Royal Naval Armaments Depot Llangennech

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of Adam Price Adam Price Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government; Constitutional Affairs; Culture, Media and Sport; Defence) 11:30 am, 21st March 2007

What discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the closure of Royal Naval Armaments Depot Llangennech.

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues, including defence matters.

Photo of Adam Price Adam Price Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government; Constitutional Affairs; Culture, Media and Sport; Defence)

Can the Secretary of State explain why, when central Government Departments such as the Ministry of Defence—or, indeed, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and the Treasury—cut jobs, they cut them in places like Carmarthenshire or Pembrokeshire, which need them most, whereas when they create jobs they create them outside the convergence fund region, in the places that need them least? Is it not about time that the Government had a policy for west Wales, and indeed for all Wales, so that jobs can be created throughout the nation?

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

I agree that we should be creating jobs throughout the nation, and in fact we are doing so. As the hon. Gentleman will know, in west Wales and the valleys—he represents a valleys constituency, as I do—unemployment has fallen and more jobs have been created. The Llangennech example is part of a restructuring of the Ministry of Defence, and we are working with all concerned. My hon. Friend Nia Griffith has visited the site, and the local Assembly Member, Catherine Thomas, is involved with the unions and work force.

I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's analysis. What would really hit jobs in Wales would be any chance of Plaid Cymru's bankrupt economic policies holding sway there.

Photo of Nia Griffith Nia Griffith Labour, Llanelli

MOD Llangennech—locally known as the RN—has been an integral part of the community for several generations. What assurance can my right hon. Friend give that if the MOD leaves Llangennech and the site is disposed of, full consideration will be given to making part of it a community facility, as well as providing the maximum possible support for those who may lose their jobs after many years of loyal service?

Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, The Secretary of State for Wales

As I said earlier, my hon. Friend has been extremely active in defending the aspirations of the local community. I know that she will take the matter up with the Defence Minister responsible for such matters, and we in the Wales Office will be sure to support her in her objective.