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Non-standard Working Hours

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th May 1993.

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Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West 12:00 am, 17th May 1993

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of the employed Welsh work force are working non-standard hours.

Photo of Mr David Hunt Mr David Hunt , Wirral West

There is no single or standard agreed definition of "standard" hours, but the 1991 census shows that 21 per cent. of Welsh residents in employment worked fewer than 31 hours a week.

Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West

That figure renders as complete fiction the Secretary of State's claim that he has increased the number of jobs in Wales, because tens of thousands of people in the Welsh work force are counted twice and sometimes three times. Did the Secretary of State notice that in the recent elections, the Conservative party managed to secure only 32 county councillors out of a possible 500 in Wales? That makes the present Secretary of State about as popular as Ceausescu in Romania in December 1990. Will not the Secretary of State confess that there has been no Welsh recovery but that a reasonably paid, highly skilled work force has been turned into a low-wage, low-skill sweat shop?

Photo of Mr David Hunt Mr David Hunt , Wirral West

I heard no expressions of approval following the hon. Gentleman's remarks, which were pretty disgraceful. Any Opposition Member who says that there has been no recovery in Wales and expects to be taken seriously is living in cloud cuckoo land.

I am pleased to announce that, in the past financial year, 190 offers of regional selective assistance have been accepted by companies for projects in Wales worth £73 million, involving investment of £470 million and 12,500 jobs. I can also announce new projects totalling more than £15 million, involving eight companies setting up, modernising or expanding operations in Wales. They plan to create 425 new jobs and to safeguard 156 existing jobs. The hon. Gentleman must be the only Member of Parliament who does not recognise that the Welsh dragon is breathing fire into the United Kingdom recovery.