§ 4.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Speaker
Before calling on the right hon. Member to move the Motion I would inform the House that I have selected the Amendment in the name of the Prime Minister and other right hon. Members.
§ Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)
I beg to move,That this House, noting with concern that the economic policies of Her Majesty's Government are directly responsible for a massive increase in unemployment in Wales, for a catastrophic fall in the number of Welsh jobs in prospect, for a serious decline in the number of new industries going to Wales, and for the closure of existing industries in the Principality, condemns the Prime Minister for the gross betrayal of his 1970 pledge to introduce effective regional development policies to bring prosperity to every part of our country.That is a strongly worded Motion but the background to this debate is the fact that Wales is now suffering its worst recession since the cruel 1930s. Not a Welsh valley or village has escaped unscathed from the horror of mounting unemployment. From Caernarvon to Cardiff, from Milford to Monmouth there comes a chorus of cries for help so that the crushing burden of unemployment might he relieved.
In less than two years the Government have brought Wales to her knees. Our task today is to take the measure of the Welsh economic anxieties; secondly to search out the cause of our troubles; and, thirdly, to seek a remedy. Since the Prime Minister and his colleagues took office in June, 1970, Wales has known nothing but trouble. Registered unemployment has increased by 67 per cent. since the party opposite took control. Every week closures and further redundancies are announced. Redundancies appear as regularly as our daily newspapers. We can sum up our position in the words of an article which appeared in The Times 1675 on 2nd March by Mansel Jones, industrial correspondent of the Western Mail. He said:Interest in possible fresh investment in Wales has also been at its lowest for more than 20 years.He went on:The past 12 to 18 months, however, have see a partial undoing of the position"—achieved while we were in office—with only the strongest and the fittest being able to withstand making redundancies, curtailing investment plans or, in many cases, effecting a complete closure of Welsh factories.Every age group in Wales has been clobbered in the growth of unemployment. There are now 50 per cent. of our people within the age bracket of 40 and upwards unemployed. Some 35 per cent. of the unemployed are in the age group 20 to 40, and 15 per cent. are under 20. The facts are that when the Secretary of State took office there were 33,000 unemployed in Wales and we were rightly disturbed by that. Today there are over 56,000 people registered wholly unemployed—an increase of 23,000—of whom 14,400 are males. In our development areas the percentage of unemployed is 6.;3 per cent.; in our special development areas the figure is 7 per cent.
Welsh youth is suffering severely. There has been an increase of 130 per cent. in unemployment among juveniles in Wales since the party opposite took over responsibility for Government. In June, 1970, 1,805 young people were registered as wholly unemployed; in January of this year there were 4,222—an increase of 2,417.
Another special category in Wales that is always on our conscience is the disabled. The Secretary of State knows that we have a higher than average proportion of disabled persons. There are 7,330 registered disabled unemployed in the Principality. On 25th March last year the Government announced that they were providing 340 extra places in sheltered workshops for the disabled unemployed. We expect the right hon. and learned Gentleman to give us more encouraging news about what plans the Government have, in particular for our registered disabled.
In order that the House shall have a fair picture of the state of Wales after 1676 nearly two years of Conservative Government I propose to give some more figures dealing with the rates of male unemployment. Two years ago Swansea was one of our most prosperous cities, standing on the threshold of an era of great expansion. Today Swansea has 7 per cent. of its men signing the unemployment register. The City of Cardiff, the capital——
§ Mr. Alan Williams (Swansea, West)
Before my right hon. Friend leaves Swansea, would he make it clear to the House that in the period during which he and his right hon. colleagues were in office the story of Swansea was a story of improvements and additions to employment? Since the Conservative Government have come to office we have lost job after job, factory after factory.
§ Mr. Thomas
My hon. Friend has drawn the attention of the House to a matter that affects a good many places in the Principality of Wales. Swansea, thanks to direct Government intervention in the direction and dispersal of Government offices to Swansea, was poised for a great era. Now it shares with Cardiff, the capital of Wales, a situation in which 7 per cent. of its menfolk are signing the unemployment register.
In other parts of South Wales, Chepstow and Monmouth, the prosperous parts, 8.7 per cent. of the men in the town of Monmouth are unemployed. In Pontypool and Cwmbran nearby, 9.4 per cent. of the men are unemployed. We know from redundancies forecast that there is more trouble on the way for this part of the Principality. The constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Fred Evans) has 12 per cent. of its menfolk unemployed, wanting to work and denied the opportunity. Merthyr Tydfil, where they lost over 3,000 jobs last year, has over 10 per cent. male unemployment.
So we come to mid-Wales and there is the same sorry story. Barmouth 10.3 per cent.; Blaenau Festiniog 12.6 per cent.; Cardigan—the constituency of my hon. Friend (Mr. Elystan Morgan) who, if he catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will be replying for us at the end of the day—9.1 per cent; Lampeter and Llandyssil 12.1 per cent. The sorry story goes right through Wales.
1677 When we get to North Wales, Anglesey has 13 per cent. of its menfolk unemployed; Caernarvon, Bangor, Bethesda and Penygroes—well known to the right hon. and learned Gentleman—have 14.9 per cent. of their menfolk unemployed; Portmadoc and Pwllheli have 13 per cent.; and in the right hon. and learned Gentleman's former constituency, Conway, 9.2 per cent. of the men are unemployed. Even Wrexham, which was bursting at the seams two years ago, now has over 9 per cent. of its menfolk unemployed.
That is not the end of our misery. The flow of new industries coming into Wales has been reduced to a trickle and those that were brought in under the investment grant scheme are closing down. This has been a record year for bankruptcies in Wales. The number of unfilled vacancies available for our people has fallen catastrophically. In June of 1970 there were nearly 10,000 unfilled vacancies, with 33,000 people out of work. In 1972 there is a bare 5,000 unfilled vacancies, with 56,000 unemployed.
When we last debated the economic affairs of Wales on 10th June last year, just nine months ago, we bemoaned the fact that in Wales eight men were chasing every job that was available. In the intervening period the position has deteriorated. Today 12 men chase every job that is available. The Secretary of State for Wales blandly told us nine months ago that Wales was weathering the storm better than Scotland. A storm is an act of God, and clearly nothing to do with the Government. There is nothing more infuriating for the Welsh people than to meet with such smugness and to be told that the Scots are worse off than they are. It is like telling a man who has lost an arm that he should not feel sorry for himself because someone else has lost two arms. That is not the sort of philosophy that we expect from people with a sense of responsibility.
Under this Administration there has been a disastrous reduction in the number of new industries coming to Wales. We measure it by the granting of industrial development certificates. In 1968, 179 I.D.C.s were granted; in 1969, 203; in 1970, 166—most of them in the first part of the year; in 1971, 83—a reduction of 50 per cent. compared with the previous year, which in itself was a 25 per cent. reduction on the year before. But 1678 in order that the picture shall be complete we need to examine the additional employment estimated to arise out of the new industrial approvals in Wales. In 1968, 16,510; in 1969, 16,790; in 1970, 14,650; in 1971, 5,610.
So we see that the Government's economic policy is one long catalogue of failure in Wales. But their alibi is as unchanging as the peak of Mount Snowdon. They blame the last Government, they blame high wages, they blame an act of God; they blame everyone and everything rather than take the responsibility themselves. To give credit where credit is due, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State excel in promises and excuses, but mere excuses solve no problems. We know that to find the cure for the terrible position in which Welsh men and women find themselves today we have to search for the cause. It is a commonplace that what we call the regions, the development areas, all suffer most when the general economy slumps, although it is not equally true to say that when the economy is booming the development areas boom. It just is not true; history proves that. To get the economy in general moving we need the full resources of the regions. Areas such as Wales, Scotland and the North-East will always require special assistance. Like other areas of the country, we have our share of technological unemployment, the unemployment caused by the technical changes in industry through which higher productivity is possible with less manpower. But our indictment of the Government is that their policy aggravates that problem.
When the Government changed their policy of regional assistance from a system of investment grants to tax allowances and free depreciation without an economic assessment and solely for obsessional doctrinaire reasons and because Labour had pursued the other policy, they started a landslide. Investment grants brought to Wales the very industries that are now cushioning us from the worst effects. They brought Borg Warner to Port Talbot, Parke Davis to Pontypool, Rio Tinto to Holyhead, the expansion of B.P. Chemicals at Baglan Bay. A long list could be given of the industries that have protected us from complete disaster since the Government took over.
1679 The experts are warning the Government that they should go back to investment grants. Professor Glyn Davies, the Professor of Banking and Finance at the University of Wales, Institute of Science and Technology, writing last October in the Scotsman said:The present Government should admit forthwith that the change from investment grants to tax allowances has in current circumstances been demonstrably wrong and should therefore revert immediately to investment grants. Loss of face is less important than loss of jobs.When the change to tax allowances took place, both public and private sectors of industry in the development areas reacted immediately. Expansion plans were rejected overnight, and footloose industry suddenly became cemented where it was. The nationalised industries, our major employers in Wales, all had to revise their development plans. History has never seen a more sudden change in industrial activity in Wales. The Welsh C.B.I. and the T.U.C. appealed in vain to the Government to have second thoughts.
The report of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research urges the Government to use the Budget to remedy their mistakes. This is what I call a cultured condemnation. It is put in polite language and appears in The Times today:Present policies are probably (but by no means certainly) sufficient to stabilise employment levels for a while; they do not seem at all likely to bring about a substantial reduction in unemployment.That is not the condemnation of the political opponents of the present Administration; it is the condemnation of an independent body which deals with any Government in power and gives impartial advice.
The National Westminster Bank "Quarterly Review" for February of this year is also very severe on the Government:If the Government wish to reduce unemployment significantly they must increase the level of investment in these regions. Recent changes have not only reduced investment returns but have also significantly reduced the comparative advantage of the development areas.That is a very serious charge.The Government should consider whether such results are desirable.1680 At the end of last month the C.B.I. issued a report making recommendations to the Government for a change in their economic policy. Everyone concerned with the well being of this country is disturbed at the way we are going. The C.B.I. called for a regional development commission thus indicating its alarm. The T.U.C. put this proposal to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry last August and was told that it was being considered. When the representatives of the T.U.C. are at Downing Street today they will reiterate the plea they made a year ago for the Government to plan for a greater growth in the economy. Had the T.U.C. been listened to a year ago, we might have saved measureless misery for workers who now find themselves unemployed.
Even the Bank of England has today made its own cautious contribution to public concern about our sick economy. The Bank of England offers a crumb of comfort to the Government in detecting signs that the economy is buoyant. Things must look different in Threadneedle Street from the way they look in Merthyr, Tonypandy and Caernarvon.
One of the most significant and useful reports on the Welsh economy that has come forward in recent years has been produced by the Welsh Council, which was originally set up by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. The Welsh Council has done a very useful job of work. When I carried responsibility I found that it gave impartial advice. The Council is forthright in its appeal to the Government. It echoes the plea of the T.U.C. and advises the Government to go for a 6 per cent. growth in the economy over the next two years. It is significant that the Report of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research today recommends that the Government should go for a growth target of 5 per cent. The recommendations of those two bodies are very close to each other.
The Report of the Welsh Council is a major indictment of the Government's policy in Wales. It is an indication that the Government have failed to measure correctly the problems that concern them. I want to know what are the reactions of the Government to the recommendation about economic growth. This is of major importance to our people.
1681 The Welsh Council recommends that public corporation investment policy should not be determined solely by the concept of productivity or return on capital employed. This sort of advice is a breakthrough. The reports says in its recommendation (c):Public corporation investment policy should not be determined solely by the concept of productivity or return on capital employed … because of the significant dependence of private sector industry and the social fabric and infrastructure on the policy of these corporations.I hope that the Secretary of State, who has had this report in his hands for longer than the rest of us, will give us his considered views upon that.
The Welsh Council points out that, as income per head in Wales is only 85 per cent. of that in the rest of the United Kingdom, the high prices unleashed by the Government have a much worse effect in the Principality, and recommends a material upward revision of social security benefits throughout the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, this means that we would get greater help because we are more dependent in present conditions on social benefits. The Council also recognised that regional employment premiums should be retained. We introduced them and they were to last until 1974. The Government have leapt at that and said that they would come to an end in 1974. In view of the further appeal by the Welsh Council that encouragement shall be given to industrialists to come to Wales by the guarantee of the continuation of regional employment premiums, I hope that the Secretary of State will tell us where he stands on that matter.
Above all, I was interested to find that the Welsh Council says that a strong body of opinion within the Council is in favour of differential investment grants and that the present system is not an adequate replacement. The Council asks for the policy of dispersal of Government offices to be pursued more vigorously. During the Labour Government 11,000 jobs were created in Wales by the dispersal of Government factories. I want the Secretary of State to tell us what plans he has in our present emergency for sending to Wales more Government offices and how many jobs he expects to create within the next two years.
1682 This Report of the Welsh Council asks the Government—I acknowledge it—to reverse their policy and to stand on their heads. That is not an unreasonable request to make to this Government. It is a posture to which they have become accustomed. Today the Government announced another case of standing on their heads. Anything except standing on their own feet. Today there is the announcement about food subsidies, and there was the reversal of policy over Clydeside and the nationalisation of Rolls-Royce. There is their changed attitude about public expenditure, a complete turnabout. If they can do so in those matters, in view of the plight of Wales, we have the right to say to them, "It is time you faced facts and changed your policy there as well".
The Prime Minister, in his personal message to the country in 1970 introducing "A Better Tomorrow"—I can think of a better phrase—and indicating the sort of Government we could expect from him, said:Finally, once a decision is made, once a policy is established, the Prime Minister and his colleagues should have the courage to stick to it.That has gone through the window a long time ago. I hope that the things they want to stick by are not those which are damaging the Principality.
At the election, they promised us:a country which makes the fullest use of all its human and material resources to build a new prosperity.There never was greater humbug than that sentence. Promises which won them the 1970 election will cost them the next election. They also told us that:Under a Conservative Government, the gap between the politician's promise and Government performance will be closed so that people and government can be brought together again in one nation united in a common purpose—a better tomorrow.It must have been a joke. The trouble is that it is so hard to tell when this Prime Minister is joking and when he is not. He has devalued the politician's promise. He has gone back on the solemn promises he made. I believe that behind the camouflage of his honesty and integrity which is continually advertised by the party opposite he has played a cheap confidence trick on the British people.
1683 This Government have landed us in just over 18 months with a million unemployed in the country, and in Wales the highest unemployment since the 1930s, with no prospect that 1972 is going to see us back even to where we were two years ago. The fact that the jobs are not in the pipeline means that even if they could hold their own now without any more unemployment coming it would take four years to get hack to where we were when they took office.
In his recent ministerial broadcast, the Prime Minister talked piously about the British way of life. That has a different meaning in Methyr from the meaning in Bournemouth. It is different for the pensioner than for the yachtsman. The British way of life may mean everything or nothing; it all depends on who you are and what you have in your pocket. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister said very little about the Conservative way of life, but it is the Conservative way of life about which we complain. It is that which is giving us winter all the year round, from John o'Groats to Land's End, or, to keep to the subject of the debate, from North Wales to South Wales.
The whole country suffers and there are icy blasts for the working people. The Government have damaged Wales enough, but the remedial measures which they recite to us so often and which they have proposed so far are merely tinkering with our problems. They have enlarged the number of special development areas. What we want is an enlargement of the number of mobile factories. We want an increase in the number of jobs. All that the right hon. Gentleman did by enlarging the number of special development areas was to make it harder for those that were already special development areas. The improved operational grants, the new intermediate areas, the infrastructure expenditure which is proposed—all this is tinkering with the biggest problem that has faced any Minister concerned with the Welsh people.
Because of that I believe that we are right in this Motion to condemn the Prime Minister, who carries major responsibility, for the gross betrayal of the 1970 pledge to introduce effective regional development policies to bring prosperity to every part of our country.
1684 They have brought us disaster. It is high time that the Secretary of State for Wales realised his own personal responsibility in this. The right hon. Gentleman spoke as though he was a detached observer of our problems in the Principality. If he were more involved with the life of Wales, he would know that today the name "Conservative" stinks throughout the Principality.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Thomas)
I beg to move to leave out from 'House' to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:'concerned with the level of unemployment in Wales, approves the substantial measures Her Majesty's Government are taking to stimulate long-term economic growth, and is confident that the policies of Her Majesty's Government will lead to an increase in general prosperity which will benefit the Principality '.Recently in the Welsh Grand Committee we debated the coal and steel industry in Wales and, in the context of the miners' strike and the steel review, I then felt and said that the choice of topic was ill-timed. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. George Thomas) spoke on that occasion, he failed to see the problem in context or to put it in perspective. This afternoon, though I reject the right hon. Gentleman's Motion, I have no reservations about the choice of subject. What we are considering is unquestionably the most serious problem facing us in Wales today.
I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on a powerful and extremely well-delivered speech. Nevertheless, I hope he will understand that I have reservations about the way in which he sees the problem. Therefore, I will try to set the matter in context and to give it an accurate perspective.
