Is the Secretary of State aware that that is a very discouraging reply in view of his oversight responsibilities for this matter in Wales? Would he be good enough to tell the House now what criteria the Government require before they will extend special development area status to these districts of high unemployment? Is he aware that unemployment in my constituency is about 12 per cent. and that some additional incentives are required if there is to be any hope of industrial development in the future?
Yes. The criteria which we apply are the same as those which were applied by our predecessors. Special development area status is being given to those areas with a high number of employed as well as a high percentage of unemployment and where basic industries are declining. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry told the House on 17th January that a study of regional policy is continuing, and these matters are being taken into account.
No. I could not say. We have to take into account many factors. My right hon. Friend has told the House that this study is being made. Matters such as those which the right hon. Gentleman raised are being considered.
Will my right hon. and learned Friend intensify the consideration which I know he has already been giving to the problems of areas in Wales which are excluded from all assisted status?
Will the Secretary of State acknowledge that the phrase "a high number" is about as scientifically useful as the phrase "a large hole"? Will he tell us what "high number" is used as the criterion in deciding when special development area status should be granted? The answer he has given is of no help to any hon. Member.