to Wales. It has already been said that, at the moment, west Wales and the Valleys would qualify as an 87(3)(a) area. However, the danger is that we could become a statistical effect area.

That could be the case, but, on the other hand, bearing in mind the way that the Welsh Assembly Government has performed in recent times, and given this widening wealth gap, we may qualify as an 87(3)(a) area, even when it is delayed, because of the administration's poor performance.

Timing is a key factor; we must press the Assembly Government on that, and it needs to press the UK Government, because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. If I were in the Minister's shoes, I would approach it from that perspective.

The purpose of the amendment tabled in the name of David Melding is to react and respond to a statement that the First Minister made at the time of this debate four or more years ago, in response to a question from David Melding.

He raised the concern that, under the assisted areas map, Lisvane was included but Barry was excluded. At the time, the First Minister's response was that we should be praising the opportunity that Lisvane would now have to attract industry with grants, rather than focusing on the fact that Barry would not have that opportunity.

This is now an opportunity to revisit that and to support those communities that will not automatically be included. We have commonly referred to it as 'pepperpotting' in the past, but it is looking after those deprived communities that are not in the area of west Wales and the Valleys.

It is disappointing that the Minister has said that he will reject this amendment. There are communities in Flintshire and Wrexham, places in Cardiff, such as Ely and Caerau, places in the Vale of Glamorgan, such as Buttrills, Castleland, Court and Gibbonsdown, and places, again in Cardiff, such as Whitchurch and Tongwynlais, which are either Communities First areas or areas that have the highest level of priority in the Welsh index of multiple deprivation.

For any Labour backbencher to vote against the amendment, particularly when it is seeking to provide additional support to those deprived communities that are not adjacent, is staggering. It is seeking to enhance the support to these communities precisely because of the excuses that the First Minister offered some four years ago.

The amendment is a positive amendment, and I am extremely disappointed at the arrogance the Minister has shown in rejecting the provision of additional support to these Communities First wards and wards identified in the Welsh index of multiple deprivation. Those are the people that you are supposed to help and support.

We are providing a constructive amendment to assist in doing that, and you are throwing it back in our faces."

"Buaswn yn anghwrtais pe na bawn yn ymateb i rai o'r pwyntiau a wnaed gan y Gweinidog ynghylch 'Cymru: Economi yn Ffynnu', o gofio iddo ddefnyddio rhan helaeth o'i araith i sôn amdani.

Dylwn nodi hefyd fy mod yn siomedig nad ydym wedi cael datganiad am 'WAVE', ond credaf ei fod yn deg dweud mai dechrau simsan a gafodd ar y gorau. Mae'r bobl sy'n ymwneud â'r gwaith o'i drafftio er mwyn cyrraedd y cam hwn wedi mynegi pryder imi ynghylch y nifer o weithiau y bu'n rhaid iddynt ei hailysgrifennu a'r adegau y bu'n rhaid ei chyfeirio yn ôl at yr amrywiol gyrff a grwpiau, y bwrdd ymgynghorol datblygu economaidd ac ati.

Cafwyd oedi. Byddai wedi bod yn annheg imi holi'r Trefnydd yn annisgwyl ar y pwnc hwn, oherwydd mae'n eithaf posibl ei bod wedi trefnu amser ar gyfer dadl o'r fath ar sawl achlysur a'i bod wedi gorfod ei thynnu yn ôl, oherwydd, mae'n amlwg, nad yw'r ddogfen hon o dan reolaeth y Gweinidog.

Mae angen i 'WAVE' gydnabod y bwlch cyfoeth sy'n ehangu rhwng Cymru a gweddill y Deyrnas Unedig. Bellach mae gennym y bwlch cyfoeth mwyaf ers dechrau cofnodion.

Ymddengys fod y Gweinidog yn ymbalfalu am unrhyw newyddion da. Yr oedd rhywfaint o newyddion da yn y Global Entrepreneurship Monitor diweddar, fodd bynnag, pan fyddwch yn edrych ar y cyfraddau dechrau busnes ac ati, mae'r ffigurau yn wahanol.

Mae'n amlwg ei fod wedi cymryd llawer o glod am y ffigurau yn y Global Entrepreneurship Monitor ac edrychaf ymlaen at weld y gyfres ddata nesaf yng ngoleuni'r pwysigrwydd y mae'r Gweinidog wedi'i briodoli i'r mesur hwnnw.

