HC Deb 26 May 1966 vol 729 cc697-8
10. Mr. E. Rowlands

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate has been made of redundancies expected in South Wales during the next five years; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. George Thomas

Although it is subject to a wide margin of error, it has been estimated that, if the expanding industries do not grow faster than in recent years, the excess of labour supply over demand in South Wales could increase by some 30,000 by 1971. The Government are, of course, stimulating faster growth to prevent any such increase, and I am glad to say that industry is finding South Wales an attractive location.

Mr. Rowlands

Is the Minister fully satisfied that the programme to encourage industry in South Wales will be sufficient to meet the needs of this very large number of redundant men who will come out in the next five years?

Mr. Thomas

I certainly hope so. The Government are going all out to ensure that the gifts of the Welsh people are fully used and that full employment is the lot of our people.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

We shall, of course, welcome faster growth and productivity in Wales, and we shall welcome it when we see it in South Wales. Why is it possible for the Minister to give these figures today when it was totally impossible in the National Plan to give figures regarding Welsh redundancies?

Mr. Thomas

I have given figures which have been reached by the Employment and Industry Panel. They are the mean of its estimates. I have tried to help the House by giving a clear picture. I am confident that we shall see substantial growth in South Wales.