Unemployment is an economic problem but it is also a human problem. They are problems which the present Government are firmly committed to solve. I know that we as a Government will be acquitted of any charge of ignoring the human, social and economic waste which unemployment entails. I am sure that there is no difference between the two sides of the House on that point. The differences between us are about how best to create the conditions of economic expansion which alone can bring down unemployment.
1685 I have no doubt that much more will be said in this debate about the measures taken by the Government during our 20 months in office. I have no doubt that we shall hear more from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite about the further things that should be done.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to some suggestions made in the report of the Welsh Council. Before I consider these issues of policy, I believe it would be helpful to look at the nature and underlying causes of the present problem. Indeed, I thought for a moment that the right hon. Gentleman was going to do that since he began his speech by saying that he wished to do so. Therefore, the superficial terms of the motion make it all the more important that we should consider the situation objectively.
The pattern of unemployment in Wales moves broadly in line with trends elsewhere in the country, although there have been some encouraging variants of the pattern from the Welsh point of view. I am sure we all agree that the economy of the Principality is so closely integrated with that of other parts of the United Kingdom that obviously we cannot expect to isolate ourselves from what happens in the south-east of England, the Midlands and elsewhere.
I am sure it will be agreed that regional policies alone, no matter how effectively devised and executed they may be, cannot by themselves bring prosperity to Wales unless the national economy is buoyant and investment on the upturn. The right hon. Gentleman, by implication, accepted that in his speech. The undoubted fact is that the national economy was almost stagnant for years before this Government took office.
The right hon. Gentleman said that the T.U.C. was seeing the Prime Minister this afternoon and would urge on him plans for greater growth in economy. That may be so, and today all people are urging growth on the Government. But during the six years when Labour were in power, the economy grew by only 15 per cent. or 2.4 per cent. per annum. In the last two years of Labour administration the growth rate was not more than 2 per cent. a year. These are the facts and a heavy price has been paid in the last 20 months for the policies which brought about those years of 1686 stagnation. Wales, in common with other parts of the country, has had to pay that price and those policies have had to be reversed.
It is an historical fact over several decades that unemployment in Wales has been higher than in the country as a whole. I appreciate that in the past I have said that Wales has been weathering the storm better than many people feared. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman does not feel I am being smug about the situation. I am not.
It is worth recalling that we have fared better in the economic difficulties of the last few years than have some other parts of the country. Whereas in 1966 the Welsh share of Great Britain's unemployment was 8.8 per cent., it was 6.7 per cent. in early 1970 and by the end of 1971 it was down to 5.8 per cent. I accept the criticism that is made of that sort of remark, since it is saying no more than that the Principality's experience in recent years has been somewhat less unfavourable than that of other regions. This can be regarded as being of some help. Yet whatever the relative position, it remains true that the current level of unemployment in Wales is high mainly because the national economy has been weak.
To understand the present position in Wales, we must look at the underlying regions for this weakness in the United Kingdom economy. I repeat that the factors principally involved had their origins in the policies of the Labour Government. They can be summed up as stagnation, inflation and a thoroughly unfavourable investment climate. There was a dismal record of economic growth in the five years leading up to 1970. In particular after 1966 there was insufficient economic growth to provide for all those affected by what was then termed the "shake out".
The right hon. Gentleman mentioned an increase in unemployment and he was right, namely a 67 per cent. increase in the 20 months we have been in office. In the 12 months alone from June, 1966, to June, 1967, unemployment in Wales jumped by 62 per cent. This might he described as the Labour way of life in Wales. The period of office of the Labour Party was marked not just by stagnation, but towards the end of that Government there seems to have been an almost total 1687 lack or possibly an abandonment of control over wage inflation.
The further sharp and very disturbing increase in unemployment which we have seen over the past one a a half years certainly reflects this failure. The truth is that this Government took office at a time when inflation was almost out of control and unemployment on a well-established upward trend. Stagnation and inflation together would certainly have created an unfavourable investment climate in any event. But this was not all. There was also a consequential and serious problem of liquidity in industry.
Faced with a shortage of cash and the growing cost of labour, and with its confidence badly shaken, British industry reacted in a way which is natural and inevitable. Investment was held back and workers were laid off.
§ Mr. Gwynoro Jones (Carmarthen)
Is the Secretary of State aware that the C.B.I. Survey which was carried out in Wales in March of last year brought out the point that one of the major reasons for this increase in unemployment was wages and prices unrest? Further, may I draw his attention to what the present Prime Minister said on 30th April before the General Election in 1970 on Thames Television:I think you are being unfair to the unions and to the workers in saying that this price explosion is glued to a wage explosion.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on getting in part of the speech which he hopes to make if, Mr. Deputy Speaker, he catches your eye.
When I saw the C.B.I. in Wales shortly after I had become Secretary of State, they were making the identical complaints I have just been making. They talked in terms of a liquidity problem. They talked in terms of stagnation. They talked in terms of lack of profit. All these things I have mentioned. Take the Motion which was moved by the right hon. Gentleman which uses these words:a massive increase in unemployment in Wales … for a serious decline in the number of new industries going to Wales, and for the closure of existing industries in the Principality".These words are true, but they are not the result of the present Administration's policy. As hon. and right hon. Gentlemen 1688 know only too well, events and consequences are not quite so rapid as that. Our present situation has its roots in things done and not done between 1964 and 1970. Our task and our purpose have been to effect a change before it is too late.
As the right hon. Gentleman said, since the economic prosperity of Wales is inextricably bound up with that of the United Kingdom as a whole, the first and the most important step towards reducing unemployment in the Principality is to get the British economy as a whole marching forward again. No British Government have taken more measures designed to reflate the economy so as to create more job opportunities than have this Government in their 20 months of office.
Effective regional policies are of major importance, and we are wholly committed to them and have introduced, as the House knows, many new and improved measures. But they have to operate within the context of an expanding economy.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to an article by Professor Glyn Davies. We can debate at length the merits of this system or that system, about investment grants and allowances, about relative differentials and the like, but one thing is certain: if the investment climate in the country as a whole is not favourable no incentives, of whatever shape and size can by themselves bring the required volume of new industry to development areas.
I would like to remind the House of just some of the positive measures we have taken in the past 18 months. Many of them are referred to at the beginning of the Welsh Council's Report. There are the various cuts in income tax, corporation tax, purchase tax and selective employment tax, which will add up in the current year to the sum of £1,100 million, and in 1972–73 to £1,400 million.
Bank Rate has twice been cut to the lowest level since 1964, and this, combined with the general easing of credit, means that funds are now much more readily available to industry. Term controls on hire purchase have been abolished. The "backward free depreciation concession" and the raising of first-year allowances respectively mean that plant and machinery investment in both development areas and non-development areas have been further encouraged.
1689 These are the sorts of things which were urged on me when I met the C.B.I. in Wales and when I met the T.U.C. in Wales. These are the sorts of things they were suggesting should be done. In response to these measures, there has unquestionably been an upturn in consumer expenditure. Many firms in Wales are already experiencing the benefits of this. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman disagrees with what I have said, but we have examples in the manufacture of washing machines and other consumer durables at Merthyr and Hirwaun. Hoover at Merthyr have announced that by April of this year they will have taken on an extra 500 people. Many of them have already been taken on. G.E.C. at Hirwaun have taken on an extra 250 people, and have just announced that they are going to take on another 250 people.
§ Mr. Donald Coleman (Neath)
Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether these people who have been taken on are males or females?
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
That is a fair question. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, the majority of them are female. I hope that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen are not going to show some form of displeasure in the fact that these extra jobs have become available by reason of new consumer demand, because an increase in consumer demand is the first thing one expects when one has an upturn in the economy. We hope that investment in new plant and machinery will follow. This is something which is an encouraging sign. The national retail trade index showed a steady increase throughout 1971. The economy as a whole is now expanding at about the rate of 4 to 4½ per cent. a year, which was foreseen by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer last year. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen talked in terms of the growth rate. At the moment the growth rate in this country at 4 to 4½ per cent. is twice the rate achieved by the previous Administration, and Wales is sharing in this growth. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry told the House on 28th February that he is looking forward to an improvement in manufacturing investment in the latter part of this year. This view is borne out by the most recent 1690 survey of business opinion carried out by the Financial Times.
As right hon. and hon. Gentlemen may know, it is borne out by the Bank of England Report, about which they may have read in the papers today. All the indications are for a further improvement in investment in new buildings, plant and machinery. With the prospect of continued growth in the United Kingdom, the opportunities are now very real. I mentioned the Quarterly Bulletin of the Bank of England. The actual words they used this morning were:the prospects for relatively strong growth throughout 1972 are favourable.I agree with this. Great opportunities are presented by our forthcoming entry into the European Economic Community. I have no doubt that the E.E.C. offers most substantial scope for new investment and increased opportunities for Welsh-based industry and firms.
There has been a lag in private investment over the past year. One need hardly say that this has been a great disappointment to us all. Faced with this situation, however, the Government have responded by substantially stepping up their own capital expenditure and by making it possible for other parts of the public sector to do likewise. Wales is sharing to the full in these programmes. Under the programme of accelerated infrastructure spending in assisted areas announced in July and September of last year, additional projects costing about £21 million will be undertaken in Wales in the period up to March, 1973. This expenditure covers roads, hospitals, schools and derelict land clearance—all essential sectors if Wales is to develop an up to date and attractive infrastructure. The Special Environmental Assistance Scheme announced last month will enable local authorities in assisted areas to tackle a large number of minor schemes between now and June, 1973. All but a small part of the cost of clearing these eyesores will be borne by the Government.
In November, I announced that an additional £9 million would be spent on various trunk road schemes in Wales in the next two years or so. This additional spending, as I explained in the course of a recent Welsh Grand Committee debate, is only a part of the major expansion of road expenditure which is to take place 1691 in Wales over the next year or two. I anticipate in fact that total spending on Welsh roads will rise from this year's record level of about £53 million to £62 million in 1972–73 and to nearly £70 million in 1975–76.
Derelict land clearance is another area where we are pressing ahead with badly needed projects. Grant payments this year at £1.3 million are nearly twice the level of the last two years, and I expect there to be a further increase in 1972–73.
It has to be borne in mind that, important as it is, the immediate creation of employment is not the only purpose behind this expansion of public expenditure. These schemes and many others such as the home improvement scheme under the 1971 Act will all bring immediate benefits to the localities in which they are undertaken. Living conditions in these places will be improved. What is equally important, the towns and villages concerned will become more attractive as locations for industrial development. This is recognised by the local authorities in Wales which have responded most enthusiastically, I am glad to say.
This is but one part of the general strategy of preparing and cultivating the ground for a renewed upsurge of industrial development in Wales. In this connection, I am pressing ahead as quickly as I can with my proposal to develop a new town at Llantrisant. Hon. Members will know that I have recently published a Draft Designation Order and that a public inquiry will now follow.
Llantrisant is only one element in our policy for the development of South Wales. I have more than once made it clear that we have a commitment to the valleys which we intend to honour. But Llantrisant is certainly an important part of the overall strategy. Last year we designated this area, with others, as special development areas. The quicker we can exploit the obvious potential of Llantrisant, together with that of other major industrial sites in Wales, the bigger the rewards.
§ Mr. Arthur Probert (Aberdare)
Does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise the very simple fact that the development of a new town at Llantrisant is in complete conflict with the development of the valley communities?
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
I appreciate that there are people like the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. Probert) who have been concerned about the prospect of this new growth area at the mouths of the valleys. I do not mean to be offensive when I say, however, that every informed observer says that this will bring considerable economic strength to the area and to South Wales. This was confirmed by the Economic Council when it was under the chairmanship of Professor Brinley Thomas, and it was also set out in "Wales: The Way Ahead", which was published under the aegis of the right hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes). I accept the view expressed in that document.
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes (Anglesey)
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that in our discussion of these proposals we said clearly in paragraph 337:For both economic and social reasons the Government "—the former Labour Administration—reject any policy which would assume the disintegration of the substantial valley communities …"?
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
As I say, I accept the views expressed in that document about Llantrisant, and that is one of them. I reject policies which would involve the disintegration of the valley communities, because I feel that they are important. However, I do not think that the proposals for Llantrisant will do other than benefit the valley communities.
§ Mr. Leo Abse (Pontypool)
As the right hon. Gentleman is aware, I represent Cwmbran. Does not he understand that some of the concern and anxiety about the establishment of a new town at Llantrisant is prompted by the fact that we have an unemployment rate in Pontypool and Cwmbran reaching nearly 10 per cent.? Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to establish another new town for the workless at Llantrisant?
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
I do not regret giving way to the hon. Gentleman, despite his very effective observation. He has now drawn the attention of everyone to the difficulties obtaining in Cwmbran, of which I am fully aware. I have no doubt that Cwmbran and that area will benefit as soon as the economy moves forward, because it is extremely well 1693 situated, especially when one considers the new communications which have just been opened. In the same way, Llantrisant, which is also very favourably situated, will benefit. When, as I have every hope, the economy moves forward, I have no doubt that that will be a major growth area in South Wales.
In preparing the ground for new industrial development, we must take account of human as well as physical resources. In this context the proposals for the massive expansion of training and retraining facilities announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment on 1st February are very relevant.
Since this Government came to power, the number of men and women attending courses under the Government's vocational training scheme in Wales has already increased by 85 per cent. Training allowances and grants have been raised considerably. But this is only a beginning. A new Government training centre will be established in the Newport area, and a new training annexe will be provided close to the Cardiff Government training centre by utilising unused industrial premises.
§ Mr. Roy Hughes (Newport)
Is the right hon. Gentleman now saying that a specific decision has been taken to site this new training centre within the County Borough of Newport? He will appreciate that the original announcement by the Government was that it would be in East Monmouthshire.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
It has not been taken. I do not think that I should add to what I said, which was that a new Government training centre will be established in the Newport area. I do not intend it to be thought that it will be in a specific locality in the Newport area. A decision as to the exact locality has not been taken. All that I can say is that it will be in the Newport area.
More extensive use will also he made of training facilities in colleges of further education, commercial colleges and in employers' establishments. The new Training Opportunities Scheme, outlined in the discussion document, "Training for the Future", will not only greatly expand training capacity but provide a much wider range of courses than at present.
1694 The right hon. Gentleman referred properly and very movingly to the young people in Wales. We are, of course, particularly concerned about job prospects for young people. Unemployment amongst young people is always a particular cause for anxiety, and no one can be content with a situation in which school leavers find it difficult to get employment. The past year has been difficult but there are signs of improvement. The number of boys and girls placed in employment in Wales in the first two months of this year was an increase of nearly 2,000, an increase of almost 400 over the figures for the comparable period last year.
As part of our aim is to help place in employment young people looking for semi-skilled or unskilled work, the Department of Employment is arranging short courses of limited skill training at Government training centres and colleges of further education. Employers are also being encouraged to provide courses of the same kind. All the costs of the weekly allowances to those taking part are met by the Department of Employment.
Concern was expressed to me by one hon. Gentleman opposite when we had a meeting the other day about the reduction in the number of apprenticeships available in Wales. This is not just a Welsh, but a national problem, and a lot depends for the future on the way that industrial investment improves. We are taking steps to provide as many places for apprentices as we can in connection with the engineering, the road transport, the construction and the hotel and catering industries. So far, some 260 places have been taken up by Welsh boys under arrangements made by the Department of Employment. This is a hopeful sign.
In all this we must not forget the service industries which have always had a part in the economic life of Wales and are taking an increasing share. These service industries are often labour intensive. We tend perhaps to under-emphasise the importance of jobs in the service industries.
We must not ignore the fact that Wales has an important agricultural base. It is also an expanding area for tourism, with all the employment opportunities which this offers.
In addition, more and more office jobs are coining to Wales. The Government's 1695 dispersal schemes—I am perfectly happy to share this with the previous Administration—already hold out promise of increasing employment; for example, the sizeable number of jobs at the new building at Maindy and the 500 jobs resulting from stage 2 of the Royal Mint development at Llantrisant. It is our hope many more jobs of this kind will come to Wales as the dispersal programme expands.
§ Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell me how many new decisions have been made as regards Government office dispersals since the party opposite came into power? Will he confirm that the Ministry of Defence is reconsidering whether to go to Maindy as there is a strong prospect it will not be used for providing additional civil service jobs in Wales, but for housing civil servants already there.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
The Ministry of Defence was considering what Maindy should be used for. Nevertheless, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, it decided to go ahead with the building at Maindy, and this is going ahead. We had to consider the matter during the time that I have been Secretary of State, and I was very pleased to be able to announce it. We are following a dispersal programme, but I am not in a position to say how many jobs will come to Wales. I hope that further jobs of this kind will come to Wales as our dispersal programme expands.
