HC Deb 24 June 1965 vol 714 cc1918-20
9. Mr. J. Idwal Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what subjects the Council for Wales has been asked to examine and report upon this year.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

I understand that the Council hopes to submit two reports to my right hon. Friend fairly soon, one on road development and the other on forestry. A third report, dealing with the provision made for the arts in Wales, is also expected to be ready this year. These subjects were selected for examination by the Council, as indeed it has discretion to do.

Mr. Jones

Would it be a good idea to have an examination of the structure of technical education in Wales and to have a report by the Council for Wales?

Mr. Roberts

It will not be possible to ask the Council to undertake any further studies, since the Council has handed over its economic and technical work to the new Welsh Economic Council. It is now being considered whether another advisory council may be necessary to take over the Council's cultural work. In that sense I am afraid that I must say "No" to my hon. Friend's suggestion.

Mr. McBride

Can my hon. Friend say whether, in that report, there is any reference to the possibility of the construction of a clearway from the North-West into South Wales? I believe that this would lead to fuller use being made of the South Wales ports.

Mr. Roberts

I am sure that all the relevant factors which might contribute towards a solution of the problem of road communications are being studied by the Council, but I will look into the specific point which my hon. Friend has raised.

Mr. Hooson

Has the Council for Wales been asked to consider industrial relations, especially with regard to the use of the Welsh language in industry and particularly with regard to the recent incident in Blaenau Festiniog? Has it been asked to report on that matter? Will it be asked to consider the position in the future?

Mr. Roberts

The Council for Wales has not been asked to consider that point, but I understand the hon. Member's interest and anxiety about it—which all Welsh Members share.

14. Lady Megan Lloyd George

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will now make a statement about the future of the Council for Wales.

Mr. James Griffiths

The completion of its present studies will bring to an end the Council's distinguished work over many years. Its work in the economic field will be taken over by the new Welsh Economic Council and when I have studied the report which the Council for Wales will be making on the provision for the arts in Wales, I shall consider what body would be appropriate to carry on the work in this field.

Lady Megan Lloyd George

As the Council obviously, therefore, will be dissolved in due course, will my right hon. Friend consider an all-Wales body which would be more representative than the Welsh Economic Council?

Mr. Griffiths

This is a matter, of course, of local government reorganisation. As my hon. Friend knows, this is something which is now receiving our attention.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Some of us will regret that the Council is coming to the end of its time. In view of the great work which it has done and the good advice which it has given to a number of Ministers and Governments over the years, could we take this opportunity of placing on record our good thanks and gratitude for what it has done?

Mr. Griffiths

I share the hon. Member's view. I met the Council for Wales in order that I could personally offer not only my own thanks but the thanks of the whole House for the work which it has been doing over the years.

Mr. T. W. Jones

Could we also put on record that the previous Government never adopted any suggestions of the Council?

Forward to