O ran y materion sylweddol, mae'r cynnig yn galw arnom i nodi camau Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru. Yr wyf yn siwr bod pob gwrthblaid yn barod i nodi'r camau. O ran negodiadau Llywodraeth y DU, mae'n rhaid inni gydnabod y bydd angen i Lywodraeth y DU weithredu er budd y DU, ond, wrth gwrs, mae buddiant penodol gennym yma yng Nghymru.

Mae amseru'r negodiadau a setlo'r materion hyn yn eithriadol o bwysig i Gymru. Dywedwyd eisoes y byddai gorllewin Cymru a'r Cymoedd yn gymwys fel ardal 87(3)(a) ar hyn o bryd.

Fodd bynnag, mae perygl y gallem fod yn ardal effaith ystadegol. Gallai hynny fod yn wir, ond ar y llaw arall, gan gofio'r modd y mae Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru wedi perfformio'n ddiweddar, ac o gofio'r bwlch cyfoeth hwn sy'n ehangu, gallem fod yn gymwys fel ardal 87(3)(a), hyd yn oed gyda'r oedi, oherwydd perfformiad gwael y weinyddiaeth.

Mae amseru yn ffactor allweddol; mae'n rhaid inni bwyso ar Lywodraeth y Cynulliad ar hynny, ac mae angen iddi hithau bwyso ar Lywodraeth y DU: gwell aderyn mewn llaw na dau mewn llwyn. Pe bawn i yn esgidiau'r Gweinidog, buaswn yn ymdrin â'r peth o'r safbwynt hwnnw.

Diben y gwelliant a gyflwynwyd yn enw David Melding yw ymateb i ddatganiad a wnaed gan y Prif Weinidog ar adeg y ddadl hon bedair neu fwy o flynyddoedd yn ôl, mewn ymateb i gwestiwn gan David Melding. Mynegodd y pryder i Lys-faen gael ei chynnwys o dan fap yr ardaloedd a gynorthwyir, ond nad oedd y Barri wedi'i chynnwys.

Ar y pryd, ymateb y Prif Weinidog oedd y dylem fod yn canmol y cyfle a fyddai gan Lys-faen bellach i ddenu diwydiant gyda grantiau, yn hytrach na chanolbwyntio ar y ffaith na fyddai'r Barri yn cael y cyfle hwnnw.

Mae hyn bellach yn gyfle i ailedrych ar hynny a chynorthwyo'r cymunedau hynny na chânt eu cynnwys yn awtomatig. Yr ydym wedi cyfeirio at hyn fel arfer fel 'gwasgaru cymorth' yn y gorffennol, ond golyga edrych ar ôl y cymunedau difreintiedig hynny nad ydynt yn ardal gorllewin Cymru a'r Cymoedd.

Mae'n siomedig i'r Gweinidog ddweud y bydd yn gwrthod y gwelliant hwn. Mae cymunedau yn Sir y Fflint a Wrecsam, lleoedd yng Nghaerdydd fel Trelái a Chaerau, lleoedd ym Mro Morgannwg fel Buttrills, Castleland, Court a Gibbonsdown a lleoedd, unwaith eto yng Nghaerdydd, fel yr Eglwys Newydd a Thongwynlais, sydd naill ai'n ardaloedd Cymunedau yn Gyntaf neu'n ardaloedd o'r lefel uchaf o flaenoriaeth ar fynegai amddifadedd lluosog Cymru.

Mae'n anhygoel y byddai unrhyw aelod Llafur o'r meinciau cefn yn pleidleisio yn erbyn y gwelliant, yn enwedig pan fo'n ceisio darparu cymorth ychwanegol i'r cymunedau difreintiedig hyn nad ydynt yn cyd-ffinio. Mae'n ceisio gwella'r cymorth i'r cymunedau hyn yn uniongyrchol oherwydd yr esgusodion a gynigiwyd gan y Prif Weinidog ryw bedair blynedd yn ôl.

Mae'r gwelliant yn welliant cadarnhaol ac yr wyf yn hynod siomedig â thrahaustra'r Gweinidog wrth wrthod darpariaeth cymorth ychwanegol i'r wardiau Cymunedau yn Gyntaf hyn a'r wardiau a nodwyd ym mynegai amddifadedd lluosog Cymru.

Rhain yw'r bobl y dylech fod yn eu cynorthwyo a'u cefnogi. Yr ydym yn cynnig gwelliant adeiladol i gynorthwyo hynny ac yr ydych yn ei daflu yn ôl i'n hwynebau."

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