Defence Industry

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

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Labour, Rhondda 11:30 am, 21st March 2007

How many jobs in Wales he estimates depend on the defence industry.

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

Around 6,000 people are employed either directly by the Ministry of Defence or as a result of MOD direct equipment and non-equipment expenditure in Wales. Figures for indirect employment are not available.

Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Labour, Rhondda

Wales may represent only 4.5 per cent. of the British population, but we provide 9 per cent. of the British armed forces. In addition to the figures that the Secretary of State announced just now, we will get another 5,500 jobs in St. Athan, thanks to the new contract that we have just won for Wales. Should not we in Wales be proud of our contribution to the British armed forces, rather than try to get them thrown out of their bases in Wales, as some people in Plaid Cymru would like?

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

I completely agree with my hon. Friend. The St. Athan project, and all the defence investment in Wales that is of such benefit to jobs and the Welsh economy, comes as a result of the strong partnership between Westminster and Wales, between our Labour Government here and the Welsh Assembly Government in Cardiff Bay. It is as a result of that partnership that we will continue to build a strong Welsh economy, unlike Plaid Cymru's president, who wants all Army activity and defence investment, including training, removed from Wales.