Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th December 1972.

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Photo of Mr Brynmor John Mr Brynmor John , Pontypridd 12:00 am, 18th December 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will commission a study into the problems of long-term unemployment in Wales.

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

No Sir. Long-term unemployment is already the subject of close study and Government action in the form of a variety of types of assistance is already in train to solve the problems of unemployment generally.

Photo of Mr Brynmor John Mr Brynmor John , Pontypridd

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that since October 1971 such long-term unemployment has increased in Wales by 50 per cent., certainly in my constituency? Besides talking about the need for close attention, which the Secretary of State regularly trots out, will he say when will be the time for action?

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

I am concerned about the rise in long-term unemployment in Pontypridd. This has been largely due in the past year to the redundancies arising from economic difficulties which Government policies are now putting right. As at July of this year the proportion of long-term unemployed in the travel-to-work area as a whole was not significantly greater than the national average. The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that unemployment in the Pontypridd travel-to-work area has fallen from 6·9 per cent. to 5·3 per cent. over the past three months.

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris , Aberavon

Will the Secretary of State accept that the continued delay in making a definitive statement about the steel industry increases the fear of long-term unemployment in every Welsh steel community? Will he also confirm that the discussions at the highly publicised secret meeting of Ministers with Lord Melchett were based on the nationalisation plan put forward by the corporation, the Government having rejected the corporation's original proposals to produce 42 million tons of steel by 1980? How would a return to that figure affect the long-term unemployment in Wales?

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

I appreciate that we should not delay for too long in making an announcement about the Government's decision on the corporation's proposals. It is important to remove the uncertainties. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that the Government are anxious to reach a conclusion as soon as possible.