§ Mr. John Morris
The Secretary of State has not answered either of my questions. Is he now saying that the Ministry of Defence is coming to Cardiff? I should like to know.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
I cannot say what part of the Ministry of Defence will occupy the Maindy barracks; but the proposal is that part of the Ministry will occupy those barracks.
I should now like to turn briefly to what has been said and written on the subject of regional strategy generally. In recent weeks I have heard the views of the C.B.I. and T.U.C. in Wales, and we have had the report of the Welsh Council. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the Council for this report. Some of its recommendations fall into the area of taxation policy generally, and it would clearly be inappropriate to try to respond 1696 to those at the present time. The House may be assured that the report will be carefully looked at.
I was asked about certain specific recommendations; for instance, whether we are going to continue R.E.P. after the terminal date announced by the previous Administration, which we accepted.
§ Mr. Alan Williams
The guarantee was that R.E.P. would remain in existence for seven years. There was no guarantee beyond seven years, but there was no commitment that it would finish after the seven years. We did not say that it would definitely end. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is mistaken.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
The hon. Gentleman is quite right. It was for a period of seven years, and the terminal date is April, 1974. It is true that it was not announced firmly that it would terminate on that date; it was just for a period of seven years.
Regarding these and other matters, as the House knows, a thorough-going look at regional policies is currently being undertaken by the Government. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has made it clear that the Government are concerned to find, wherever possible, more direct means of tackling the individual problems of particular areas, and an announcement will be made at the appropriate time.
No Government are more aware of the need to strengthen the regional economies of Britain and to narrow the gap between the various areas in terms of employment, investment and the quality of life. I hope that the right hon. Member for Cardiff, West does not feel that he has painted too gloomy a picture of the situation in Wales, because it would be wrong to suggest that there has been no movement at all. Welsh industry is very much alive. Despite the difficulties which I have mentioned, Wales is attracting new firms and providing a base where established firms can expand.
The facts are that no fewer than 23 firms from outside Wales or entirely new to manufacturing have opened in the last year. They employ currently 1,400 persons and expect to give jobs to a total of 2,700 when fully manned. It is significant that four of these firms are from the continent.
1697 Reference was made to industrial development certificates. Obviously, on the figures the level of I.D.C. approvals was disappointingly low in 1971. It is, nevertheless, true that 6.5 million square feet of new industrial space has been approved in the last 18 months or so. In the last month, 12 I.D.C.s, relating to nearly 400,000 square feet and providing 800 jobs, were issued. I hope that these will lead to firm announcements later this year. Major national and international firms have come, or plan to come, to Wales; for example, Golden Ltd., and Wilkinson Sword, Ltd., to South Wales, and Dunlop, Ltd., to Wrexham.
In the past year the prospects for the estates administered by the Welsh Industrial Estates Corporation have gone well. In particular, the major Bridgend/Waterton complex has prospects of becoming one of the major industrial estates in Europe. We should not forget the smaller, but none the less important, developments in mid-Wales in the last year, notably at Newtown and Brecon.
§ Mr. George Thomas
We welcome and rejoice in every new industry which can come to Wales, but the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be aware how much less this is than was galloping in just 18 months ago. How many new jobs were created in Wales last year and how many redundancies were announced? Does not that destroy the right hon. and learned Gentleman's euphoria?
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to talk about euphoria. I hoped that I was giving the House a reasonably objective account of the situation in Wales. It is easy to talk in colourful language and to try to score party points. I hope that I have not done that in my speech. I have tried to make statements of fact. The fact is that new firms have come to Wales and there is great hope that many more will come. It is encouraging that some of those firms have come from the continent.
The advance factory programme, for instance, continues to pay off. Since we took office, there has been a sizeable programme of factory building—three D.T.I. advance factories at Abercarn, Merthyr and Ebbw Vale, two new schemes financed by the Development Commission at Brecon and Cardigan, 1698 and about 20 new factories and nursery units at the two new towns, Cwmbran and Newtown.
In this connection, I am pleased to announce that the advance factory at Aberdulais, which I believe has been empty for two years, will be taken by a firm from Birmingham. Fairitt Engineering Company Limited, which is to transfer all its operations there and will provide employment initially for about 75 people, 65 of them males, and in time it is likely to rise to about 120. This comes at a time when there is a real prospect also of several hundred engineering jobs in Merthyr.
All this is a sign that the Government's measures to stimulate industry are beginning to have a worthwhile effect on employment. Of course, much more needs to be done before the redundancies of the past year or so can be offset and unemployment substantially reduced. We have a long way to go and many more projects are required.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the unemployment figures. They were accurate, but of course they are the latest figures, which were distorted by the coal strike——
§ Mr. George Thomas
I know that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would not wish to give the wrong impression. I was quoting January figures. I deliberately ignored February, because they were out of balance.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman. When he quoted the figures, I thought that he was quoting the latest ones. If he was quoting the January figures, I apologise. I am entirely wrong. As he will appreciate, the February figures are distorted by the coal strike and presumably so will the next month's figures be, because one does not know what the effect has been.
But there is some cause for hope in the most recent unemployment figures. There was a small decline in the number of wholly unemployed in Wales between January and February, and there was a small increase in the number of unfilled vacancies. I hope that this represents a turning of the tide.
§ Mr. Alan Williams
It is important that the House should not be misled here. The figures that the Secretary of State is giving are seasonally adjusted. 1699 The seasonal adjustment process is a deduction of an average based on a 10-year experience. When we have an abnormally mild winter, such as we have just had, the deduction for a bad or average winter inevitably puts the seasonally adjusted figure below what it should be.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
I did not wish to make too much of it, but there was a reduction of approximately 1,000, which was quite a lot and was contrary to what one would normally expect at this time of the year. I hope that Welsh Members can draw some comfort from them.
§ Mr. Goronwy Roberts (Caernarvon)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman seems to be moving from one part of his speech to another. Perhaps I could therefore put this question to him. He has conducted a review of potentialities and prospects in various parts of Wales, including South Wales, West Wales and North-East Wales, but he did not refer to North-West Wales. Has he any crumb of comfort for us in the Caernarvon and Pen-y-groes district, which, as my right hon. Friend said, has the highest unemployment percentage in the whole of Wales—14.9 per cent?
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I am not only well aware of the situation in that part of Wales but am very concerned about it. I am very anxious to do all I can to assist in the very difficult employment situation which exists in North-West Wales. I regret that I cannot say any more today than I said in the letter that I recently sent to the right hon. Gentleman and to the Clerk of the Caernarvon-shire County Council.
The subject of unemployment is a serious one and I can well understand the strong feelings that it arouses, but I hope that nothing said in this debate will weaken confidence in the future of Wales —whether among outsiders who are contemplating coming to and investing in the Principality or, even more important, among those who live and work in Wales.
We should not be pessimistic about our future. As the right hon. Gentleman said, when he was Secretary of State, we must not be Jeremiahs. Wales is all the time becoming a more accessible and more 1700 attractive place. Every day, our communications, with the rest of Britain and within Wales, are improving. The scars of dereliction are gradually being removed. As our policies develop, we shall see its economic prosperity growing. It is a good place for people to come to and to stay in. Our confident aim is to make it a still better place.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Donald Coleman (Neath)
The House has just listened to an amazing apologia from the Secretary of State for the maladministration which has gone on in Wales since he has presided over the Welsh Office. It is not for me to follow him because I want to protest at that maladministration, which has resulted in thousands of our people becoming the victims of unemployment.
The Welsh Council Report published this week, entitled "Wales: Employment and the Economy", begins in this way:The overall rate of unemployment in Wales in January was 5.8% compared with 4.3% for Great Britain as a whole and 2.4% for the region with the lowest rate, namely South East England. For males, the Welsh rate was 7.3% compared with 5.8% for Great Britain and 3.4% for South East England".This quotation condemns more eloquently than anything which will be said in this debate the Government and the Prime Minister, because those words are expressed without fear or favour by people who have given most valuable service to Wales.
I support the Motion, though with certain reservations. For example, it does not go far enough in its condemnation of the Government in general and the Prime Minister in particular. Nor does it condemn the members of the Liberal Party, because it has been the majority of their votes which has kept what one can only call this "Tory Government of I million out of work" in power in recent weeks.
The Motion might have mentioned in this context the Welsh Nationalist Party, which on the question of rising unemployment seems to be suffering from political laryngitis. Since the Tory Government came to power there has been hardly a peep out of the Nationalists, and particularly their leader, on this matter of vital importance to the Welsh people. I have no doubt that they will raise the subject in passing during the by-election at 1701 Merthyr Tydvil. But if they really cared about their country they would be raising it continuously, just as we in the Labour Party are doing.
At the General Election we were promised that in addition to dealing with rising prices at a stroke—evidence of which, after almost two years, is still not evident; belatedly we have seen some evidence of action from the Prime Minister, though prices generally continue to rise—unemployment would be reduced at a stroke. Today in Wales 56,000 of our people are without jobs. As far as we can tell, the figure will go on rising. Yet when the Prime Minister gave his pledge to the people of the United Kingdom—not many Welsh people believed him—the number of people in Wales without jobs was 44,000 and the evidence was that the figure would fall.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
The hon. Gentleman quoted from the Report of the Welsh Council but he neglected to read the final lines of paragraph 2, which stated that under the Labour Government unemployment was "on a rising trend". He said it was falling while the Welsh Council said it was rising.
§ Mr. Coleman
At the time there were clear indications that it was on the downturn.
What happened to halt the desirable trend of June, 1970, when unemployment was falling, a situation about which we were chided by the Welsh Nationalists? What converted that movement into the present trend of rising unemployment, about which the Nationalists are unable or reluctant to talk? The answer is to be found in the manner in which the Government have pursued their objectives. They have rejected everything that was done by the Labour Government, no matter how successful it was or might have been. For example, they abandoned investment grants and wound up the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation, two examples of policies which were being effective and were resulting in British industry in general and Welsh industry in particular being refurbished.
Then we had the reliance of hon. Gentlemen opposite on the lame duck ideology as a means of driving industry into a state of furious activity. Although their policies have proved tragically 1702 wrong, the Government have stubbornly refused to alter course. Only events have forced them to make any alteration and because of their policies the situation has been made infinitely worse.
My constituency of Neath has suffered for these reasons. In the early weeks of December we had announcements which resulted in the loss of 1,000 jobs. The decision of the British Aluminium Company to reduce its labour force at the Rheola works at Resolven resulted in nearly 500 people losing their jobs. This came about because of the fear on the part of that company that unless, in the period of difficulty in the aluminium industry, it made economies, it too would go the way of Rolls-Royce and other companies.
The same can be said of the brewery in the Vale of Neath. Fear of the consequences of the Government's policies has made industry generally economise in labour rather than recognise its social responsibility in areas in which firms have been operating successfully for many years.
I was glad to hear the remarks of the Secretary of State about the advance factory at Aberdulais. This factory of 25,000 sq. ft. is in a most desirable location, has good communications with London and the Midlands and is within easy reach of the ports of South Wales. For nearly two years, since the Government came to office, this factory has laid empty because industrialists have not had the confidence to invest and expand their operations in Wales. This is proof positive that the policies of the Government have halted investment and have deterred industrialists from expanding in Wales.
The Secretary of State tells us that a great programme of investment is on the way. That is as may be, but we have not had much evidence to give confidence in the promises and pledges of the Government and their leader. If these pledges and promises turn out to be swans rather than lame ducks we shall be delighted, but the Secretary of State knows as well as we do that the kind of industry that we are likely to get will be capital-intensive rather than labour-intensive, and this will not do much to improve the employment position in Wales. The Government know this and they stand condemned for doing nothing 1703 to prevent the closure of labour-intensive factories throughout the country.
We on this side of the House are right to condemn the Prime Minister for the state of affairs that has arisen over unemployment in Wales. Before last Christmas I suggested—my hon. Friends accepted my suggestion—that we should seek a meeting with the Prime Minister to put before him the whole issue of the worsening plight of Wales because of unemployment. He tried to cast our request aside by saying that we should see the Secretary of State for Wales. We have complied with his request by asking for a meeting with the right hon. and learned Gentleman.
But, like everyone in Wales who has met the Secretary of State, we feel that however sympathetic he may be, we shall be wasting his and our time because he does not have the power or authority to do anything about our problems. I therefore demand that the Prime Minister must come out of the clouds and off "Morning Cloud"and meet Welsh Labour Members of Parliament, because it is only from them that he will get a real assessment of the true situation in Wales. He certainly will not get it from his own party, which has no authority whatsoever in Wales.
I hope that from this debate we shall at least have some sign that at last the Government realise the situation into which they have put the nation. I hope they will realise, before it is too late, that it will be the greatest disaster if we allow labour-intensive industry in Wales to close down, as it is doing. I hope that the Government will bring forward the help that is necessary to stave off the closures of plant and works such as those planned at the Rheola works and the Vale of Neath brewery.
I emphasise yet again, as I did recently in the Welsh Grand Committee, the urgent need to expand the existing steel industry in Wales. It is no use the Government trying to hide behind the fact that the decisions that ought to be made are for the Steel Corporation. It is for the Government to give a clear lead in this matter. To behave as the Government are now behaving in respect of the steel industry is to resort to the old ways of the industry under private ownership in restricting vital investment. Unless the 1704 Government accept their responsibility in this matter, there will be no steel industry in Wales or, for that matter, in any other part of the United Kingdom.
Unemployment in Wales is not a problem that can be solved in Wales alone. It must be solved by the United Kingdom as a whole. Its solution will not come from the pursuit of narrow nationalism it can come only from a dynamic United Kingdom where the determination is to secure social justice for all sections of the community. The hope that such a state of affairs will come about as a result of the efforts of the present Government is a forlorn one. We on this side of the House are right to condemn the Government, as we do in our Motion, and especially the Prime Minister.
§ 6.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State described the opening speech by his predecessor as powerful. It was powerful, but it was decidedly gloomy, as was the speech of the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Coleman). There was hardly any specific suggestion in either speech for dealing with the problems with which we are faced.
The Opposition Motion suggests that the economic policies of the present Government are directly and almost solely responsible for the increase in unemployment in recent years. On the other hand, in our Amendment we state our concern, which is just as serious as that of hon. Members opposite, at the present level of unemployment in Wales and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and we are approving certain measures which have been and are being taken to attempt to deal with this very unusual problem—unusual in the sense that it is baffling in some respects, even to those who have had long experience in the matter of taking up slack in the economy in former years. Steps which were efficacious in the 1950s are now proving to be less so. Tax changes which sometimes used to effect a big change in the level of activity are now not having that effect. This underlines the fact that it is unwise for any Member of Parliament to be too dogmatic about either the nature of our problem or the nature of the best remedies we should introduce.
1705 I reiterate—I hope that this will be accepted on both sides of the House—that we all share the deepest concern about unemployment, and this has been expressed by my right hon. and learned Friend, by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. George Thomas) and by the hon. Member for Neath. My right hon. and learned Friend pointed out that this is not only an industrial ailment but also a personal indignity and grievance of the worst order.
The terms of the Motion are, nevertheless, somewhat misleading. Its wording implies that the Labour Government's policies of less than two years ago had nothing to do with our present difficulties. The hon. Member for Neath, who started by reading the introduction of the Welsh Council Report, neglected to include the last part of the second paragraph, which says that by the time of the Budget of 1970—which was the last Budget of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) and the last Labour Budget—a major improvement had been secured in the balance of payments, but unemployment was on a rising trend. The seeds of the present difficulties on unemployment were there; not only were the seeds there, but the result of those seeds was already evident.
§ Mr. Goronwy Roberts
The hon. Member has said twice in the debate that unemployment was on the upturn immediately before the Labour Government left office and on the downturn after his party came to power. I have with me the latest issue of the Department of Employment Gazette. On page 209, in column 1, under the heading "Total Register of Unemployed", the figure for Wales in April, 1970, is shown as 39,900; in May, it was 37,900; and on 8th June, 33,000. That is the downturn to which my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Coleman) referred. On 13th July the figure had begun to rise. It rose to 34,900. In August it rose to 37,900 and in September to 40,100. That shows conclusively that unemployment, as my hon. Friend said, was on the downturn in the three months before we left office and it proceeded to go on the upturn in the three months after the Conservative Party came to office.
§ Mr. Gower
Once again I merely refer the right hon. Gentleman to the last part of the second paragraph in the report. I did not attempt to deal in such short periods as one month. I was not trying to make such a petty point as that. I was saying that the seeds of the present difficulties had been established.
§ Mr. Gower
When one considers the matter, it would be astonishing if it were otherwise. One cannot have emergency measures one year, devaluation next year, an attempt to introduce a wages policy the next year and the abandonment of that in the following year without having a chaotic condition in industry. One cannot have taxation increases of about £3,000 million a year without having industry in an extraordinary state at the end of that period.
Above all, the Motion ignores the awkward fact that during that period too, as my right hon. and learned Friend reminded us, the level of industrial production in Britain fell until it was only about 1 per cent., which was the lowest rate of any major industrial country.
