Economic Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd March 2000.

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Photo of Mrs Jackie Lawrence Mrs Jackie Lawrence Labour, Preseli Pembrokeshire 12:00 am, 22nd March 2000

What recent discussions he has had with the First Secretary about the impact of Government economic policy in Wales. [114267]

Photo of Paul Murphy Paul Murphy The Secretary of State for Wales

I meet the First Secretary regularly and discuss a range of issues. I welcome my hon. Friend back to the House and hope that she is now fit and well.

Photo of Mrs Jackie Lawrence Mrs Jackie Lawrence Labour, Preseli Pembrokeshire

I am sure that my right hon. Friend welcomes the investment in health and education that was announced in yesterday's Budget. Does he join me in welcoming the measures to assist small businesses in Wales, particularly the taxation measures? When he meets the First Secretary, will he urge him to waste no time in establishing a venture capital fund for Wales to help small business start-ups?

Photo of Paul Murphy Paul Murphy The Secretary of State for Wales

My hon. Friend is right to emphasise the help that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor has given small and medium-sized enterprises, of which there are 29,000 in Wales. In addition, the national health service in Wales will benefit by £1.3 billion over four years; £50 million will go to schools in Wales and £9 million to transport in Wales. Half a million Welsh pensioners and 335,000 Welsh families with children will benefit from the excellent Budget that my right hon. Friend announced to the House yesterday.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Conservative, Reigate

What contribution is made to the Welsh economy by the Welsh proportion of the 284 Labour councillors appointed to NHS trust boards?

Photo of Paul Murphy Paul Murphy The Secretary of State for Wales

I am not quite sure of the relevance of that question to the main question. Members of local authorities in Wales, from whichever political party, have made a significant contribution to the quality of life in Wales.