HC Deb 02 May 1968 vol 763 cc1257-9
4. Mr. Tudor Watkins

asked the Secretary of States for Wales whether he will now state the names of the persons who are to serve on the new Council for Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. George Thomas

I am circulating the names and the terms of reference in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The Council will hold its first meeting in Cardiff on Monday, 13th May. I hope to attend. The House will, I am sure, want to wish this new Council success in its efforts to serve the Welsh people.

Mr. Watkins

I join my right hon. Friend in wishing the Council every success, but can he assure us that in matter like the closure of the Mid-Wales line, there will be a special panel on this Council to consider it, as is now required in any future railway closures?

Mr. Thomas

The organisation of the Council's work is a matter for the Council, but when my hon. Friend considers its terms of reference, he will see that his hopes are almost certain to be fulfilled.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we on this side welcome the Government's decision to get rid of the Welsh Economic Council, of which he was Chairman and with which we disagreed? We wish the new Council very well. Can he assure us that there will be adequate industrial representation, particularly with regard to employment prospects, and that its proceedings will be made public?

Mr. Thomas

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will be satisfied that the Council is widely representative of Welsh life, including industry. I can give no assurances this afternoon about its proceedings being public. Also, I should like to pay my tribute to the Welsh Economic Council for the hard and faithful work its members performed on behalf of Wales.

Mr. E. Rowlands

Would my right hon. Friend pursue the matter of the Council sitting in public, which is very important? Will the working papers and reports of the Council be available to hon. Members?

Mr. Thomas

All this had better await my discussions with the Chairman of the Welsh Council. I can give no assurance today about its deliberations being public.

Mr. James Griffiths

Since the Welsh Economic Council was set up at the same time as those for Scotland and the English regions, can my right hon. Friend assure us that the functions hitherto performed by that Council will now be completely vested in the new Welsh Council?

Mr. Thomas

This Council will have even broader powers than the Welsh Economic Council.

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