The seasonally adjusted numbers of unemployed claimants in Wales at May 1979 and January 1988 were 73,100 and 137,700 respectively, which I am pleased to say has decreased by 21 per cent. over the past 20 months.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Alyn and Deeside district council is experiencing problems in obtaining control over the site of the redundant Connah's Quay power station? Does the right hon. Gentleman know that it is estimated that £50 million would be needed to recommission this redundant power station? Is he aware that the fixed costs of staying connected to the grid would be prohibitive? Does he agree that this site is very important for my council for economic and social reasons? Will he help that district council?
Is it not an advantage that people in Wales are now employed in a wide variety of industry, whereas some years ago they were employed in two or three major industries which were susceptible to a very large decline in manpower?
Yes. I believe that the two main industries concerned — coal and steel — are in a position of considerable strength for the future. The decline in manpower in those industries is certainly coming to an end. That will greatly strengthen future trends in the Welsh economy.
As the hon. Gentleman knows, there has been an enormous decline in the numbers employed in the coal and steel industries. I am glad to say that the figures that I have given show an enormous increase in employment during the past 20 months. That trend is continuing. With the capital investment programme of the WDA and the present inward investment, I hope that that trend will continue.