HC Deb 08 May 1969 vol 783 cc635-6
10. Mr. Gwynfor Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what is the current employment activity rate in Wales and England, respectively.

The Minister of State, Department of Economic Affairs (Mr. T. W. Urwin)

As the information asked for is most conveniently shown in the form of a table, I have arranged for this table to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Gwynfor Evans

How does the hon. Gentleman explain the fact that, although unemployment in Wales runs constantly at about twice the English level despite heavy migration from Wales, there is a growing and appalling gap in activity rates as between Wales and England?

Mr. Urwin

One of the reasons for the lower activity rate in Wales is that there is a relatively high ratio there of self-employment in retailing, small family farms and service trades. Second, in industrial employment Wales has a relatively high dependence on coal mining and iron and steel making. Third, the general ratio of female employment is relatively low and this makes a larger differential between male and female activity rates in Wales compared with England.

Mr. Fred Evans

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Welsh people are well aware that without massive Government efforts the situation would be catastrophic and that it does no service to Wales when hon. Members try to draw distinctions which are false and based on pure political propaganda?

Mr. Urwin

I thank my hon. Friend for his comment. Government investment in Wales in the last completed year was £60 million, excluding grants for training.

The following is the information:

Employee Activity Rates Mid-1968
Per cent.
Wales England
Males 65.6 74.9
Females 30.1 40.5
Total 47.1 56.9


1. These provisional estimates are based on mid-1968 employment statistics and mid-1968 population estimates projected from the 1966 sample census of population. Mid-year 1966, 1967 and 1968 activity rate estimates will be published later this year.

2. These estimates are not precisely comparable with those given in reply to the hon. Member's Question of 12th March, 1969, since these were based on the 1961 Census of Population.—[Vol. 782, c. 309.]