§ Mr. Alan Williams
How does the hon. Gentleman explain the fact, if he says that our position was so gloomy, that in our last year in office, 1969, two and a half times as much new industry was created as was created last year under the present Government? Second, how does he explain the fact that had the rate of new industry approved in the first six months of 1970 been continued in the next six months, we should have had a record year for new industry brought to Wales?
§ Mr. Gower
That was achieved against a background of the lowest production level of any major industrial country, when industry was having to endure an enormous, excessive volume of taxation. Hon. Members opposite should also recall—this is a factor I have not mentioned—that at the time of the last General Election inflation was truly beginning to bubble merrily. There was real evidence of inflation in earnings and prices alike. This is borne out by some of the remarks in the Report of the Welsh Council.
We on this side do not disguise our concern at the difficult nature of the 1707 present unemployment situation. But there is one peculiar factor which is demonstrated by the unemployment figures which were cited by the right hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Goronwy Roberts). The February figures, which reflect the effects of the coal strike, show a remarkable divergence. My town of Barry had a slight increase of four in the number unemployed compared with January but the town of Pontypridd had an increase of 1,300. The Swansea figures increased by 4,700 and in Newtown, Montgomeryshire, there was an astonishing increase of 841, which by the end of the coal strike brought the unemployment level there up to nearly 20 per cent.
The right hon. Gentleman's constituency of Caernarvon was another area which was badly affected at that time. This emphasises that there are still very sensitive points in the Welsh economy, and they are the same points which were sensitive 20 or 30 years ago. We would be unwise to be complacent about anything successive Governments have done, because there are still major problems. The areas where this extra unemployment occurred are some of the old areas where the first development area policies were tried.
In its interesting report the Welsh Council makes certain recommendations. One which I consider to be important concerns the improvement of the road system. I would set this matter very high in the list of priorities. One of the greatest things that has happened to industrial Wales in recent years has been the improvement in road communications—the completion of the M4 to South Wales, the very considerable improvement to roads between Newport, Cardiff and the Midlands, and the substantial improvement in the North Wales seaboard. These are all great assets for Welsh industry for the future. They have brought industrial Wales much nearer to its supplies and to its markets.
Every possible effort should be made to expedite road improvements even above what has already been promised. The first requirement is the westward extension of the M4 to Swansea, the need for which has been increased by present conditions. Second is the improvement to the main road across North Wales 1708 from east to west. I hope too that essential improvements will be made in mid-Wales to the road from Welshpool to Aberystwyth and that this will not be too long deferred. One or two sections have been improved, but further improvement deserves a high priority. I should also like to see early improvement to the Cardiff to Merthyr road, in addition to the parts already approved or contemplated in the preparation pool. These are but some of the very essential additions to the improvement of our road system.
Full recovery of the Welsh economy will surely accompany the general growth of business and industrial activity in the whole of the United Kingdom. To achieve that general growth I am convinced that we must continue our stern battle against inflation. We must continue to be vigilant about industrial costs and we must continue to press for greater industrial efficiency.
I do not share the total pessimism expressed from the Opposition Benches. I prefer the optimistic views of Mr. Ian Gray, the former controller in Wales for the Department of Trade and Industry, for whose services, I know, Opposition hon. Members had a good deal of regard. I prefer his confidence, as expressed in The Times on 2nd March, to the gloomy forecast we heard today from the Opposition. He prophesied that the industrial base for expansion in Wales would be strong in readiness for the new investment Wales is likely to receive as the economic cycle turns in our favour. Mr. Gray predicted that the upturn of our economy would probably start later this year and I feel sure that hon. Members on both sides will be happy to see his judgment handsomely vindicated.
I was pleased to note my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State's statement a month ago that the Welsh Industrial Estates Corporation has in hand, even under present difficulties, a factory building programme of nearly £6 million. I understand that it includes about 40 projects, some of which are new factories and some of which are extensions. This is an earnest of what is to come. I understand the reasons which caused the Welsh Council to press for more labour-intensive industry. The hon. Member for Neath expressed this view when he said that he wants labour-intensive industry for the Principality 1709 rather than capital-intensive industry. In the short term both he and the Welsh Council are possibly right. I suppose we need a lot of jobs quickly. But in the longer term I am not quite so sure. Wales has suffered in the past from having too few industries which have been labour-intensive. [Interruption.] There have not been very many but they have been very large and this has caused a distortion of the Welsh economy.
While I understand the feeling that we should have more labour-intensive industries I would not like that to be the sum total of our ambitions. We would be merely recreating a pattern which would distort the Welsh economy. We need not only industries which will absorb some of the unemployed but we need variety and industries which are very new, modern and capital-intensive. We also need more service industries, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State indicated. That is why we have done a great and positive good in reducing S.E.T. particularly for those parts of Wales which still do not have development area status but where the service industries, particularly hotels, have to function. This applies particularly in areas like West Flint, Cardiff and my own constituency. The reduction in S.E.T. is doubly valuable in these parts and it may be of great benefit to those areas which are adjacent to development areas.
The Government need not be dogmatic in their view about the comparative advantage or merits of investment grants and allowances. I do not, however, share the view expressed by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, West who seems to think of investment grants as a magic panacea for all our ills. They have certain attractions in the case of a new, untried industry. But in the case of an industry which is likely to remain and which already has a record of achievement, I should have thought that in many cases there would be numerous advantages in investment allowances.
§ Mr. Alan Williams
If the hon. Gentleman looks at The Times of Thursday last week, which has a report of the N.E.D.C. meeting, he will see that the chemical industry, which he would not call a new industry, had expressed concern that the net benefit to the chemical companies paying corporation tax has, with the 1710 removal of investment grants, dropped from 24 per cent. to a mere 16 per cent. of the cost of investment, which is one of the reasons why they are cutting back their investment.
§ Mr. Gower
That is precisely why I said that no one should be dogmatic about the comparative merits of investment grants and allowances. There are cases where it may be an advantage to use the investment allowance, but I cannot imagine how anyone can establish that any of our present difficulties have been due to the change. There has been very little difference in practice in the first year or two of the Government's term of office. Many firms were dissuaded from coming to Wales not by the nature of the help but by the general state of the economy. I repeat that there may be considerable advantages in having a conjunction of those two methods at different times.
The Welsh Council and, by inference, the right hon. Gentleman advocated an attempt to achieve a 6 per cent. growth target. I should not like us to tie ourselves to a particular figure like that. Such a target might be wonderful if it could be achieved without other dangers developing. It is easier in countries developing from a low level, as in southern Italy and Japan in recent years, to achieve much higher rates than 6 per cent. than it is in a mature industrial country. That has been shown by the comparatively low rates that have sometimes prevailed in areas as mature industrially as North America and the United Kingdom.
Nevertheless, as soon as we can be confident about resisting the dangers of inflation, as soon as we have confidence that the worst of our problems of prices chasing earnings and earnings chasing prices are behind us, we should aim at a higher growth rate. I hope it can be achieved, but a particular figure like 6 per cent. does not have any magic qualities.
With regard to the other recommendations made in the report or mooted here today, obviously a good deal has already been done. We have had the positive benefits of reductions in taxes like corporation tax and selective employment tax. There is the advantage of a much lower Bank Rate. Let no one under-estimate that advantage for companies which 1711 must borrow and the advantage of easier credit for such companies. They are advantages just as positive as grants or allowances and they should be of great assistance in the months and years ahead. In consumer spending there should obviously be increasing benefits as time goes on from the relaxation of hire-purchase restrictions.
My right hon. and learned Friend was right to remind us about the formidable contribution being made by public expenditure. I have advocated further increased spending on road communications but I am not insensible of the considerable amount that has already been done in the case of both roads and hospitals and in the improvement of the environment in some of our greatly disfigured areas. But cannot more be done to invoke the aid of the Forestry Commission and others in the work of improving the more unsightly parts of the Principality?
I appreciate that there are sometimes technical difficulties with tree-growing in some areas. Much must be done in respect of the soil and the base, but if a long-term plan could be devised with the aid of the Forestry Commission, and possibly sometimes private forestry owners, and if all this could be added to the work that has been done in certain areas to remove the tips and the unsightly scars of industry, we could be doing something very valuable for the future industrial advance of the Principality. We cannot hope for people to come to and factories to develop in areas so disfigured as some parts of South Wales and North Wales still are.
Let us not be despondent. We recognise that the problem is considerable but we accept that we must solve it. There must be no half-heartedness in dealing with it. In whatever part of the House we sit, we must support measures designed to reduce or eliminate unemployment. We want to bring down unemployment to a figure reflecting only temporary difficulty. We do not want many permanently unemployed, apart from those unemployed for unfortunate reasons of illness, injury or disablement. There will always be some who will be changing their jobs, and that is not necessarily unhealthy. The speeding up of retraining should be a positive advantage.
1712 While we shall have our partisan and party differences, which are not unnatural among politicians, I hope there will be a combination of resolve on both sides to bring about a radical improvement of the situation in the coming months and the year or two ahead.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The Chair is in difficulty. I have three Privy Councillors, one hon. Member who has not spoken this Session and six hon. Members who have spoken only once this Session whom I want very much to call from the Opposition side. I hope, therefore, that right hon. and hon. Members will be fairly brief.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Cledwyn Hughes (Anglesey)
We are grateful for the direction you have just given us, Mr. Speaker, and I shall try to curtail my speech in the interest of other hon. Members who wish to contribute to the debate.
The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) described the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. George Thomas) as gloomy. My regret is that the Secretary of State did nothing to dispel the gloom. He gave us a long statement that contained very little. Now the hon. Member for Barry has dotted the i's and crossed the t's in his customary manner.
The Secretary of State said that we should consider the nature and underlying causes of our unemployment problem, and that is what we on this side are seeking to do. Anyone who studies the Welsh political scene since the end of the war will realise that we have spent more time on and been more preoccupied by unemployment and finding work for our people than any other single subject, because it is the most important central issue. We are also concerned about the environment, education, the infrastructure and our culture. But they are relevant only if there are people to live in the environment, to be educated and to enhance the culture. The focal point of any society is the man working in a steady and worthwhile job.
All that has been said and done in the economic field since the end of the war has been against the background 1713 of the enormous misery of Wales in the inter-war years. This is why a cold shiver runs down the back of every Welshman today when he sees unemployment at a higher level than at any time since the late 1930s.
The Secretary of State cannot blame the Labour Government. In the light of what he said, I will deal with some of the facts. Successive Governments since the war have adopted measures to try to deal with the problem, with varying degrees of success or failure. The chief cause of the problem was well known. We were over-dependent on four or five basic industries—steel, tinplate, coal, slate and agriculture. As they declined, in the case of coal and slate, or as they were modernised, in the case of steel, or as the number employed on the land fell because of mechanisation, so large numbers of men in our country became redundant. This was always predictable. Governments knew what has happening and what was likely to happen over a period of time.
In the immediate post-war years the then Labour Government introduced the Distribution of Industry Act. In this connection we should remember with gratitude the work of the late Hugh Dalton, a native of the Borough of Neath. Wales began to diversify its industrial structures. But in the 'fifties—and this is the complaint which the Secretary of State compels me to make—we lost the momentum. Virtually the whole of Wales was de-scheduled as a development area, and although there were some isolated gains in certain fields—in Cardiff, for example, a motor plant was established—we were no longer in the race. Scotland, the North East and certainly Ulster received far greater concessions from the Tories in the 1950s than Wales. In the early 1960s the record was indifferent. Again the Secretary of State compels me to recall this. It is well known that between 1961, when he was a Minister in the then Conservative Administration, and 1964 industrial development certificates were approved for only 9.5 million sq. ft. whereas between 1965 and 1969 the figure was over 36 million sq. ft.
§ Mr. Hughes
No. The hon. Member made a long speech. There have been many interruptions so far in this debate. We also operated a vigorous dispersal policy between 1964 and 1970 and with new and expanded industries we created new jobs for 83,000 people in Wales in that period. To put it simply, it is no use having a splendid advance factory if it is standing empty.
A regional policy is the framework, and I agree with the Secretary of State that if it is to be successful it must be accompanied by an effective economic policy. The right hon. and learned Gentleman criticised our economic policy. We certainly had economic difficulties, but side by side with those economic difficulties—and this is what the House must recognise today—we operated the best regional policy that this country has seen so far, and we operated that policy with confidence and compassion. That, I would say to the Secretary of State, is "the Labour way of life".
By contrast, the present Government inherited a healthy balance of payments, but they emasculated the regional policy and deliberately allowed unemployment to get out of hand. I would not suggest that the Secretary of State or his right hon. Friends like to see the unemployment situation which now exists, but they are responsible for it. What the right hon. and learned Gentleman chooses to forget is that we left his Government a healthy balance of payments but they took the wrong direction in their economic policy immediately following the General Election. The measures then taken by the Chancellor of the Exchequer were responsible for the downturn which unemployment has taken since then. We certainly had some redundancies, mainly in the coalfields, but we brought in complementary growth industries to Wales. We did not have to worry in those days, if I may say so, in my time in the Welsh Office, about Wrexham or Cwmbran. Our worries were about centres further westward, in the valleys and in Amman-ford and Anglesey. Today, however, what is significant is that we are deeply worried about Cwmbran and Wrexham. We have heard the unemployment figures there. We remember that the Conservative Government in 1963 and 1964 were about to dismantle the industrial estate at Wrexham and sell it off. We salvaged 1715 the industrial estate and brought new industries to Wrexham. But what is the position in Wrexham today? Unemployment is over 9 per cent.
The Government spokesmen must be careful not to overstate their case, because what they have said is being listened to not only in this House today but also in Cwmbran and Wrexham. The Secretary of State said earlier that after he took office he would be content to be judged by the record. That is the record, and he will be judged by it in due course of time. If Cwmbran and Wrexham, with all their advantages in terms of communications and locality, are suffering, how much more acute is the problem of my right hon. Friend and myself, with constituencies further to the west? Every one, on all sides of the House, knows that even with good inducements it is not easy to get industries of substance which employ a good percentage of men to establish in the remoter areas of Wales, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Goronwy Roberts) and myself speak from long experience of seeking to induce industries to come to these areas. They have great attractions in terms of beautiful surroundings and in terms of the availability of adaptable labour, but we know how difficult it is to attract the right type of work.
We recognised this when we created the special development areas. The Government will have to think very carefully about the need to introduce some special new incentives, not only for the benefit of the valleys but also for counties like my own, where unemployment—men and women—is currently 11.9 per cent. of the insured population and over 13 per cent. in relation to men.
The Secretary of State referred in his speech to the Government's examination of development area policy which has been going on for some time. I hope that the conclusions will be satisfactory and not too long delayed. No doubt on 21st March we shall have an interesting Budget statement. We look forward to the Chancellor's speech. We know that nothing can be said about the Budget today, but I issue a warning to the Government that if they are planning a hand-out to the Conservative Party's friends they will be in far deeper waters than they are today. There are people 1716 in real need in Wales, in the North-East and in Scotland, and if cash is available it should go to assist all areas to get back on their feet.
There are two things which I think are deplorable. The first is the Government's election pledge to create more employment in the regions followed after the election by the economic measures which were designed to do the exact opposite. Secondly, there is the Secretary of State's own record. He went around Wales criticising our policy and saying that we were spending too much money in the development areas and that his right hon. Friends could do better with less money. That was what he said: that they would do better with less money. The fact is that his own record over the last 21 months is a bad one. It reflects a total lack of understanding of the needs of the regions, and as a result of this lack of policy we have experienced the worst 21 months we have had since the period between the wars.
What the Secretary of State's speech lacked was any indication that he had any strategy or vision for the future. The constructive points that he made we certainly welcome, but we used to do better than this when we were the Government. When we had our debate on the economy in December, 1967—I was Secretary of State at that time—we were concerned with the future demand for labour, with firm jobs in prospect for men and women, with employment trends and with the special needs of the different parts of the Principality. There was some criticism of the document which I produced at that time. I did not claim that that White Paper was the ultimate truth, but it stimulated public discussion in Wales on the future. What is significant and unhappy about this debate today is that we are so preoccupied with the grim present that Ministers are not looking ahead at all. This was the regrettable aspect of the statement by the Secretary of State. Nevertheless, the Minister of State will have the opportunity to shed some light on the future as he sees it.
Can the hon. Gentleman tell us how he sees future demand for labour in Wales? What is the form of jobs in prospect over the next three years? Can the hon. Gentleman give the male and female figures? What is the present activity 1717 rate? How does he see this developing over the next three years? We are entitled to know this. The Government have their economic advisers, their economic unit, and the Welsh Office is in touch with the Department of Trade and Industry, although whether that helps I am not sure. That Department is now such an elephantine body with so many Ministers that none knows what the other is doing. However, the Minister might sometimes knock on those huge doors and find out.
The Secretary of State referred to advance factories. We are bound to concede that notwithstanding the present unemployment problem, there is no significant advance factory programme. What advance factories are there for Caernarvonshire, Merioneth, Cardigan and Anglesey? If there is no advance factory programme, it is because the Government have no confidence whatever in their economic policies?
