HC Deb 18 December 1972 vol 848 cc898-9
12. Mr. Ifor Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what progress has been made in the completion of the Cwmgorse advance factory in the Pontardawe district of the Gower constituency; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Thomas

I understand that negotiations for the allocation of this factory are at an advanced stage. I am hopeful of a successful outcome in the very near future.

Mr. Davies

I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that helpful reply. Is he aware that the people of the area will receive this hopeful note with sonic satisfaction? They are people who have had more than their fair share of the social consequences of pit closures. Is he also aware that this could be a breakthrough from an employment point of view for this inland community and that it justifies the policy consistently advocated from the Opposition side of the House in favour of advance factories and investment grants? In view of the likely success of the negotiations, will the Secretary of State consider a further advance factory for this special development district, in accordance with the terms of the rolling programme for mining communities?

Mr. Thomas

I certainly appreciate the importance to the area of an allocation of the factory to suitable industrialists. I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman for his efforts to secure a tenant for the factory. As to a further advance factory, I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry will keep it in mind.

21. Mr. Goronwy Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what liaison there is between his Department and others in the effort to secure a tenant for the Government-built factory at Penygroes, Caernarvonshire which has been empty for more than two years.

Mr. Peter Thomas

My Department has maintained the closest contact with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Mr. Roberts

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that is a most disappointing answer? Is he further aware that there is deep and increasing concern in Caernarvonshire about the continuing inability of the Welsh Office and related Departments to attract a suitable tenant for this factory, particularly in view of the excellent facilities which it has and the high class of local labour available? Is he aware of certain recent suggestions made locally about the possibility of using this factory to produce equipment and fittings for the proposed hydro-electric scheme at Dinorwic? Has any attention been given to this proposal by the Caernarvonshire County Council?

Mr. Thomas

I would certainly agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is extremely disappointing that a suitable tenant has not been found for this excellent factory. As he knows the Government have spent a considerable amount of money recently in modernising the factory. They have drawn it to the attention of industrialists, through the Department of Trade and Industry, on all suitable occasions. I am satisfied that every effort is being made to find a tenant for this factory. The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate the difficulties. I believe that the Caernarvonshire County Council proposes to send a deputation to discuss its suggestion with the Central Electricity Generating Board.