Mr. David Jones (Clwyd, West) (Con): Given that recently published figures show that economic inactivity in Wales is worse than in any other part of the UK, that three Welsh local authority areas are among the five poorest in the country, and that Wales has the highest rate of severe child poverty of all the home nations, what did the Secretary of State have in mind when he boasted last week that “Wales is still a wealthy country”? Complacent or what?
Mr. Hain: Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that, compared with Rwanda and most countries in the rest of the world—this is the point that I was making, if he had not chosen to take that quotation out of context—Wales is indeed still a wealthy country? Yes, we have suffered setbacks in the past few years, but we suffered terrible setbacks in the ’80s and ’90s. One of the reasons why we are in a strong position is that we have moved forward with investment to support businesses and the economy. That is one of the reasons why the number on incapacity benefit in Wales has come down by more than a fifth, when under the Conservatives it rose year on year.
All I can say is: Wales deserves better than Peter Hain.