§ 11. Mr. Gwynfor Evans
asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs in view of the estimate in "The Task 637 Ahead" that the reduction of regional disparities will be least in Wales, what plans he has to improve the Welsh economic prospects.
§ Mr. Gwynfor Evans
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the only English regions comparable with Wales in this invidious situation is the North-East but that although the situation in Wales is actually far worse than in the North-East of England, about twice as much money has been spent on incentives to industry to go to the North-East as has been spent in Wales for the same purpose?
§ Mr. Urwin
I do not accept what the hon. Gentleman has said. I remind him that, in addition to the amount of money to which I have just referred as being invested last year, Government effort to diversify industry in Wales to get away from Welsh dependence on declining industries has resulted in over 100 new firms going there since 1964 and in the expansion of over 600. Even more interesting is that expansion in manufacturing industry was two and a half times greater in Wales in 1968 than in Britain as a whole.
§ Mr. Roy Hughes
With regard to the Welsh economic prospects, does my hon. Friend appreciate that his right hon. Friend's announcement on 24th April concerning the grey areas was well received in those affected parts of South-East Wales? Will he now give the House an assurance that he will take early steps to implement these proposals?