We built 50 advance factories in a comparatively short period of five years. There were economic constraints but we had confidence that we could find the tenants for them and we did. Now there are thousands of men and women working in them. We want to know a little more about a future advance factory programme.
We should also be told more about mid-Wales and the rural areas. What plans do the Government have for towns in mid-Wales such as Llandiloes, Machynlleth, Ffestiniog and so on? We were promised that when the Government abolished the Rural Development Board in mid-Wales there would be a new policy statement.
The Minister of State must bear a large part of the blame for this. He went around mid-Wales talking to people, criticising the board and promising that because the people of the area, as he said, were against the board, democratic principle would compel a Conservative Government to abolish it. When they came into office they did so. But if the hon. Gentleman listens carefully to what democracy in Wales is saying today, he and the Government he serves will resign.
§ The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Mr. David Gibson-Watt)
If the right hon. Gentleman had been Secretary of 1718 State of Wales immediately after the 1970 General Election, would he have forced the Rural Development Board down the throats of the people of mid-Wales against their wishes?
§ Mr. Hughes
Coming from a Minister of the Crown, that is the most stupid question I have heard for a long time. He belongs to a Government which are forcing a series of unpalatable measures down the throats of our people, including the Housing Finance Bill, for which the Government are preparing a timetable Motion. It was not a question of forcing the Rural Development Board on anyone. There were arguments against the board in Wales but it would have brought great benefits to mid-Wales and injected capital into the area which has now been lost as a direct result of the hon. Gentleman's intervention.
The Government cannot say that they have not been warned or advised. The Welsh Council has produced some worthwhile documents such as "A Strategy For Rural Wales "and "An Economic Strategy for North West Wales", as well as its last paper on "Employment and the Economy". I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West that this is a good paper. If we read between the lines of this document we can see the size of the problem and the price which will have to he paid for the Government's neglect since the election. Paragraphs 24 and 25 flash a warning light.
The arguments on pages 33 and 34 seem to emphasise the advantage of investment grants, especially if they are paid, say, six months after the purchase of plant. We know that many small companies—and bigger ones too—do not have profits in earlier years to obtain benefit from the investment allowance or from reduced corporation tax. As to the proposal for a differential corporation tax, which is made by the Welsh Council, the difficulty seems to be that in many large companies it is not possible to differentiate between profits made inside development areas or outside them.
I ask the Government to think again and to think hard. More is clearly needed for Wales than the reflationary measures which they have belatedly and so far unsuccessfully introduced. If they produce forward-looking policies, they can look to us for co-operation. We are 1719 dealing not only with economic and industrial matters but basically with men and women. Some 60 years ago Elfed wrote these lines:Nid cardodi ddyn and gwaith,Mae dyn yn rhy fawr i gardod …A man needs work not charity;Man is too noble for charity.It is in that belief and on that principle that we rest our case.
§ 6.46 p.m.
§ Sir Anthony Meyer (Flint, West)
The contribution to which we have just listened from the right hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes) shows how extraordinarily stupid the party opposite is in allowing a man like that to leave its Front Bench. His speech contrasted very forcibly with that of the right hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. George Thomas) who seems to lose interest in our proceedings at an astonishingly early stage.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I have offered the apologies of my right hon. Friend to the House. My right hon. and learned Friend has to be in a Committee. May I also say to my hon. Friend that the right hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. George Thomas) gave notice that he had to leave the debate and expressed his regret at having to do so.
§ Sir A. Meyer
I unreservedly withdraw. It occurred to me. listening to the speech of the right hon. Member for Cardiff, West, that he was laying himself open to the accusation which his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition would have levelled, had he been present, that lie was selling Wales short. It was an excessively gloomy speech. I do not want to make a party political speech because we have an opportunity, as the House is considering Welsh matters—which does not occur all that often—to give some serious thought to the problems of regional policy.
Whatever hon. Members opposite may say, I am in no sense an opponent of Government intervention in industry if this can promote local employment.
I have already declared my support for the idea of a regional development agency which was put forward by the 1720 hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. William Rodgers). It looks, from the Government's decision on Upper Clyde, as if they have already gone well beyond this and accepted that the problem of regional development and the reduction of regional unemployment is a top priority and can be used to justify the refloating of one of the lamest ducks on the pond.
The Government are right. I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is in no danger of forgetting what he really meant when he first spoke about lame ducks, which was that if all British firms are treated as lame ducks there will not be enough healthy ones to bring worms for the lame ones. I am deeply suspicious of any regional policy which rests primarily or disproportionately, as our existing policy does, on physically holding back firms outside the development areas by the use of I.D.C. controls.
It seems to me that it would be far better—and I am sorry that successive Governments have not faced up to this—to compel firms in prosperous and congested areas to bear the full social costs which they impose on the community instead of actually subsidising such firms, as we do at the present time, by subsidised commuter travel, subsidised schemes of environmental improvement. subsidised housing and so on.
If, for example, commuter travel in the London area is to be subsidised—and perhaps it ought to be—then the whole burden of that subsidy ought to fall on the ratepayers of that area, including the industrial ratepayers. If we could work out a formula for this it would be a much more effective way of concentrating industrial development in the developing areas of the country than physical means such as the use of I.D.C. controls. But, above all, it seems to me that we should be very wary of putting as our first priority the reduction of the difference in living standards as between Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom. It is surely not controversial to say that it is more important to ensure an absolute rise in Welsh living standards than it is to try to narrow the gap between those standards and the standards of the rest of the United Kingdom.
This brings me to a passage in the Welsh Council's Report which causes me to have very grave reservations. It is 1721 the passage about the Government aiming at a 6 per cent. growth rate. It may very well be that such a figure is attainable, and I am sure we all hope it is, and it may be that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is about to announce this in his forthcoming Budget; but I do not think that considerations of regional policy ought to be decisive in reaching this particular and fateful decision because, if to aim at a 6 per cent. growth means that the United Kingdom is liable to return or is thought by industry to be liable to return to "stop-go", then I believe this will do incalculable harm.
It would be far better to aim at a somewhat lower rate of growth of 4½ or 5 per cent. which we are likely to be able to sustain and we are thought to be likely to be able to sustain than to aim for a higher figure and then fall flat on our faces.
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
The hon. Member will have noticed in the report a quotation from the Economist expressing the view that even if there were a 5 per cent. growth rate in this country we should still end up with a million unemployed a year from now, in 1973. Would he agree with that view?
§ Sir A. Meyer
I am not saying that the figure of 6 per cent. is necessarily wrong. What I am saying is that I think it would be wrong to settle for 6 per cent. mainly on grounds of regional development policy.
The main point I want to try to put to the House tonight is one that has been pushed to one side rather by hon. Members on both sides considering regional policy. We really have to try to make up our minds what it is we are trying to do: whether we are trying to raise living standards in Wales or to raise employment levels in Wales, because to some extent these two may be contradictory.
In particular, there is the proposal in paragraph 15 of the Welsh Council's report to raise social security benefits. I noticed that the right hon. Member for Cardiff, West supported this recommendation. It seems to me that this recommendation, above all, far from improving employment prospects in Wales, is very likely to make them substantially worse because certainly, speaking for my own area, there is already a serious problem in the Rhyl area arising from the fact 1722 that where the unemployment figure is high and industrial wages are low we may get a situation in which industrial wages are not very much higher than a man can get by taking a brief, well-paid seasonal period of employment in the summer, drawing wage-related benefit for the maximum period he is entitled to, and for the rest of the year drawing standard unemployment benefit plus supplementary benefit.
§ Mr. Goronwy Roberts
The hon. Gentleman is making a very serious and substantial point, namely, the working of the very low rates of wage in certain areas against an upward curve of social benefits. We are all aware of the difficulties this is producing. However, would he not agree that a higher growth rate would have the effect, among other things, of raising wage rates in those area which, in conditions of low or stagnant growth, pay very low wages?
Secondly, would the hon. Gentleman agree that a 6 per cent. growth rate is advocated in this report in order that the difference between the 4 to 4½ per cent. growth projected by the Chancellor—that extra 1½ per cent.—should be devoted to hard-hit areas of chronic unemployment such as Caernarvon and Penygroes?
§ Sir A. Meyer
I hope the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I do not follow through in reply to that, because I am going to cover very much of this ground in my next few sentences. Although I may not fully answer his questions, I am continuing in the spirit of his intervention.
To continue with the point I was halfway through, if an individual has to take into account, in addition to the factors I have just mentoned, the cost of travel to work, which is not tax-allowable, then he is scarcely better off working than he is not working. It really does not become some of my hon. Friends who preach the virtues of the market economy at all costs to reproach such people if they draw the logical conclusion from this and decide that they are better off not working. It seems to me that if we follow the proposal of the Welsh Council and put up social security benefits all round then, in the present circumstances and taking into account the right hon. Gentleman's intervention, we are going to make matters a good deal worse. But we shall have raised 1723 living standards throughout Wales, of course.
I am very much more enthusiastic about the Council's proposal to retain and even increase the regional employment premium, and I think a great many of my hon. Friends feel as I do. It seems to me incontrovertible that some sort of employment premium is an indispensable element of any effective policy for increasing regional employment. However, I take the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) that Wales needs not only labour-intensive industries, which could be the dying industries of tomorrow, but also modern technology industry and service industry.
None the less, a regional employment premium, or some kind of premium for employment, seems to be an essential feature of any short-term regional policy. But let us be a little frank about this. We must bear in mind that the object of a regional employment premium is not to raise industrial earnings in Wales to the highest United Kingdom levels but to induce labour-intensive industries to set up in Wales because—and let us be brutally frank—they can get their labour cheaper there. That is the object of a regional employment premium, and this benefit can be entirely undone by short-sighted attempts by organised labour to ensure wage parity with the rest of the United Kingdom.
Few things do more to increase regional unemployment than the kind of wage settlements which have been demanded by and largely conceded to car workers on Merseyside and in the Glasgow area. Here, if anywhere, there is surely a responsibility on the big unions, the T.U.C. and the Labour Party to get this message through to the shop floor. Here is the clearest of all instances of the conflict between the requirements of a fair employment policy and a policy for reducing regional income differentials.
§ Sir A. Meyer
I think I should not give way because, if as many hon. Gentlemen opposite as possible are to have a chance to speak, I should get on as quickly as I can.
1724 The Welsh Council's report will command a great deal of attention and rightly so. It is well argued, well timed, and comes at the moment when the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry must be near reaching a decision about a revised regional development policy.
Representing as I do a constituency in North Wales, I am disappointed that the report does not take the opportunity to reiterate the need for the earliest possible decision on a scheme for the Dee Estuary. A decision to go ahead with this target would have an enormous direct effect, and an even bigger multiplier effect, on economic activities in North-East Wales.
I had also hoped to see more in the report about the contribution which the tourist and ancillary industries could make to the provision of employment. We must let slip no opportunity of raising the esteem in which the tourist and leisure industries are held, and the Welsh Council is the body which should carry out this function. If those industries had a quarter the encouragement for investment that manufacturing industries get, and if they could get the manpower they need, they could make a large contribution towards helping the employment situation in Wales. As it is, we have the ridiculous state of affairs that in times of high unemployment and in areas of high unemployment the hotel and catering industry are recruiting workers from abroad, from Italy, Greece and Spain to keep going because local people out of a job have been conditioned to think that such work is not for them.
The Welsh Council's reports are usually well balanced. I do not think that I am being excessively touchy in detecting in this report an excessive pre-occupation with the interests of South Wales. It is true that in absolute though not in relative terms the unemployment problem is larger in South Wales than in North Wales, but in terms of percentage our problem is even more severe.
For South Wales the completion and early extension of the M4 is of infinitely greater significance for employment than all the carefully thought-out schemes for regional incentives contained in the Welsh Council's report. I am sure that hon. Members representing South Wales constituencies will find that the completion of the M4 will transform the whole 1725 economic climate of the area. Much as we in North Wales desire our fair share of regional aid—and we are denied a fair share of pretty well everything; we get no aid for housing, for environmental improvement or for industry, and as a Flintshire Member of Parliament I speak with considerable bitterness in this matter—we would gladly swap the whole expensive, cumbrous and dubiously effective apparatus of regional incentives for an early go-ahead for the Dee Barrage and for an extension of the English motorway system into North Wales.
§ 7.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Leo Abse (Pontypool)
The hon. Member for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer) began by paying a well-deserved compliment to my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes) for the quality and character of his contribution and reproving my party for having taken my right hon. Friend from the Front Bench to the back benches. After the speech we have heard this afternoon, I return the compliment by saying that I wonder at the folly of a political party which could have taken the Secretary of State for Wales from the back benches to the Front Bench. Although the libretto of the speech contained euphoric words, the lugubrious tones in which it was uttered reflected the appalling guilt which the Secretary of State must feel at the extraordinary situation that has come to Wales after 21 months of Tory Government.
Each hon. Member when he speaks is preoccupied, inevitably, with the problems of his constituents. My constituency, alas, is only a sad microcosm in the troubled macrocosm of the Wales of today. It is a constituency which 21 months ago felt secure and which, during the Labour Government's term of office had been given more than 3,000 jobs. Despite the inevitable changes resulting from the closure of mines and the rationalisation of the steel industry, my constituency felt that the Government were concerned and were demonstrating by the jobs that came in that people could feel a sense of emotional as well as economic security.
But now, although situated in an area labelled as a natural growth point, blow after blow has fallen upon my constituency. In spite of all the optimism this afternoon of the Secretary of State 1726 for Wales, there has been a spate of redundancies which started in the backwash of the Tories' disastrous Rolls-Royce policy and has now led to a veritable torrent as the ethos of Tory abrasiveness has enveloped both large and small engineering works.
After this short period, even while the Tory Government are announcing another new town in Llantrisant, the families in Cwmbran are now finding that their wage-earners are redundant and are being compelled to leave for England in their quest for employment. When I said in my intervention that we were in danger of having a new town for the workers, I made that intervention knowing well the situation in Cwmbran today.
To deal with the difficulties of Wales we need to understand the real nature of the challenge that faces us in the next decade. The speech of the Secretary of State for Wales gave no indication of that enormous challenge and showed no real understanding of the special position of Wales.
If we are to tackle the problem of unemployment and give the reassurances which Wales seeks we must see the problem against the background of the present quality of life in Wales. We are severely disadvantaged. From conception to death life is at a disadvantage in Wales. We begin at birth faced with the hazards of our infantile mortality rate—a perinatal mortality rate that still stubbornly stands far higher than in England or Scotland. Our morbidity rate is notorious. Death is likely to strike us much sooner than in England. The disparity between the two countries of the rates of killer ailments is witnessed by the greater vulnerability of our middle-aged men to all the fatal diseases such as heart disease and bronchitis which strikes us so severely.
On our way to an earlier grave, we fall ill more frequently than do the people living in all other regions in Britain. Nowhere else, the statistics reveal, do doctors need to prescribe so many prescriptions. I hope that the hon. Member for Flint, West with his too easy and facile approach to the question of social security benefits in Wales, will bear in mind that the amount of sickness benefit Wales draws is totally disproportionate to our population. Wales accounts for 8 per cent. of the total amount distributed 1727 although it constitutes only 5 per cent. of the population.
If there are cynics who will dismss these statistics with the suggestion that we are a nation of hypochondriacs, I remind the hon. Member for Flint, West when he talks about the folly of the Welsh Council suggesting an increase in social security benefits and anyone who seeks to scoff that the Welsh 5 per cent. of Britain's population draws more than 12 per cent. of the disablement benefits and nearly 10 per cent. of the industrial injury benefits that are distributed to the nation.
Just as the grim hazards compulsorily courted by the nature of our people's work in Wales is reflected in our chastening toll of industrial accidents, so the disparate sickness figures illuminate both the physical conditions under which our parents who gave us our constitutional endowments lived and the current conditions of the Welsh environment. In Wales life perforce has to be lived more dangerously and in inferior conditions and with less ministering than in England. If we look at the stock of houses region by region, we find that no English region exceeds the percentage of pre-1891 houses still endured by us—28 per cent. of the total dwellings. No English region has a higher proportion of 1891–1918 houses and no English region has a lower proportion of post-1944 houses than Wales. Yet a glance at the number of houses demolished or closed in 1970–71 shows that we are almost at the bottom of the league table of percentages of houses pulled down for slum clearance.
Hon. Members need no reminder, despite the passion of Wales for education, of the grim physical conditions of many of our schools. In my constituency, which is only too typical of conditions in the older part of the valley, parents are declaring—indeed they are demanding—that, although they wish for comprehensive education they insist on the 11-plus screening continuing rather than facing the attempt of mocking up within the ancient stock of schools a suitable system of comprehensive education.
