New Enterprises

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 1:39 pm on 18 February 1998.

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Photo of Mr Dafydd Wigley Mr Dafydd Wigley Leader and Party President, Plaid Cymru 1:39, 18 February 1998

If he will make a statement on his Department's strategy to help generate new enterprises; and what plans he has to provide resources to match the proposed reduction in resources being provided by the training and enterprise councils in Wales for local enterprise agencies. [28406]

Photo of Mr Ron Davies Mr Ron Davies Secretary of State, Welsh Office

I am anxious to encourage the formation of more good-quality enterprises. A range of exciting and innovative programmes are under way in Wales. Through the business connect scheme in particular, we shall support enterprise with skills training, mentoring and advisory assistance. The Welsh Office will shortly be contracting with the TECs for the management of the new programme and it will be for them to determine local delivery arrangements with relevant organisations, including the local enterprise agencies.

Photo of Mr Dafydd Wigley Mr Dafydd Wigley Leader and Party President, Plaid Cymru

Is the Secretary of State aware that the development of new enterprises in north-west Wales is being emasculated by the cuts in resources for CELTEC? That £4 million pound cut will result in Antur Menai, the enterprise agency in my constituency that has developed more than 100 new enterprises, having its money halved; and in valuable schemes such as the training for enterprise business course, the local initiative fund and enterprise allowance being scrapped. Is that the way in which we are going to get necessary new jobs, or is it the price that we have to pay for the money that is going into the profligate LG project in Newport?

Photo of Mr Ron Davies Mr Ron Davies Secretary of State, Welsh Office

I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman should want to take issue with the creation of about 6,000 jobs in south Wales. I can assure him that it is my desire to ensure that we have economic prosperity in all parts of Wales, including his constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn). I am aware of the funding difficulties of the North Wales TEC and the problems to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, but the budget of the TEC has not yet been finalised. When it has been finalised, it will be for the TEC to enter into arrangements with local enterprise agencies.

I should point out that, this week, we launched the new deal in Wales and that about £200 million will be available both for the creation of job and training opportunities for young people and to those who wish to start up their own enterprise. That is part of the package, and I assure the right hon. Gentleman that I, and the Government as a whole, are committed to getting economic prosperity throughout Wales.