Orders of the Day — Finance Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:08 pm on 30th April 2002.

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West 8:08 pm, 30th April 2002

The growth in different parts of the country is a matter of concern, and we need to ensure that we have regional policies to deal with that. I have no doubt, however, that the Government's overall macro- economic strategy is correct, or that the nationalists' policies would bankrupt Scotland and Wales. Indeed, the policies of Plaid Cymru, of which the hon. Gentleman has a detailed knowledge, are all to do with public subsidy and devaluation, and provide no answers as to how they would be paid for by the taxpayers of Wales.

As I was saying, unemployment is at its lowest for more than a generation—in Wales, as well as in the rest of the United Kingdom. In some parts of the country, the only unemployment that is left is frictional unemployment. There is hard-core, long-term unemployment in some parts of the country—let us be honest about that—and I am glad that the Chancellor referred to it in his statement, and that the Government are introducing measures, such as the step-up programme that is being piloted in my constituency, to deal with some of the hard-core, micro-level, supply-side problems of unemployment.