All hon. Members participating in this debate, I do not doubt, could recite a similar tale of woe. The brutal truth is that, wherever we turn, it is a fact and 1728 not paranoia to declare that Wales is seriously disadvantaged. If in our stresses we suffer more from mental illnesses we find that there are fewer psychiatric beds per thousand of the population than are to be found anywhere in England or Scotland. If we seek dental treatment we jostle again with far more claimants for attention than in any region in the Kingdom. Each dentist in Wales has to carry a burden of 2,000 more patients than his English or Scottish counterpart. No wonder we are a nation of false teeth. We have far less money to live on than any of the English regions with an average weekly household income of £30.45. We are not only worse off than any English region, but we are well below Scotland, and only in Northern Ireland does less money come each week into a household.
This is the inevitable consequence not only of the structure of our wages but of the fact, rightly stressed by the Welsh Economic Council, of the large numbers of those who, although not registered as unemployed, are potentially employable if only work was available. We certainly, in the standard and quality of our lives are severely punished by our lagging behind the United Kingdom by some 15 per cent. in our employment activity rate. Puritans may think that it does not matter that each Welsh household spends less on alcoholic drink than every region in England except sober East Anglia, but no one can rejoice that each house-hold in Wales now every week spends less on food even than in Scotland, which has more than its share of troubles. The weekly expenditure of a Welsh family on the basic necessities of life catalogued in the Government's Family Survey shows Wales at the bottom of the table and able to spend even less than the North and less than Scotland. How could it be otherwise? We cannot spend what we have not got.
So when we look at our unemployment, far more than that endured by England, we must see it against the style of life that Wales has, a style of life where its quality comes not from its economic strength but despite it. We have our unemployment problem, so exacerbated by the Government's initial public expenditure cuts and by their shift from investment grants to allowances and by their 1729 decision to bring the regional employment premiums to an end, in an area where the need is self-evident for vast public expenditure if Wales is to have the same standard of quality and expectation of life that has been attained in English regions. We have unemployment which is likely, as we see from the Economic Council's Report particularly, to increase in Wales as a result of structural changes. We have a huge sum available as a result of the present position of the balance of payments and we have the need to refurbish our housing stock, improve our social insurance benefits and improve vastly our schools, hospitals and health services.
It is the task of the Government to bring together these capacities so that we can use compulsorily idle men and women and unused money in an overstocked Treasury so that both can be put to work dramatically to improve the quality of Welsh life. Only the Government's incompetence and ideology prevent this being done. The Welsh Economic Council draws attention to the fact that the private sector also has a rôle to play in this. I like this report. It has a rare distinction. Usually the Welsh are accused of sentimentality. That, perhaps, is one of our failings. This report eschews sentimentality but it shares another of our qualities, shrewdness. It does not suggest exhortation of the type which we get from the Government Front Bench—not hortatory legislation but a frank recognition, as frank as Lenin was when he cynically appealed to the Russian entrepreneur under the slogan "Enrich yourselves" as he introduced his famous New Economic Policy.
The Welsh Council knows that private enterprise has only one interest. That is profit. That is its raison d'être. Acknowledging as it does implicitly the only dynamic behind private enterprise, it proceeds to insist that only by differential tax measures will Wales attract private industry. Who can doubt that? f do not. Small or large capitalists want to know what is their take-home net profit and everything else is subsidiary. We want to know from the Government—are we to know tonight—whether they accept this dose of their own philosophy. Will the Conservative Party chairman be prepared to fight for these impeccable Conservative dogmas in the report? Will he go to the Cabinet with them? Shall 1730 we be told that he is feeling a resonance between his philosophy and that which is expounded here? Will he encourage the Government to use this bait to hook the voracious English, American and European capitalists? Will there be a welcome in the hills and valleys spelled out bilingually in terms of differential corporation tax in favour of profits earned in Welsh development areas?
Now is the time for the Secretary of State for Wales to exert his charm on the Chancellor of the Exchequer. And the right hon. and learned Gentleman obviously possesses charm, even though perhaps nobody concedes to him any other political qualities. Indeed, the people of Wales believe that charm is all the right hon. and learned Gentleman has. Furthermore, the Secretary of State is in the Cabinet. In the light of the evidence put forward by the Welsh Economic Council, how hard is the right hon. and learned Gentleman pressing to make sure that something comes out of this good and thoughtful report? It is, of course, not only a question of investment by private enterprise. The challenge that is implicit in the Welsh Economic Council's report relates to the machinery which is required to mobilise public investment. I am suggesting that such investment is needed on an even greater scale if life in Wales is to have more quality and style.
What did we get from the Secretary of State today? Did we get any of the strategy for which my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes) was asking, in face of a challenge such as that put forward by the Welsh Economic Council and by my comments? How can I ask him to embark on a great scheme for a public corporation in Wales or for him to co-ordinate nationalisation investment together with a true regional policy? The right hon. and learned Gentleman has been dithering and dancing around for months in even deciding whether to make the Cwmbran new town a development area. How can I ask him to embark on a major policy of refurbishing housing in Wales when we see the Government's pin-pricking efforts to thwart even the move by Blaenavon Council in obtaining over a longer period increased grants to improve the quality of its housing?
1731 The right hon. and learned Gentleman's speech was a miserable performance. It did not rise at all to the real challenge that is facing Wales. It is a chapter of which the right hon. and learned Gentleman, as a Welshman, cannot feel very proud. I hope that the Government will realise that there is capacity within the United Kingdom economy to take yet another major step forward in improving the style of life of Wales, as was the situation under Labour tenure of office. However, I doubt whether there is any possibility of that taking place until we have turned this Government out of office.
§ 7.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
The hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) has made his contribution to this debate with his usual striking vigour and style. I have often wondered why the hon. Gentleman himself lives in England, having heard his catalogue of woe today about the economic conditions in Wales.
§ Mr. Hooson
I agreed with many of the criticisms put forward by the hon. Gentleman. I read in The Times today a summary of a report on conditions in E.E.C. countries and I would regard that report as of great importance as a background to this debate. This debate takes place at a time when we are seeking to enter the E.E.C. Those who have read the report or the summary of it that has appeared in The Times will appreciate the contrast between economic activity in a most favoured area of the Common Market, such as the area around Hamburg in Germany, and the activity in a less favoured area such as that in Calabria which lies at the foot of Italy. The differences are enormous.
That report contains an analysis of the population growth trends in these countries and the strength of economic activity. We must face the fact that certain areas are much favoured economically and that others need a great deal of artificial or outside help. If we take this matter a 1732 little further, we find in that report an analysis of the trend of the movement of population, and it can be seen that the situation in France reflects a movement of population to the south coast, as indeed has happened in the United Kingdom. This has not yet happened in Italy, but there is a population movement towards Sicily. Certainly in Sweden, the United States and in California we see the movement of population towards the better favoured areas. This disparity between one area and another, even within the same economic union, can become greater and, if unchecked, is much more emphasised as economic sophistication develops.
This disparity is equally true of our country. Wales was in the vanguard of the industrial revolution. My own part of mid-Wales in 1800 had a very much larger population than it has today. Mid-Wales was part of the first industrial revolution and, historically, this was based on water power, the woollen industry and so on. Mention has already been made of Merthyr which was in the van of this activity in the late periods of the first industrial revolution and in the van of the second industrial revolution. The industries in what is now a problem area like Merthyr were developed at a very early stage. There was a period towards the end of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century when the South Wales coal miners were the highest paid industrial workers in the whole of Europe. When we compare our industrial activity and wage levels in Wales today with other areas, we realise how we have been steadily falling behind. We can see this emphasised in the situation in Ireland when we see what has happened in the Republic in terms of depopulation and unemployment. Therefore, it is obvious that special measures for special areas are necessary to deal with this situation.
I share the view advanced in the Economist that we could increase national output by 20 per cent. without any investment. In terms of certain areas of Wales as in the country generally, it is not only a problem of unemployment but also of under-employment. Firms are attempting to keep workers in employment when they know very well that they are under-employed. This has happened, and is happening, in my area. If we 1733 had a 20 per cent. increase in output nationally, I believe that we could do this without investing in another single machine. There would be a 5 per cent. growth rate as a result and yet at the end of that period there would still be the same number unemployed.
The present Government have grossly under-estimated the unemployment problem which is besetting the whole country. Indeed, all political parties have under-estimated it. This is a far more intractable problem than has ever been acknowledged by political parties.
The present trend of unemployment began with the Labour Government in dealing with balance of payments problems. That trend has continued unarrested until now. The Chancellor of the Exchequer last year was completely out in his estimate of the effect of the reflationary measures he was then taking. He will be grossly out this year if newspaper prognostications are right about his intentions.
Although the problems of Wales cannot be divorced from the problems of the United Kingdom as a whole, I believe the Government are grossly under-estimating the problems of the country as a whole as well as specifically of Wales. Since Wales is a far less favoured area and needs special measures, the position and prospects in Wales are much more serious. When there is a natural growth in the economy as a whole experience tells us that the growth is seen in the better-favoured areas first. The unemployment rate for South-East England is vastly less than it is for Wales. If reflationary measures have effect, they will have effect in South-East England rather than in Wales.
The Government have grossly underestimated the problem of reflation especially in Wales. They were foolish on ideological grounds to take many of the steps which they took when they first came into office. They were so determined to have some change of style, some change of approach. For example, investment allowances took the place of investment grants. That was a fatal mistake as far as Wales is concerned.
I come to mid-Wales to illustrate my point because there is a special problem in mid-Wales. For many of the firms who come to mid-Wales—the small firms 1734 starting without a great profit history behind them, short of capital and so on—the investment grants were an enormous help. It was a great mistake on the part of the Government to have abolished them. They did so entirely on ideological grounds.
We have had these general speeches about lame ducks and now we have £35 million being invested on the Clyde—a complete turn around. It does not make sense. Taking that as an example, we could almost have built a brand new shipyard further towards the mouth of the river in the Clyde and had a really up-to-date ship building industry there, instead of having this ideological battle on whether they should put money in originally or not. The Government have ended up by putting in far more money than was ever needed. In the end, they have even put it in the wrong place.
I want to come back to mid-Wales. I was sorry to have missed the Secretary of State's speech. I am told that what I missed may have blunted the edge of my criticism. I am told too that what it had in charm, it lacked in inspiration and general direction. That is hearsay, but I am told on the best authority that it is true.
I understand that the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not mention the problem of mid-Wales. We not only have unemployment there, we have a masked unemployment in the form of depopulation; people do not stay to be unemployed. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will remember his own party's attack—and I certainly joined in—on the Labour Party's proposals for a rural development corporation for agriculture.
The hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan) knows full well that I have said on many occasions that the great mistake the Labour Party made was to try to bring in a rural development corporation for mid-Wales to deal with agriculture when it should have dealt with industry in the small towns. That would have been of greater benefit. I do not want to go over the whole ground again, but that corporation would at least have had an investment of £1½ million a year in mid-Wales. It was an investment entirely in the wrong direction, for agriculture did not need that kind of treatment. It was industry in the small towns 1735 which needed it, and that investment was not available for industry in the small towns.
But, ever since the Secretary of State has been in power, he has said that he was going to make a statement of his policy on mid-Wales. We are still waiting. He has had delegations to see him from the Mid-Wales Industrial Association, and they have gone away disappointed. Members of Parliament from the mid-Wales area have been to see him, and we too have come away disappointed.
What is the Government's policy for mid-Wales? The one bright spot in mid-Wales is that we have money being pumped in through the Newtown Development Corporation, and therefore Newtown is progressing. Newtown is a success. It is a modest success, but then it is a modest scheme. Mid-Wales is a modest place.
The proposal that the remit of the Newtown Development Corporation should be extended to other towns in mid-Wales has a great deal to commend it. The expertise and the finance which would be available could be of great benefit to mid-Wales. The Government have refused to accept this invitation. They have not yet absolutely turned it down, but so far they have shown no signs of accepting it. Yet what is their own policy for mid-Wales? What is the alternative to it? In the context of the general economic situation of this country, in an area like mid-Wales—and this is broadly true of Wales as a whole—we need public investment. One cannot have growth in Wales without public investment.
Many of the economic papers emanating from Common Market countries argue in favour of adopting regional policies such as those we have in the past had in this country. Taking a rather detached view between the Government and the Opposition, I would say that this is right; all less favoured areas depend on regionally directed help.
One result of this Government's economic policy has been to slim British industry. Industry could not afford to carry people on an uneconomic basis. Where five men were previously doing four men's work, there are now four men doing four men's work. If the fifth is to have employment, it needs a great deal more 1736 Investment than this Government have ever contemplated.
In Wales, a good deal of that investment must necessarily come from public investment. That is unavoidable, whatever one thinks about it. Whether one does it through something like the Newtown Development Corporation or through a rural development corporation, investment has to come to a large extent from the public purse. The disappointing thing about this Government is that whereas they have succeeded in slimming industry, they have shown no sign of realising the other complementary measures which are needed.
One of the great points in favour of the Labour Opposition when they were in power was that they had good regional policies. One may have disagreed with the way some of them worked in detail—and it is possibly arguable that at times the Conservative Party may have done more in power to improve the economy as a whole—but the Labour Party did better in sharing out the good things of the economy between the regions.
It can be argued that Labour did better for the less-favoured regions, even though it can equally be argued that the Conservatives have done better for the economy generally. At the present time, with over a million people unemployed, with an enormously high unemployment rate in Wales, it is disappointing in the extreme that the Secretary of State has no real plans for putting this matter right.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)
Order. Before calling the next hon. Member, I must draw the attention of hon. Members to the fact that approximately a dozen people are seeking to take part in this debate, and there are less than 90 minutes in which they can do SO.
§ 7.39 p.m.
§ Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)
I will curtail a substantial part of my remarks and I hope to sit down in a very short time.
But for the personal tragedy of 50,000 and more men, women and families in Wales, one would dismiss the Government's Amendment to our Motion tonight as an unpleasant and flippant joke. I want to spend a little time looking at that Amendment. The Government say 1737 they are concerned about the level of unemployment, and yet the figures go up month after month and year after year. Even if they do level off in the course of the year, it will take a long time for them to come down to any acceptable level.
Whoever penned this Government Amendment, I wonder whether at any time the Secretary of State or his Minister of State, have sat down to talk to half a dozen unemployed in Wales and realised the human tragedy of the total waste that is now going on. The Secretary of State may have a great deal of charm, but I suspect that he has not an ounce of influence in the Cabinet. My hon. Friends may ask him to visit this institution and that institution. But what is the use of doing that when he and his Government have bankrupt policies? Following their dogma, they have rejected all that we sought to do. They have abandoned investment grants, and regional employment premium is coming to an end. They are pursuing their own dogmatic interests.
They promise improvement and "longterm growth measures."But there is a complete absence of reference to any short-term measure. That shows the Government's confidence of anything being done in the foreseeable future. They say that Wales must depend on "increased general prosperity." There is no suggestion that they have any successful regional policy to tackle the real problems of Wales.
We all know that the Government today are a bunch of frightened men. On 21st March, we expect the Chancellor of the Exchequer to announce a major reversal of the policies that we have had in the past 20 months. Perhaps, then, the Secretary of State will be able to visit Wales and face the real problems which are there. I am sure that he will perambulate merrily from place to place, although he has attacked all that we have done. He will sing the new song with the evangelical zeal of the Vicar of Bray.
What is the message which will go out from this debate to the people of Glamorgan, especially to those in the Port Talbot travel to work area, where there are 2,665 unemployed men today? How right was my right hon. Friend the 1738 Member for Anglesey (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes) when he said that in his time there was no concern about Wrexham and Cwmbran but that the problems were to the west and higher up the valleys. If there is this fundamental problem in the plains in Port Talbot and Bridgend, what hope is there for West Wales?
Only the other day, I went to a public meeting organised by a semi-Government agency at Blaengwynfi. In the area covered by the Cymmer employment exchange, on the basis of the latest available figures, 500 men were in employment. According to the latest available unemployment figures, 262 men are out of work. Anyone walking in the streets of the three villages is liable to run into an unemployed person for every one of three people whom he meets.
The Government may say that it is unfair to take that sort of view of the unemployment situation. They say that one has to consider a travel to work area. But even on the basis of a more generous assessment of that kind, one person out of every five is unemployed. In these three little villages, 100 men have been unemployed for more than six months. No wonder the Secretary of State ignores any suggestions that he should come and face the music in Blaengwynfi, Cymmer, Croeserw and Glyncorrwg.
One would think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would welcome a visit of that kind. If nothing else, it would relieve the tedium of opening Tory bazaars. One suspects that the Secretary of State visits Wales today with the enthusiasm of an absentee Irish landlord collecting rents in the middle of the potato famine. It is a grave and fundamental tragedy which faces us.
On 7th March, I tabled a Question asking how many disabled people seeking work there were in Wales and what was being done for them. I was told that 7,330 were unemployed and required work in Wales, 3,584 of them in Glamorgan and 696 in the Port Talbot area alone.
