"Golden year for Great Britain" - Secretary of State for Wales

David Jones MP
David Jones MP has described 2012 as a "golden year" for Great Britain Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The Secretary of State for Wales David Jones has described 2012 as a "golden year for Great Britain".

In his New Year message to the people of Wales he begins by reflecting on the success of the Olympic and Paralympic games.

"There is no doubt that, in many ways, 2012 was a golden year for Great Britain. The achievements of our Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes at the London 2012 Games have inspired a generation, and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations captured the imaginations of audiences around the world. This summer, we took full advantage of the opportunity to showcase the very best of Britain on a global platform."

– David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales

But, the MP for Clwyd West also goes on to acknowledge the economic challenges faced by the UK Government over the past 12 months and the need for more collaborative working between Westminster and the Welsh Government

When I was appointed Secretary of State for Wales, I made it clear that the Wales Office would have a focus on economic growth, and that we would foster a better relationship with the Welsh Government to deliver growth for Wales.

"2012 saw a major development as it was agreed in principle that the Welsh Government should have access to capital borrowing powers. We also saw the publication of the Commission on Devolution in Wales's report recommending the devolution of certain fiscal powers to Wales. The UK Government is currently considering these recommendations with a view to responding formally in the spring of 2013.

"Wales needs its two Governments to work together, and in 2013 one of my priorities will continue to be to strengthen still further the relations between Westminster and Cardiff Bay, for the benefit of the people of Wales. They expect and deserve nothing less, and I look forward to working closely with the First Minister to deliver prosperity and opportunity over the next 12 months.

– David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales

His New Year address also underlines his commitment to strengthen both infrastructure and business in Wales.

In July this year, we announced our commitment to electrify the rail network from Cardiff to Swansea and the South Wales Valleys. This will bring environmental benefits, faster journeys, more capacity and support economic regeneration and jobs growth in South Wales. With Wales set to benefit directly and indirectly from almost £2billion from the programme to modernise the rail network it is the most significant infrastructure announcement for Wales for decades.

"Access to superfast broadband is also a critical stimulus to economic growth. This year, we saw Cardiff and Newport achieve access to the super-connected cities funding needed to improve its digital infrastructure.

"I also made it clear that securing a future for nuclear generation on Anglesey was my number one ambition, and I was therefore delighted to welcome Hitachi's commitment to invest in new nuclear in Wylfa B. The site will play a major role in securing the nation's energy supplies and will be a key driver of economic growth, bringing between 5,000 and 6,000 construction jobs to North Wales, as well as up to 1,000 well paid, high quality employment opportunities once the site is operational. Hitachi has also stated that around 60% of the value of the plant at Wylfa is expected to be sourced from within the UK. Early next year I hope to visit Hitachi in Japan to discuss other plans further.

"There are significant grounds to believe that Wales's prospects will improve significantly over the next 12 months. However, there are still some important milestones to reach.

– David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales