Construction of Barrage etc. and Other Works

Part of Orders of the Day — Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 20th October 1992.

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Photo of Mr Jon Owen Jones Mr Jon Owen Jones , Cardiff Central 8:45 pm, 20th October 1992

First, I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) for his thoughtful contribution in which he tried to set the Bill in the context of the whole Welsh economy. He largely moved away from the beggar-thy-neighbour approach which, unfortunately, I had been hearing. I also congratulate my hon. Friend on holding the Neath declaration in his constituency. I have already apologised for being unable to attend.

I make one criticism of my hon. Friend's approach in Neath and in his speech. I do not believe that it is possible to divorce the economies of Cardiff and Swansea from that of the valley hinterland from which they originally sprung and in which the work force is totally immersed. There must be a south Wales strategy for the economy and, unfortunately, the Government do not have one. It must involve Cardiff and Swansea as well as the valleys. As long as we allow the Government to set communities against one another in the sort of debate that we have been having until now, we are doing our home communities and our party no good. A few comments have been made about deprivation in the valleys compared with that in Cardiff, which, it has been implied, is a wealthy yuppy area—[Interruption.] That has been implied in a number of speeches.

The latest statistics published by the Library on 16 October this year show that, for the past two years, the highest unemployment rate in Wales has been in Cardiff—in Cardiff, West—the second highest has been in my constituency of Cardiff, Central and the fifth highest has been in Cardiff, South and Penarth.