What were the proposals of the Government? I was told:The measures we have taken to expand the economy and create more employment opportunities in the assisted areas should generally improve employment prospects, including those of disabled persons in Wales.1739They should also benefit from the measures to help disabled people which I announced in the House on 25th March, 1971 … which include plans for 340 more places in sheltered work shops." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th March, 1972; Vol. 832, c. 297.]That is against a background of more than 7,000 disabled people who require work.
I wish that there were more time to go into the grave problems which are being ignored by the party opposite. However, I was glad to hear the right hon. and learned Gentleman's assurances early today about the Ministry of Defence centre in Cardiff. I hope that he will examine his assurances carefully when he said that the only problem was which part of the Ministry of Defence was going to Cardiff, with 1,500 jobs involved, and not whether it was going there at all. I understand that the whole matter is in the melting pot, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to read the answers which were given by the Minister for Public Building and Works, because the moment that we left the Ministry of Defence there was back-tracking. Every effort is being made, I am told successfully being made, to make sure that the Ministry does not have to come to Cardiff.
The real problem is the break down of any further decentralisation of Government offices. It is all very well for the Secretary of State to say, as he did today, that he is willing to share some of the credit with my right hon. and hon. Friends. What is there to share? Why did not he answer my question? What proposal has been made since he and his right hon. Friends took office to decentralise one Government office into Wales? The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows that the answer is, "Not one".
My people are deeply concerned about the need for new investment in steel at Port Talbot. Only the other day, five of my hon. Friends and a large number of local authority representatives, at a meeting instigated by the works council, were convened together to try to ensure that we could bring the maximum pressure to bear so that speedy decisions might be made on vital steel investment in the Port Talbot area. The Government have stalled. They have put back the proposals for steel investment into 1740 the melting pot. We still await the report of the joint steering group. Nothing has emerged so far.
If there is no immediate hope of a large integrated steel mills for South Wales or for any other part of the country now that we are poised to go into the Common Market, we must invest in the existing steel industries in Wales and elsewhere. I hope that we shall have an early announcement before it is too late. I hope that the Ministers concerned will meet us shortly so that we can tell them what is the position, as we are concerned.
Over the years, we have had redundancy after redundancy. My people are apprehensive that a Government which fought tooth and nail our proposals to bring this great industry into public ownership will not readily see a greater injection of public money into publicly-owned industries.
I assure the Secretary of State that the people of Wales will not tolerate the high level of unemployment, the bankruptcy of the Government's policies, their apologies and their failure to do anything to avert the great human tragedies which occur in household after household from one end of Wales to the other.
§ 7.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Nicholas Edwards (Pembroke)
I recognise that it is the traditional practice of Oppositions to castigate and blame Governments for all the troubles of the world. They do it with special relish when they are conscious that they bear some share of responsibility for the existence of the troubles. They do it with a sense of relief when they have no solutions to offer. They do it with a special venom and feeling of frustration when they see the tide of political and economic fortune turning and their own prospects of success beginning to recede into the far distance.
§ Mr. Edwards
All that is understandable and well known. It calls for no originality on the part of those involved. It is just a posturing to disguise their own lack of capacity. No one is better at it than the right hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. George Thomas). No one has greater need to be.
1741 If the Opposition had tabled a Motion regretting that we had not yet found solutions for the problems of the regions, they would have made a perfectly valid point and we might have gone on to discuss what the solutions should be with some prospect of at least limited success. There is no prospect at all if we start from the ludicrously false premises contained in the Opposition Motion. It is, as I shall seek to show, self-evident nonsense that our present ills are the direct responsibility of the economic policies of Her Majesty's Government. The aches and pains were there, the temperature was rising and the virus well established when the Labour Party was in charge of our affairs.
Professor Glyn Davies, who has already been quoted in this debate by hon. Members opposite, in the course of a lecture delivered on 23rd October, 1970, while the economic policies of the present Government were still emerging from the chrysalis, had this to say about the statistics of industrial production in Wales:the figures for 1969 would appear to show that the credit squeeze has hit Wales much harder than England:: for the first time in seven years Welsh output declined, even in the hitherto dynamic manufacturing sector. The increase in unemployment to record postwar levels and the continued decline in male employment, which fell by 62,000 between 1964 and 1969, demonstrate once again how easy it is to fall back down the hump and justify the question mark in the title of this paper. Thus after six years when manufacturing output increased by almost one-third—a minor miracle by previous post-war standards—growth suddenly ceased".The 1970 figures, published after that speech, confirmed the analysis that growth had ceased, had been killed by the policies of the Labour Administration.
The hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams) is aware of the importance of growth. In the debate in the Welsh Grand Committee on 28th April, 1971, he said:An extra 1 per cent. of growth would mean 250,000 fewer unemployed in this country, so if we speak of a I per cent. rate of growth we speak in meaningful terms with regard to helping Wales." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, Welsh Grand Committee, 28th April, 1971; c. 77.]We could argue about the exact relationship of growth to employment, but the hon. Gentleman was right in the principles of his analysis which is amply 1742 supported by the Welsh Council Report "Wales: Employment and the Economy". Yes, when we speak of growth we speak in meaningful terms, and the Government in which the hon. Gentleman served destroyed that growth.
Other indices confirm the shattering consequence of Labour policies. There was the fall in the rate of growth in real consumer expenditure which helped to create the frustration and inflationary wage pressures to which the collapse of other Socialist policies gave full rein; there was the fall, by over one-third, in the number of new company formations; and there was the increase in unemployment, from 25,000 to over 40,000, deliberately engineered in the period after 1966. The fact that it was deliberate was acknowledged by the hon. Member for Heywood and Royton (Mr. Joel Barnett) speaking from the Opposition Front Bench in the debate before Christmas when he intervened in a speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Parkinson).
The Economist highlighted another feature of the inheritance when, on 1st January, it declared:Britain's long investment slump was an inevitable consequence of the Labour Government's war against profits.The House may. therefore, treat with some derision the terms of the Motion and get on to the important matter of consideration for the real problems which face us.
I personally regard with some optimism the prospects for achieving and sustaining the higher levels of growth which we all accept are essential. This general optimism, which does not ignore the more uncomfortable realities, was borne out by the O.E.C.D. Economic Survey in December, which said:when viewed together, the initiatives and measures so far taken form a consistent initial strategy for dealing with the entire group of problems, and for breaking out of the 'vicious circle' in which the United Kingdom has been caught in the past. The hopes raised by larger markets within the E.E.C., and some recognition of the challenge which competition within the market presents, may assist in bringing more positive and dynamic responses to opportunity. Policy can help this process by providing buoyant demand conditions and dealing with market imperfections. A start has already been made; the need now is to maintain the momentum both in the struggle against structural problems and inflation and in the effort to improve longer term economic performance".1743 That is in itself a total rejection by an independent body of the case advanced by the Opposition.
Earlier the report had rightly referred to the need for imaginative policies to deal with regional problems. For that reason I entirely concur with the opinion of the Scottish Council that theGovernment should accept regional policy not as an instrument to afford kindly help to the regions, but as a central—an axial—part of British policy as a whole.I do not believe that it is a question of setting one party's regional policy against another. I take the view that both have been far from perfect, that the differences can have had no more than a marginal impact and that a period of economic' stagnation is the worst possible time to compare the results of incentives which are designed to function in a growth situation.
In the climate in which we have lived since Labour stopped growth dead in its tracks, changing regional incentives could have meant no more than tinkering at the margin—a judgment fully confirmed by the Welsh Council in paragraph 27 of its report. That is one reason why the Labour attack is wholly misdirected.
It is a fallacious argument that the current sluggishness in industrial development in Wales is due to changes in regional incentives. It was absolutely right that during this period of hard pounding the Government should prepare for the break-out by concentrating on a massive expansion of infrastructure and environmental improvement. But now we are coming to the moment when we need new policies to exploit a unique opportunity, and I want to examine some of the possibilities.
Before doing so, I should simply say about the Welsh Council's demand for a 6 per cent. growth rate—that to move to a higher growth rate that is sustainable is no easy matter. For that reason, the objective may well be in conflict with the very sensible belief expressed by the Councilthat a stable rate of growth of demand over a period of years is as important as availability of finance and short run consumer demand".The Welsh Council makes a number of proposals for regional policy. It 1744 suggests a material upward revision of social security benefits over all the United Kingdom and states that this would have a greater incidence in Wales due to greater dependence in Wales on such benefits. This argument would be more convincing if it had told us what the effect of the additional cost of these benefits would be on demand as a whole and if it had related this proposal to its request for an examination in depth of the structure of Welsh unemployment. I suspect that the increase in social security benefits could have a disincentive effect and actually add to the high unemployment and low activity rates in some areas
In answer to the point made by the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse), if indeed the situation is as bleak as he painted it, it does not seem to me to be a reason for applying an increase in social security benefits over all the United Kingdom. Surely it provides a reason for picking out the groups in greatest need.
On regional employment premium I retain an open mind, though it is disturbing that so high a proportion—I think more than 50 per cent. in some regions—of firms which moved into the regions during the period since 1967 are still making profits less than the premium which they receive. The attraction of a special tax allowance in respect of wages and salaries is worthy of serious consideration.
I then come to what is surely one of the great contradictions in the Welsh Council Report. It argues that there has been an over-emphasis on incentives, slanted towards capital expenditure, and, perhaps quite reasonably, it thinks that we should concentrate:the weight of any new measures which are taken upon employment-related incentives.A "strong body of opinion" in the council argues the case for investment grants. Yet the argument against investment grants, apart from the fact that they are wasteful, has always been, as the council's own figures show, that they attract capital-intensive industry.
This point was spelled out clearly in the National Institute Economic Review in November, 1968:…the effect is systematically to segregate the most capital-intensive industries in the assisted areas and the labour-intensive ones outside them. Since the development areas are the places where labour is less scarce than elsewhere, this does not seem to be a desirable effect; nor does it seem appropriate 1745 to re-equip them preferentially with the modern equivalents of the heavy cyclically-sensitive nineteenth century industries which, in their twentieth century decline have been a source for so many of the development areas' woes.The argument, I confess, is not conclusive, because the capital-intensive industries tend to be the growth industries, as my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) pointed out. But what we need is a proper balance of incentives.
The O.E.C.D. report concludes a discussion on this very point with an interesting and highly relevant comment:…recent changes in fiscal incentives, notably the decision to abolish regional employment premiums, in 1974, may be open to question. But the replacement of investment grants by increased depreciation allowances available to the service—as well as the manufacturing and extractive—industries in investment in immobile plant and machinery may serve to speed up the employment multiplier effects of new capital investment. In addition, substantial improvements have been made in the grants and loans available to industries under the Local Employment Acts, and these are tied to the provision of jobs.If that is true, the Government may not be anything like as far out in their regional strategy as the Opposition have contended.
I suspect that they have got the right skeleton, to which they now have to add sinew and muscle. It may take the form proposed by the Scottish Council and others—free depreciation of capital equipment for several years. That would provide a much-needed boost to the makers of capital equipment and would give companies all over Britain more cash now.
If any development area policy is to be effective, we cannot afford to ignore the importance of the growth point concept, whether it takes the form of an industrial complex of the type found in Southern Italy and Central Lancashire and envisaged in the Oceanspan concept in Scotland, or the more limited shape of a new town. But new towns have played a key part in the successful development of a number of areas. All the evidence suggests that the growth rate in such places is higher than where development is indiscriminate.
That is why I believe that the Government have taken one of the most important and hopeful of all their long-term decisions for Wales in deciding to proceed 1746 with the Llantrisant new town. My own fear is that they may not have been ambitious enough in deciding the scale and may not be vigorous enough in pressing on with the development.
Those who see Llantrisant as the death knell of the valley communities are blind to the realities of the situation——
§ Mr. Edwards
I entirely concur with Professor Davis in the importance he attaches to the project and in his belief thatthe population of most of the valley communities will inevitably decline and if the vigorous mobile youngsters do not move to Llantrisant they are likely to move to England or overseas. The developments at Llantrisant are a means of retaining population and increasing incomes in the valley communities and in Cardiff, Barry and Cowbridge over and above what they otherwise would be".I say to the Government, "Press on with all speed".
I make two other pleas. I hope that the Government will not ignore the fact that tourism is one of the major growth industries in the world and brings in over £100 million a year to Wales. It deserves encouragement, it needs every incentive to improve its all-too-often inadequate facilities and to extend its season.
The other matter I have raised at Question Time and in correspondence with my right hon. and learned Friend and with the Minister for Industry. I do not believe that we are being flexible enough in the type of Government factory that we are prepared to erect in rural areas. I cite the example of St. David's Assemblies, a highly successful company which wishes to expand. I cannot understand why it is possible to meet its requirements in Scotland but not in Wales. I will not be satisfied until this situation is reversed.
By their ineptitude the Labour Government set in motion a whirlwind and left a ruin. What they should be engaged in today is an act of penitence and contrition and a prayer that what they so singularly failed to achieve may be brought to fruition by the present Government.
§ 8.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Roy Hughes (Newport)
The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Nicholas 1747 Edwards) accused the last Labour Government of creating unemployment. I wonder whether he has heard of pit closures. The Labour Government induced many new industries to come to Wales, but this unfortunately was counteracted by pit closures. In their 13 disastrous years of office, the Conservative Government originally took the decision to run down the mining industry. Many people would argue today, of course, that that decision was a mistake, particularly due to the flop of nuclear energy.
I appreciate that it is a long-held view that the cure for unemployment in Wales was to erect new manufacturing industries, but it is realised now that capital-intensive industries with high productivity consequently have a tendency to cut back on labour requirements. The Welsh Council Report shows that it too has now come to this conclusion, but it is certainly not a new concept.
I should like to see a greater share of one sector of manufacturing industry go to Wales—that is, the motor industry. It is highly capitalised, but it is a substantial employer of labour in highly remunerative employment. The additional argument for Wales is that we produce the steel which is so basic to the manufacture of motor cars.
In addition, we are now creating excellent road links both with the Midlands and the South-East, the traditional areas for the motor industry. We can now become more integrated with those areas and our people will benefit as a result. The new communication links with the Midlands and South-East could offset the conclusion which Lord Stokes, Chairman of British Leyland, recently reached. He is quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying that it costs his company no less than £7 million a year to locate its factories in development areas. However, these new links of communication in areas like South Wales mean that such areas can becomes more closely integrated with the traditional areas of the motor industry, so offsetting his argument.
The Welsh Council Report also calls for additional financial inducements to labour-intensive industries. It is worth considering in this connection the excellent harbour facilities at Milford Haven. Millions of pounds have been invested in 1748 the area, which nevertheless still has a very high level of unemployment. Unfortunately this can be said of the whole of the region about which I am speaking, because since the war there has been a build-up of capital intensive industries.
Even in the traditional coal and steel industries there has been a big drop in manpower, not only as a result of closures but through technological innovation. For example, the East Moors steelworks in Cardiff are totally different from the Spencer works at Llanwern, basically because of technological innovation.
It is against this background that one wonders why the Government are doing away with the regional employment premium in 1974. Some sort of wage related supplement is obviously necessary in view of the situation in Wales. As the Welsh Council says, we could make provision to ensure that capital is retained rather than distributed, and it seems that there are precedents in our taxation law for doing this.
The argument for reintroducing investment grants is obvious. After all, the Government's decisions on R.E.P. and investment grants have undermined the confidence of business men and consequently have had a sad effect on the level of investment. I particularly emphasise this because the Motion refers to the failure of Government policies. On these two issues their failure is obvious and I ask the Government to think again.
Good industrial relations are essential for a sound and prosperous economy. Why did the Government push through their iniquitous Industrial Relations Act? All the major trade unions have refused to co-operate with that legislation.
I am a sponsored hon. Member of the Transport and General Workers' Union and I am proud of my trade union connection. Some time ago I received some correspondence from the General Secretary of the T. & G.W.U., Mr. Jack Jones, one being a letter which somehow got into his hands. It had been addressed to an employee of International Computers and was from the Conservative Central Office. Perhaps I should make it clear that I have given the Secretary of State notice of my intention to raise this matter. At the top of the paper appears the title: 1749Conservative and Unionist Central Office—Chairman of the Party, the right hon. Peter Thomas, Q.C., M.P.Dated 18th January, the letter reads:David Lane has sent me a copy of your letter of 12th January in which you ask for advice on the establishment of a breakaway union from the A.C.T.S.S. You suggest that this union should be called The International Computer Association. Might I suggest that you interpose the word 'Operators' between 'Computer' and 'Association', which would then become ' The International Computer Operators Association '? It would certainly be a very much better union from the negotiating angle if it were non-political and registered. The creation of a new union is in reality a very simple process. It only requires that there should be a meeting of interested persons to pass a motion declaring that the new union should be established, and thereafter preliminary steps should be taken to frame the rules and objects of the Association, together with the necessary financial support that such an Association would require.It goes on:I do not think you will have very much difficulty in establishing a new union, providing you get sufficient support for the object in which you believe.The letter is signed by Mr. J. McDonald Watson of the Industrial Department.
