Debates between Ruth Jones and Kevin Foster

There have been 4 exchanges between Ruth Jones and Kevin Foster

1 Tue 8th October 2019 Tata Steelworks: Newport
Wales Office
3 interactions (537 words)
2 Wed 4th September 2019 Universal Credit
Wales Office
6 interactions (224 words)
3 Wed 15th May 2019 Devolution: Welfare
Wales Office
5 interactions (332 words)
4 Wed 15th May 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
5 interactions (332 words)

Tata Steelworks: Newport
Debate between Ruth Jones and Kevin Foster
Tuesday 8th October 2019

(9 months ago)

Westminster Hall
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Wales Office
Kevin Foster Portrait Kevin Foster - Hansard
8 Oct 2019, 4:21 p.m.

We are more than happy to meet. Obviously we cannot guarantee that a third party would wish to be involved in those meetings, but certainly from the perspective of the Government and the Wales Office, we would be more than happy to arrange a meeting with the unions and Syndex to see how their plan could be taken further. The key part has to be whether it can provide a long-term sustainable future, and we note that the plant has been for sale for two years with no purchaser having come forward. Certainly, UK Government Ministers are more than happy to meet interested parties to discuss what we could do.

In the context of the wider steel industry, the Government have made up to £800 million of funding available to support decarbonisation and innovation in the industry. We remain committed to supporting the Welsh steel sector in accessing this funding and ensuring that it is able to compete with the best in the world. Recent and ongoing work to support the steel sector includes establishing the £250 million clean steel fund, which was announced in August and will support the sector’s transition to lower-carbon iron and steel production through new technologies and processes. It will also maximise longevity and resilience in the UK steel sector by building on longstanding expertise and skills and harnessing clean growth opportunities.

Our industrial energy transformation fund is a £315 million fund supporting short-term projects in both energy efficiency and decarbonisation for businesses with high energy use. The fund will help businesses with high energy use, including steel companies, to cut their bills and transition UK industry to a low carbon future.

The industrial decarbonisation challenge is a £170 million fund aimed at the UK’s industrial carbon emissions clusters. South Wales has been identified as one of six clusters in the UK that will benefit from that fund, which supports our grand challenge mission to develop a net zero emissions cluster by 2040 through the development of innovative low- carbon solutions. It will provide long-term support to the industry, ensuring Britain’s long term sustainable future.

Ruth Jones Portrait Ruth Jones - Hansard
8 Oct 2019, 4:22 p.m.

The Minister is making some laudable points about laudable plans for the future of the steel industry, but does he not agree that closing the only electrical steel plant in the UK makes absolutely no sense in terms of future planning? That is not joined-up thinking at all.

Kevin Foster Portrait Kevin Foster - Hansard
8 Oct 2019, 4:23 p.m.

This is a commercial decision by the company and the plant has been for sale for two years, but as I have already said, we are more than happy to meet stakeholders to see if the Government can provide some support. That support would have to be based on a sustainable long-term business plan for the future.

We are also providing up to £66 million through the industrial strategy challenge fund to help steel and other foundation industries develop radical new technologies and establish innovation centres of excellence in those sectors. This challenge will create a pilot facility to demonstrate new technologies, and develop a cross-sectoral approach for research, innovation and skills. To date, the UK Government have provided more than £312 million in compensation to the steel sector since 2013 to make energy costs more competitive, including over £53 million during 2018.

Universal Credit
Debate between Ruth Jones and Kevin Foster
Wednesday 4th September 2019

(10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Wales Office
Ruth Jones Portrait Ruth Jones (Newport West) (Lab) - Hansard

8. What assessment he has made of the economic effect on low-income families of the roll-out of universal credit in Wales. [912231]

Kevin Foster Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Kevin Foster) - Hansard
4 Sep 2019, midnight

People claiming universal credit move into work faster, stay in work longer and spend more time looking to increase their earnings. The latest labour market statistics show the positive impact of universal credit, with unemployment in Wales down 10,000 on the previous quarter.

Break in Debate

Kevin Foster Portrait Kevin Foster - Hansard
4 Sep 2019, midnight

We are always having discussions across Government about how we can improve the experience for universal credit claimants. It is possible already in certain circumstances for rent to be paid directly, but part of universal credit is ensuring that benefits mimic more the experience of being in a job and encouraging people to find one.

