Assisted Areas

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29 March 1993.

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Photo of Mr Denzil Davies Mr Denzil Davies , Llanelli 12:00, 29 March 1993

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received on the need to provide full assisted area status for the Llanelli travel-to-work area.

Photo of Mr Wyn Roberts Mr Wyn Roberts , Conwy

We have received a number of representations about the Llanelli travel-to-work area. Some request that Llanelli be upgraded to development area status whereas others seek to maintain the status quo.

Photo of Mr Denzil Davies Mr Denzil Davies , Llanelli

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it was probably an error some years ago to reduce Llanelli's status to intermediate status? Is he aware—I am sure that he is—that we have high rates of unemployment and very low rates of economic activity, which are getting even lower? We are at the far end of the M4 corridor. South-west Wales, unlike Ireland, Spain Portugal and Greece, gets nothing out of the Maastricht treaty. Will the Secretary of State and the Government, therefore, make a decision soon to restore full assisted area status?

Photo of Mr Wyn Roberts Mr Wyn Roberts , Conwy

The right hon. Gentleman will know that all factors mentioned in the June consultative paper are being taken into account. We had to await the outcome of the coal review, and our proposals will of course have to be cleared by the European Commission. I am aware of some of the disadvantages of the Llanelli travel-to-work area, but I am glad to tell the right hon. Gentleman that unemployment also decreased in his constituency last month. We are improving the M4, and I am sure that he would be the first to agree that the completion of the Baglan to Lon-las section will help considerably in bringing inward investment to his constituency.