HC Deb 31 January 1972 vol 830 cc18-9
23. Mr. McBride

asked the Secretary of State for Wales to what extent he has estimated the future industrialisation needs of Wales.

Mr. Peter Thomas

The need to expand the industrial base of Wales is self-evident

Mr. McBride

That answer is a spit in the face to the people of Wales. Is the Secretary of State aware that the short-term industrial needs of Wales require an intensive boost in terms of the attraction of industry to Wales to absorb 56,000 jobless? Is he further aware that we on this side of the House, and the people of Wales, look to him to put this matter before the Cabinet at long last, and that we want his assurance that he will do so? Lastly, could I emphasise the seriousness of the situation in Wales by saying that in the great city of Swansea six people are chasing every vacancy? What a commentary on his Government's policy!

Mr. Thomas

The Question asks me to estimate the future industrialisation needs of Wales. I did not intend my answer in any way to be a spit in the face, as the hon. Gentleman described it, to anybody. A forecasting exercise is unnecessary since there is no doubt that the need for new industry in Wales will continue for a long time to come.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

If the Secretary of State is confident that growth in Wales is imminent as a result of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement some months ago, will he now announce the erection of some advance factories in areas of high unemployment in Wales, such as my own, which is badly in need of industrial expansion? If he has all this confidence which he has implied today, why does he not do something about it?

Mr. Thomas

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I have made many announcements about advance factories in Wales —[HON. MEMBERS: "When?"]—I made an announcement about advance factories last year. The question of advance factories is, strictly, a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.