Employment

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th March 1973.

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Photo of Mr Elystan Morgan Mr Elystan Morgan , Cardiganshire 12:00 am, 19th March 1973

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will request the Welsh Council to make a detailed calculation of the number of new jobs for men needed in Wales by 1980 in order to maintain the present level of male employment in Wales.

Photo of Mr Elystan Morgan Mr Elystan Morgan , Cardiganshire

Does the Secretary of State agree that it would be better if he were to rely upon an intelligent survey rather than upon the intuition which he normally favours in these matters? Will he be candid with the House and admit that by 1980 the minimum number of new male jobs needed is likely to be of the order of 80,000 and that the present Government policies have no hope of meeting a quarter of this demand?

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

I certainly do not accept those figures. The reason why I said I should not ask the Welsh Council to make a survey is that it is just not possible for anyone to give a firm prediction about job changes, whether they be losses or jobs in prospect. They depend on a large number of factors and are subject to great uncertainty. The hon. Gentleman should realise that if he looks at "Wales: The Way Ahead" he will see how far the predictions came right in that publication.

Photo of Sir Anthony Meyer Sir Anthony Meyer , Flintshire West

Is it not a fact that under the previous Government there was a very large loss of job opportunities in Wales, particularly in the coalmining industry?

An Hon. Member: They have not finished yet.

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

I think it is right to say that there were 65,000 fewer male jobs in Wales at the end of the last administration's term of office than at the beginning.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that what is destroying the projections of "Wales: The Way Ahead" are the incompetent policies of the present Government?

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

The right hon. Gentleman will find that the predictions in "Wales: The Way Ahead" were wildly out in June 1970. What are important are things like our policy for expansion and regional development which provide the long-term answer. Recent trends in unemployment are encouraging. Increased interest in Wales by industrialists shows that our policies are taking effect.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I acknowledge that the Secretary of State is an expert at excuses and at seeking always to put blame on the previous administration. Is he not aware that Professor Rees has already undertaken a survey such as my hon. Friend the Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan) asked him to undertake? Professor Rees indicates that 49,000 male jobs will be required and that the figure which my hon. Friend gave is therefore realistic. Why will not the Secretary of State undertake a survey so that he may plan intelligently?

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Hendon South

I have mentioned "Wales: The Way Ahead", and another good example of how planning ahead is not all that rewarding is the National Plan. The only sure way to create new jobs is to have an expanding economy and sound regional policies. That is what we are achieving, as the recent unemployment figures show. The seasonally adjusted rate in Wales is the lowest for two years.