Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
Last month, the figure was 107,300; in December 1992, it was 133,400. That represents a fall of 26,100, which I am sure will be warmly welcomed on both sides of the House.
Does my hon. Friend find it surprising that no Opposition Member has pointed out the fact that there has been a 20 per cent. reduction in the number of unemployed people in Wales since December 1992? What does he think would have happened to that figure if Britain had signed up to the social chapter or had introduced a national minimum wage? Is not ours the party that is reducing unemployment? Is it not the Labour party that would increase unemployment?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right—except in one respect: expressing surprise about what we hear from the Opposition. We know that the Opposition are comprised solely of merchants of doom and gloom, who would adopt every possible policy to ensure that such doom and gloom came to pass.
Is the Minister aware that 50 miners at Pentreclwydau pit, which is in my constituency, were made temporarily redundant this morning, because Ryan Mining claimed that it was not able to conclude an agreement with subcontractors because of the failure of the Coal Authority to progress the licensing arrangements speedily? Is he further aware that a whole series of other private mines in Wales, including some in Neath, have been forced to close because of the unsatisfactory licensing arrangements, which are being discussed with the Coal Authority? Will he investigate that matter as a matter of urgency and protect those jobs?
I am aware of the particular incident to which the hon. Gentleman refers. I am certainly generally aware of the matter, having met a delegation of small mine owners, including those from his constituency. I hope that progress can be made, particularly on the matter to which he refers.