DURING a visit to Pembrokeshire earlier this week, Sajid Javid, the Chancellor of the Exchequer sat down with the Western Telegraph to answer questions about the end of austerity, when Pembrokeshire might feel the benefits and past comments by the Prime Minister.

Mr Javid has been the chancellor of the exchequer since July, taking control of the treasury and setting out the budget for the United Kingdom.

Asked if austerity was over, Mr Javid assured that it was, but work was still needed.

“Yes, but for us to keep investing in our great public services we need to keep the economy strong and that’s one of the great dividing points in this election,” he said.

Mr Javid said the country was faced with a question of “getting Brexit done”, he said: “We need to end that uncertainty too, to keep the economy strong.

“We can keep prioritising businesses so that they can keep generating the wealth that we want to then plough back into our public services.”

Mr Javid said that he thought a Labour government would keep the Brexit uncertainty and claimed the country would see the “most anti-business, anti-enterprise party in power in Britain that will destroy businesses”.

Asked how long it will take for Pembrokeshire and the rest of Wales to see the benefit of the end of austerity, Mr Javid claimed it was already being felt.

“I think Pembrokeshire is actually already seeing the benefit.

“Already, because the hard work of the British people over the last nine years and having a Conservative government we have managed to bring public finances under control.

“We have managed to have a country that is creating jobs at a record rate, including here in Pembrokeshire.”

Mr Javid added that nationally we have the lowest unemployment rate in 44 years with 150,000 jobs created in Wales, which he said “didn’t happen by accident” but accepted that more needed to be done – pointing to fibre broadband.

“We want to do more, we want to see much more infrastructure investment, I’ve set out how we can have an infrastructure revolution.

“Here in Pembrokeshire, we want to see better broadband connections throughout, having fibre optic connections for every home and business.

“That’s why we’ve set aside £5 billion to cover the more rural areas.

“We want to get rid of not-spots in terms of mobile – something that Pembrokeshire has suffered from.”

He also said he wanted to see better investment in roads, but said in Wales they had to work with the Welsh Assembly to manage that, who he accused of “letting down local people.”

He said: “You’ve got a Welsh Labour Government that is letting down local people, by instead of investing in the priorities of boosting the economy or public services that matter most to people it is spending it on its pet projects.”

However, he did not clarify what projects he meant.

“You could dual A-roads and get rid of some of the blockages and make sure you get goods to market much more quickly.”

Mr Javid gave the example of those he met in Newport, who had complained about the failure to invest in the M4 relief road, despite him giving the funding capacity to the Welsh Government.

Mr Javid then moved onto the NHS in Wales, pointing out that NHS gets allocated more per head than England does.

He said: “And yet its spending less on local people on the NHS because the Welsh Government has decided to put it into its pet projects.

“I think hospitals like Withybush, they’re not getting the funding they need from the Welsh Government and we want to change that.”

Asked if the UK government could put more money into Wales that could be used for the NHS, Mr Javid said: “I would like to see the Welsh Government investing more in what I see are the people’s priorities which includes the NHS, it includes investing in schools.

“They have the funding because as we are increasing it in England, they are getting funding alongside that.

“So when I had the spending round in September the funding increases that took place in England, Wales has got a very generous share of that. And that’s right, Wales should always be getting its share of increases in funding.”

Mr Javid again stressed that improvements required working with the Welsh government, pointing to the Welsh educational rankings, which he called a “real let down of Welsh school children”.

Asked if the Conservatives would consider reclaiming devolved powers, Mr Javid was adamant that was not the case.

“No, we won’t,” he said. “The Welsh Assembly is an institution that will be responsible for many things and stay that way.

“The way to ‘fix’ the Welsh Assembly is to have a Conservative Assembly. It’s the leadership that’s the problem, not the powers themselves.”

Defending Boris Johnson’s past comments comparing Muslim women to letterboxes, calling black people “piccaninnies with watermelon smiles” and homosexuals ‘bum boys’, Mr Javid said the PM is “respectful”.

He said: “I have known Boris Johnson for a number of years now and worked with him in cabinet for a number of years. I have to say he’s one of the most welcoming, respectful people of British people of all backgrounds that I’ve ever met. He really does celebrate the diversity of what is modern Britain.”

Mr Javid pointed to one of Mr Johnson’s first acts as PM was to appoint “one of the most diverse cabinets this country has ever seen - that reflects his values.”

Asked if Mr Johnson’s words and actions were separate, Mr Javid said: “No, I’m saying that actually in terms of his words, I’m saying his words are often taken completely out of context and twisted by his opponents just for pure political gain.

“Some of the words you have referred to there about Muslim women, he was defending the rights of Muslim women to wear what they please. It was a liberal defence of Muslim women.”

Mr Javid accepted that people could take issue with the choice of words, saying that was up to them, but said Mr Johnson has “championed people of all backgrounds”.

Mr Javid promised that the Conservatives will hold an inquiry into Islamophobia in the party before the end of the year.