Labour Statistics

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th February 1988.

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Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones , Alyn and Deeside 12:00 am, 29th February 1988

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the number of unemployed in Wales at the latest date; what it was in May 1979; and what is the total and percentage increase.

Photo of Mr Peter Walker Mr Peter Walker , Worcester

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.

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones , Alyn and Deeside

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?

Photo of Mr Peter Walker Mr Peter Walker , Worcester

That is a matter for the commercial judgment of the CEGB. I understand that the board will judge all proposals on their merits, given its statutory duties. I cannot interfere with those statutory duties.

Photo of Sir Raymond Gower Sir Raymond Gower , Vale of Glamorgan

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?

Photo of Mr Peter Walker Mr Peter Walker , Worcester

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.

Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths , Bridgend

As the Secretary of State had to shout previously, will he tell us exactly when unemployment in Wales will be below the figures for 1979? It has been on a downward trend for a long time.

Photo of Mr Peter Walker Mr Peter Walker , Worcester

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.