Ruth Jones Portrait Ruth Jones - Hansard

Does the Minister agree that, thanks to the changes that his Government have introduced this year, couples forced to transfer from pension credit to universal credit will lose up to £7,000 each and every year? What is he doing to mitigate that personal economic disaster for those couples all across Wales?

Kevin Foster Portrait Kevin Foster - Hansard
4 Sep 2019, 11:44 a.m.

I must say that I do not recognise the figures the hon. Lady has just given, but I would say that the introduction of universal credit has ended the 16-hour cliff edge that many families faced and the introduction of the national living wage has helped boost the incomes of many across Wales.

Devolution: Welfare
Debate between Ruth Jones and Kevin Foster
Wednesday 15th May 2019

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Wales Office
Kevin Foster Portrait Kevin Foster - Parliament Live - Hansard

As always, my hon. Friend is right to say that it is time that the SNP-run Government in Holyrood focused more on the job of actually governing than on trying to build constitutional grievances. Yes, it is right that the DWP continues to work with all stakeholders across our United Kingdom to ensure that we provide the support that is needed as part of our welfare system.

Ruth Jones Portrait Ruth Jones (Newport West) (Lab) - Hansard

7. What recent assessment the Government have made of trends in the level of pension credit take-up in Wales. [910823]

Kevin Foster Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Kevin Foster) - Parliament Live - Hansard
15 May 2019, 11:58 a.m.

I start by welcoming the hon. Lady to her seat and to her first Wales questions. I am sure that she will be as strong an advocate for her constituents as her predecessor, who was a much valued Member of this place.

The Government are committed to ensuring economic security for people at every stage of their life, including when they reach retirement. There were more than 100,000 claimants in Wales in receipt of pension credit in August 2018.

Ruth Jones Portrait Ruth Jones - Hansard

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has found that £170 million of pension credit went unclaimed in 2016-17. This is a massive amount of money that could make a real difference to some of the poorest people in Wales. We know that pensioners in Wales are not taking up pension credit, but how are the Government monitoring this to note any recognisable trends, and what are they doing to ensure that pensioners in Wales receive the money that is rightfully theirs?

Kevin Foster Portrait Kevin Foster - Hansard
15 May 2019, noon

I would be concerned to hear of any person not getting the support that this Parliament has voted for them to have. We are engaging with people who may be eligible for these benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they claim state pension or report a change in their circumstances. We are also looking to work with stakeholders such as Independent Age and Age UK to discuss pension credit take-up across Great Britain. I encourage Members of Parliament to play a role in their constituencies.

Oral Answers to Questions
Debate between Ruth Jones and Kevin Foster
Wednesday 15th May 2019

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Kevin Foster Portrait Kevin Foster - Parliament Live - Hansard

As always, my hon. Friend is right to say that it is time that the SNP-run Government in Holyrood focused more on the job of actually governing than on trying to build constitutional grievances. Yes, it is right that the DWP continues to work with all stakeholders across our United Kingdom to ensure that we provide the support that is needed as part of our welfare system.

Ruth Jones Portrait Ruth Jones (Newport West) (Lab) - Hansard

7. What recent assessment the Government have made of trends in the level of pension credit take-up in Wales. [910823]

Kevin Foster Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Kevin Foster) - Hansard
15 May 2019, 11:58 a.m.

I start by welcoming the hon. Lady to her seat and to her first Wales questions. I am sure that she will be as strong an advocate for her constituents as her predecessor, who was a much valued Member of this place.

The Government are committed to ensuring economic security for people at every stage of their life, including when they reach retirement. There were more than 100,000 claimants in Wales in receipt of pension credit in August 2018.

Ruth Jones Portrait Ruth Jones - Hansard

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has found that £170 million of pension credit went unclaimed in 2016-17. This is a massive amount of money that could make a real difference to some of the poorest people in Wales. We know that pensioners in Wales are not taking up pension credit, but how are the Government monitoring this to note any recognisable trends, and what are they doing to ensure that pensioners in Wales receive the money that is rightfully theirs?

Kevin Foster Portrait Kevin Foster - Hansard
15 May 2019, noon

I would be concerned to hear of any person not getting the support that this Parliament has voted for them to have. We are engaging with people who may be eligible for these benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they claim state pension or report a change in their circumstances. We are also looking to work with stakeholders such as Independent Age and Age UK to discuss pension credit take-up across Great Britain. I encourage Members of Parliament to play a role in their constituencies.