Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales

Debate between Lord Harries of Pentregarth and Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Wednesday 17th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Portrait Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist (Con)
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My noble friend makes some good points. We do not know how much money has been spent on this commission, but it is a large commission and one can only assume that it has been a priority for the Welsh Government—I am not sure that the people of Wales have the same priority. I note that, in a recent poll in WalesOnline, in October—just before the spending review—of the top 10 concerns of the Welsh people, nine were in devolved areas. The last one was that the UK Government were not giving enough money to Wales—and I think we convincingly negated that argument in the spending review. However, one of the concerns was on infrastructure, and roads in particular. It is still disappointing that the Welsh Government will not allow the M4 relief road around Newport, which would unblock a lot of the problems in south Wales.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB)
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I would like to press the Minister on the question of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson. I am sure that she would agree that the relationship between the four nations of the United Kingdom and the London Government is not fixed and final—in recent years, there has been an indication of unease about that. Does she agree that this is a real opportunity for the Government to contribute to this commission, not just on a quick, politically orientated, ad hoc basis that has been cobbled together but with some serious, long-term thinking?

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Portrait Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist (Con)
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There is a wonderful expression about Wales: it is a land of commissions, conventions and panels. Obviously, we will contribute seriously to this review, if asked to do so, but I recall from the Dunlop review that no intergovernmental review machinery is capable of resolving fundamentally different political objectives. But it is realistic to expect serviceable and resilient relationships, and that is what we should all be striving to achieve.

Covid-19: Supply Chains

Debate between Lord Harries of Pentregarth and Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Monday 22nd June 2020

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage companies to protect those in their supply chains from the effects of Covid-19.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Portrait Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist (Con)
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The Government are working around the clock to protect our people and businesses. BEIS is engaging with UK industry and suppliers to ensure that we support all our sectors during and after the Covid-19 crisis. The Government have put in place an unprecedented package of support. Internationally, the UK is responding bilaterally to support companies and supply chains through financial and advisory support.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB) [V]
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I thank the Minister for her reply. As she will know, migrant workers making garments and other goods for the western market are a particularly vulnerable group. Most have lost their jobs, many have not been paid for months and millions have been on the road, walking without any money in their pockets to their home villages. Will the Government ensure that, if they offer financial assistance to companies, those companies fulfil all their legal obligations to the workers in their supply chains and, if at all possible, go beyond that to support this most vulnerable group of people?

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Portrait Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
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The noble and right reverend Lord is correct that garment workers from countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, India and Myanmar have had major difficulties since UK retailers cancelled their orders. Following a joint Department for International Trade and DfID ministerial meeting with CEOs from the UK garment industry, we are setting up a multi-stakeholder working group for government, retailers and NGOs. In Bangladesh, for example, DfID has been able to support about 1,000 factories and their workers through its “Better Jobs in Bangladesh” programme, enabling them to return safely to work when their factories reopen.