The transformation of the Welsh economy over recent years has left it well placed to weather the effects of the recession. All the indications are that the future prospects for the Welsh economy are very good indeed.
Is the Secretary of State aware that the recession is creating a terrible housing crisis in Wales? People come to my surgeries in tears. One young woman sleeps with her 14-month-old baby on the living room floor of her parents' home because there is nowhere else for her. In another case, two adults, four children and another couple—a total of eight people—live in a three-bedroomed house. Those problems could be solved at a stroke if the Secretary of State would release £500,000 from housing capital receipts funds in Wales and let councils build houses that are so desperately needed. Does the Secretary of State not care about those human tragedies?
To put the matter in perspective, the number of housing units built in Wales in the past 10 years has risen by 8 per cent., whereas the population has risen by just over 2 per cent. We are putting increased resources into housing. As the hon. Gentleman will know, Housing for Wales is now building a record number of homes and the prospects are very good.
Yes, and I was glad that my hon. Friend could he with me on that important occasion—a £48 million investment, promising a state-of-the-art factory and tremendous prospects for the future. Following that opening, the opening of Revlon at Maesteg last week, and the announcement about Northern Telecom, I am glad to announce today an industrial investment package of £28 million involving the planned creation of more than 814 new jobs. I am delighted to make that announcement, which comes as another tremendous boost for Wales.
May I remind the right hon. Gentleman that unemployment stands at 124,000 and is rising, and that last year 5,500 manufacturing jobs were lost in Wales? Does not the Chancellor's decision to scrap the National Economic Development Council call into question the whole future of the Secretary of State's planned Welsh economic council? Did the Chancellor consult the right hon. Gentleman before he made his statement?
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely wrong. Our plans for the Welsh economic council continue and we shall shortly issue a consultation paper. On unemploy-ment, the figures for the hon. Gentleman's constituency show that in July 1986, 4,274 people were unemployed; in June 1987, the figure had fallen to 3,689; in April 1992, it had fallen to 2,923; and last month, it fell again to 2,855. The prospects for his constituency and for Wales are very good.
I am delighted that my hon. Friend asks me that question, because we have seen a transformation of Wales in the past 10 years. The offers of regional assistance accepted by employers since 1979 are forecast to save more than 50,000 jobs in Wales and to create more than 100,000 new jobs. The transformation of Wales has secured its future.