asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a list of new industrial enterprises that have been established in the Blaenau Gwent, Cardiff and Shotton travel-to-work areas since March 1974, together with the number of jobs currently provided and the number anticipated when full production is reached.
As the answer to the Question involves much detail I have arranged for it to be included in the Official Report. In brief, a total of 23 manufacturing firms are known by my Department to have opened in the three years since March 1974. These presently employ 1,150 people and when fully manned promise 2,300 jobs. In addition, firms which have agreed to set up in these areas but have not yet done so promise a further 1,300 jobs..
Are not those figures ludicrously and absurdly inadequate to provide for the growing number of redundancies and the swelling total of unemployment? Is it not a fact that the only chance of providing the badly needed jobs resulting from the closure, for example, of Courtaulds is for the Government to reverse their policies, reduce taxation and allow private enterprise to get on with providing the jobs?
I welcome the efforts that have been made by my right hon. and learned friend in attracting, in difficult circumstances, industries to the Blaenau Gwent area. Some of us at least would like to give a warm welcome to the WDA's announcement that it will take over responsibility for developing the Rassau site. Had it not been for the efforts that the Government made to establish that agency, we should not have had this assistance.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his comments. The action of the WDA this morning was welcome in that it has announced its intentions. The House will be glad to know that it intends to develop an area in Rassau that will provide 100 acres for industrial purposes. This is a significant development, which I hope will be welcomed.
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman satisfied with the role of the task forces in these areas, especially in the Clwyd area? Does he believe that they have substantially contributed to finding a solution to these problems?
The task forces were set up by my predecessor some years ago and carried out surveys of needs at that time. The situation has changed since then. We have to ensure that our proposals match whatever needs arise in future.
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us why he refuses to publish detailed figures on individual projects but publishes them subsequently in the Economic Bulletin? Whether published or not, do not the figures reveal, against a background of 27,000 redundancies this year, that the impetus for creating new jobs in the steel areas has come to a standstill? Does he agree with the blunt verdict on this matter by Mr. Kirkwood of the Welsh Industrial Advisory Board in the report on the Industry Act 1972?
I shall look into the question of publishing or publication, but I fear that the hon. Gentleman drafted his supplementary question before he heard the good news of the action of the Welsh Development Agency this morning. That is a significant development that will allow for more than 1,000 jobs in the first phase and eventually 3,000 to 4,000 jobs.