Mr. Jones then sent me a copy of a letter which he had sent to Mr. Victor Feather, General Secretary of the T.U.C. dated 8th February. The letter stated, among other things:The reason I am sending on this letter to you is that it clearly indicates the deliberate intention by the Conservative and Unionist Central office to encourage breakaway trade unions.The Secretary of State for Employment was quoted in The Times on Tuesday of this week as denying any intention by the Conservative Central Office to encourage breakaway unions in this way, but I was not convinced by his reply.
It so happens that before I came to this House I was a member of the national committee of this section of the T. & G.W.U. I therefore wrote to the Chairman of the Conservative Party asking him to investigate the matter. Up to now I have received no reply, but it is clear from the correspondence I have that the intention of the Conservative Party and of the Government is to try to weaken the trade union movement and to encourage the formation of breakaway unions. I was interested to note that under the headingI.C.I. snubs new union law1750 in The Guardian today it is stated by Keith Harper:An agreement signed by I.C.I. and 10 unions representing 60,000 workers in effect cocks a snook at the Industrial Relations Act.Later he writes:They are convinced that the most effective system of industrial relations is one based on voluntary agreement.Mr. Harper goes on:The statement signed by both sides makes it clear that the firm is not likely to encourage the forming of rogue staff associations within the company to oppose established unions who may otherwise be unregistered under the Act.It is clear that our big companies realise the folly of this Act which the Government have introduced into our voluntary system. I am glad that the Labour Party have decided that one of their first acts as a Government will be to remove this iniquitous Act from the Statute Book.
The debate is about the failure of the present Government's policies. They have certainly failed in my part of the world. Newport and the surrounding area has been traditionally a prosperous area. I referred to it once as the Birmingham of Wales, because it used to be a veritable hive of industry. But now nearly 3,000 men are unemployed. The situation is even more dramatic in Monmouthshire as a whole, with over 8,000 men unemployed. The position is equally tragic for young people. In Newport the closures of two very important factories are under way, British Aluminium and the Stewarts and Lloyds tube works. Some 1,500 jobs for men are involved. It is worth pointing out that Stewarts and Lloyds is no lame duck. The workers at the tube works are resolved to fight the proposal of closure in any and every way that they can.
Newport certainly needs development area status at present. It provides employment for not only the citizens of Newport but for those of much of the surrounding area. But, as the Welsh Council Report points out:The Council considers that a fundamental pre-condition to the successful application of a development area policy is the existence of a buoyant confident economy and a pre-disposition to investment. It does not consider that inducements in the absence of these circumstances have, at best, more than a marginal effect.I agree with those sentiments.
We are now in the pre-Budget period, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has 1751 gone into purdah. We wish him well in his endeavours. To transform the present situation in Wales he will need all the qualities of the old magician Merlin, especially to arrest the catastrophic unemployment created in Wales by the present Government. He needs rather more than the incentives of last year's Budget which proved nothing more than a give-away to the better off sections of the community. The envisaged increase in investment did not materialise. I hope, therefore, that he will this year start the other way around by giving a substantial increase to the old people. After all, they need it most. Furthermore, they will spend it in the shops and assist in keeping our people in employment and in creating the vitally necessary new jobs.
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Roberts (Cardiff, North)
It is not my intention to speak at great length, not only because I am concerned that other hon. Members should have an opportunity to speak but also because I am finding it difficult to project my voice.
I have listened with great interest to the speeches of hon. Members on the Opposition side. There has been that usual mixture of concern and compasssion. But I wish they would not think that this was their prerogative alone. They feel no more compassion for the unemployed than I and my hon. Friends. Hon. Members opposite have no right to assume that the concern for the unemployed is theirs and not ours. They would have greater force, in terms of credibility, if they admitted to bearing some of the responsibility. But not a bit of it. We have the constant argument, time after time, that the responsibility is entirely that of the present Government because of their failure. There is no mention of the fact so forcibly brought out by my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Nicholas Edwards) that the growth element had ceased towards the end of the Labour Government's rule. There is no recognition that the profitability of industry had fallen in the six years of Labour Government to the point at which there was not the money in industry to invest to create the necessary employment on which we all depend.
Gone are the days when one could simply say "Let us pump more money 1752 into the economy." It is, of course, necessary to do that. But gone are the days when one could suggest that merely by pumping money into the economy all would be well, because there is the element of structural unemployment. This was put, in terms, by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister when he spoke in the debate on unemployment three or four weeks ago, when he said that more was produced by every 19 workers today than previously had been produced by 20 workers.
I was very moved—particularly because of the state of my voice—by the words of the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Coleman) when he said that the Welsh Nationalist Party was suffering from political laryngitis. I am sure that when he made that remark he was thinking particularly of the forthcoming by-election at Merthyr Tydvil. But I must warn the hon. Member, in case he was not in the Chamber when his hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) spoke, that the Welsh Nationalist Party will soon recover its political voice.
The hon. Member for Pontypool, in a long, reasoned lament for the people of Wales, pointed out many of the disadvantages we suffer. Amongst some of the matters to which he referred was the fact that we have far fewer doctors and dentists in proportion to the population than has England. What surprised me greatly was to learn for the first time that we are almost at the bottom of the beer-drinking league. I would not have suspected that, from casual observation; but apparently it is true. I point out to the hon. Member for Neath—no doubt the hon. Member for Pontypool is well aware of it—that if that is so, it is no indictment of a Conservative Government who have been in office for a matter of 18 months. It might well be taken as an indictment of the previous six years of Labour government. I am quite sure that when the Welsh Nationalists recover their voice they will use it as ammunition and I am sure they will use it in the by-election at Merthyr.
The right hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. George Thomas) referred to male unemployment in Swansea and the 7 per cent. rate of unemployment in Cardiff. One of the reasons for high male unemployment in the Cardiff area was the introduction of S.E.T. The tax 1753 was intended to shake out people from the service industries but in Cardiff no manufacturing industries could take up the labour that was shaken out. Cardiff is one of the most under-industrialised cities in the country. We have just heard that the proposal to establish and extend the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology has been turned down on the Buchanan site. I can well understand why. It would have involved a great deal of social hardship and the disruption of a large number of houses. I was one of the very few to give evidence at the inquiry poiniting out the disadvantages in social terms, particularly to the old people whose homes would be disrupted in the area north of Cathays Park.
It is essential that a new site be found quickly in the city for U.W.I.S.T. because it is part of the plan of the city authority to have such a university of higher education so that we can generate further employment in the area.
There is an aspect of structural unemployment in the Cardiff area which concerns our major industrial enterprise, the East Moors steelworks along with the G.K.N. works. We frequently hear discussion about steel industry development on new green-field or brown-field sites. They are more efficient and therefore workers in the less sophisticated and older steelworks face the possibility of losing their jobs. We have great hopes in Cardiff that the East Moors works will be safe and that iron and steel smelting will continue in the area as a result of what we trust will be successful negotiations with the G.K.N. company.
I do not take a gloomy view of the prospects of the next few months. We can achieve a high rate of growth and we can get rid of much of the unemployment which now affects Wales. One of the most important requirements is to establish effective retraining facilities. In the early nineteenth century South Wales depended on the export of coal based chiefly on unskilled labour. By contrast the skilled labour content in Germany and the U.S.A. was much higher and the facilities for technical education were far better. Britain at that time was cushioned by imports paid for by interest on overseas investments and the nation's backwardness in technical education reduced 1754 both the supply and the demand for highly-skilled technicians. The Government are placing great emphasis on retraining and, like hon. Members opposite, I attach great importance to it also. The Labour Government pursued a similar policy when they were in office.
In addition to this great retraining drive, we have a tremendous improvement in communications. Hon. Members have already referred to the developments of the M4 and M5 and the proposed rapid introduction of a bypass north of Cardiff. This gives us a tremendous opportunity to link up with the motorway network. It is also an opportunity for local authorities in South Wales to promote the interests of the area by drawing the attention of the rest of the United Kingdom to the advantages we can offer. That is why I welcome local government reform. An essential part of successful development for South Wales is strong local authorities that will work in co-operation so that we can attract industry into South Wales. It is very important that we do not wait until the Local Government Bill becomes an Act but that we encourage the existing local authorities. Although their remaining existence is short, they should seize the opportunity now, because it is vital that in the next two years the advantages of South Wales are drawn to the attention of the United Kingdom generally.
We have a strong structure of local government in preparation, and we have the tremendous potential of good communications throughout the United Kingdom. Thirdly, we have the probability of major building programmes in South Wales. First, there are the major building programmes that will be necessary in the central development area of Cardiff. Then there is the major building proposal tied up with the Llantrisant new town. I am very doubtful about some of the advantages of a new town in Llantrisant, but I want a tremendous drive in the construction industries in South Wales because it will provide a greater fillip for industry and employment in the area. I should be very happy to see some refurbishing of the valley towns and to see capital poured into them and into the coastal towns, like Cardiff. What is essential is the development of the construction industry, which will have a spin-off effect throughout South Wales.
1755 I expect an increase in general investment throughout the country. If it happens, I am sure Wales will attract a reasonable share of that development.
§ Mr. Alec Jones
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Are the chances of being called directly or indirectly related to the length of time a Member has been listening to the debate?
§ 8.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Caerwyn E. Roderick (Brecon and Radnor)
I know that many hon. Members want to speak, so I shall curtail what I have to say to a few minutes. I begin with a quotation:The problem of sluggish demand and under-investment is, of course, not confined to Wales. I am confident, however, that the measures taken by the Government last October and subsequently—and in particular the Budget—will help to boost demand and thence investment generally. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister emphasised to the representatives of the T.U.C. recently in Cardiff, the rôle of the Government was to create the conditions for a growth in the economy. This has been done."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Welsh Grand Committee, 8th April, 1971; c. 8.]That was said by the Secretary of State. He said "This has been done", but we have not seen the follow-up to those activities in terms of extra employment. The money has been made available, but we have not seen the extra investment. No safeguards were produced when the measures were taken to make sure that the investment would take place.
I pointed out at that sitting of the Welsh Grand Committee that I was concerned about the trend, that unfilled vacancies in Wales were dropping while unemployment was rising, that the Government were not creating jobs fast enough to keep up with the pace at which existing jobs were being used up.
The trend was such that if one imagines every unfilled vacancy being filled from the ranks of the unemployed, the net unemployed remaining in March, 1970, numbered about 30,000, which went up by March, 1971, to 36,000, a shift of 20 1756 per cent. If one continues this exercise to January last, one finds that the figure is now 51,000. That is to say, over the period when the unemployment figure has shifted by 40 per cent., this trend has shifted by 70 per cent. That is the danger I see—using up the vacancies and not creating the jobs while unemployment soars. We have had 17,000 redundancies in Wales. We saw under the Labour Government a rise in unemployment, but a factor which was then present and which is not present today was the massive increase in pit closures.
What concerns me is that we have had such optimism from the Secretary of State at all times but the policies he is pursuing are wrong. We have produced the figures. I urge him to change his policies. He says that regional policies are not enough; we want an expansion in the economy. I respectfully suggest that an expansion in the economy is not enough. We also need an effective regional policy. We note from the Development Corporation for Wales a plea for the retention of the R.E.P. We note from the Welsh Council a plea for the retention of the R.E.P. or something similar—some kind of employment incentive in the regions.
I do not wish to touch on the Mid-Wales Development Corporation, dealt with by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson). I come to the last point I wish to make. It is something I asked in the Welsh Grand Committee in February, to which I did not receive a reply. I hope that the Minister can give me a reply to it. I refer to the cost of entering the E.E.C. on the coal and steel industries in Wales. We have forcibly to control the expansion of the industry. We need this expansion. It is said that the British Steel Corporation in its plan for 1971–81, which has been discussed earlier, takes E.E.C. entry for granted and assumes that any major steel expansion would have to be sited in South-East England or North-West Europe. I would need to be very clever to work out the effect on Wales.
Secondly, a report in The Guardian said that the N.C.B. representative at the Brussels negotiations was instructed not to raise the question of assistance to coal and steel by the single price policy—that is, the policy whereby the same price would reign throughout the country, 1757 regardless of transport costs of coal. One can readily imagine the disastrous effects of transport costs on an area such as South Wales, which is far from the consumer areas.
We would welcome a statement on these two aspects of entry into the E.E.C. This is causing a great deal of concern in South Wales.
§ 8.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Alec Jones (Rhondda, West)
I appeal to my hon. Friends not to be hard on the Secretary of State. I know that many hon. Members felt that the only virtue in his speech was that he gave us a proper definition of the word "complacency". It is not his fault any more than it is the fault of other Ministers. It is the direct result of a policy directly propagated by the present Prime Minister. I begin with a quotation from that pathetic television performance by the Prime Minister on 28th February, when he said:In the kind of country we live in there cannot be any 'we' or 'they'. There is only 'us'; all of us.I must say that that is nauseating hypocrisy coming from the Prime Minister, because we have more than 1 million unemployed in the United Kingdom, more than 55,000 in Wales and 2,281 in my own constituency of Rhondda, West.
There is the vast army of the unemployed who are saying that they were berayed by this Government, who were elected on a false promise to reduce unemployment. They have achieved the opposite. Throughout the country, as my hon. Friends have said, the Government have established monthly records of high and increasing unemployment. In 1971 in Wales we began the year with 42,266 unemployed and ended the year with 51,035. In 1972 we began in Wales with 56,000 unemployed and the fear reverberating through Wales is, "What is the figure likely to be by the end of this year?". Yet the Secretary of State told us in the Welsh Grand Committee on 9th December, 1970:During the Labour Government term of office, unemployment rose nationally to levels unknown for 30 years.We have known a lot more about that since June, 1970. The right hon. and learned Gentleman went on to say about his Government: 1758…we reject the shameful waste which has occurred in the last six years in terms of unemployment and migration—a waste of the talent and skills of Welsh workers.I ask the Minister of State, if "shameful waste" are the words used to describe the lower level of unemployment under a Labour Government, what words will he use tonight to describe the higher unemployment achieved under his Government? Furthermore, what will he do about it? In the same speech in Committee the Secretary of State went on, presumably speaking of the Government again:…we are determined to follow new policies, policies which will be more effective in securing the development of the Welsh economy and improving the quality of life for the Welsh people."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Welsh Grand Committee, 9th December, 1970; c. 16–17.]It is much more difficult to find out what are these new policies. I am sorry that the Secretary of State is not here, but he told us time and again, talking of the rise in public expenditure under Labour, that such a rise in public expenditure was a basic obstacle to a satisfactory rate of economic growth. Now we find the right hon. and learned Gentleman and a series of Ministers leaping over that obstacle with the zeal of converts, and in speech after speech reading out figures for increased public expenditure. We welcome that conversion but wish to goodness that we could see some conversion in other areas where action is urgently needed to solve our unemployment problems.
The Secretary of State is fortunate that he has been helped in his search for new policies by the publication of the Welsh Council document "Wales: Employment and the Economy." The party opposite has never been very interested in unemployment. The hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Michael Roberts) suggested that the party opposite was desperately interested, that it cared passionately about the unemployed. Let the Minister of State take a look round the Chamber. If his hon. and right hon. Friends are so interested and concerned, where are they now when the subject is being debated? There is only one hon. Member opposite and that is the P.P.S. to the Secretary of State.
There are two important features in this Welsh Council document. The first 1759 is the vindication of the type of policies which the Labour Government pursued, namely investment grants, regional employment premium and dispersal policies; and the second is that a clear way is pointed as to the steps the Secretary of State should be pressing inside the Cabinet if the unemployed of Wales are to have any hope of returning to employment.
In the last Parliament the Prime Minister, offering his remedy for dealing with the problem of unemployment in a speech on economic affairs, said it could best be done by providing training and increasing mobility. No one quarrels with training. The Labour Government did more than any other in this respect. We welcome all the announcements that this Government have made about training and retraining schemes. At the end of the day however training is not and cannot be a substitute for work.
It is no virtue for Wales to have the best-trained army of unemployed in the dole queues. There are hon. Members opposite who still toy and play with the idea of mobility. I am sorry he is not here but the hon. Member for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer) is one who believes that mobility is the answer to unemployment. He told us that we could build bigger and better Sloughs as a means of solving unemployment in Wales. If mobility is to be used, as it was prewar, to compel the young and active in Wales to leave their homes and families and communities then it is not on. The price for such forced mobility is still being paid by the people of the valleys of South Wales and the other neglected parts of the United Kingdom.
But this Government have undoubtedly made mobility somewhat less attractive, for where are the unemployed of Wales to go for a job? If they go to Scotland, they find 9.3 per cent. unemployed; to the North of England. 9.1 per cent. unemployed; to the West Midlands, a previously prosperous area, a wholly unemployed figure of 6.7 per cent. This spread of unemployment to the previously prosperous areas carries with it a further threat to the development areas, because we are now hearing repeated calls for the extension of development area policies to other parts of the country.
1760 A recent article in The Guardian referred to speeches made by the Chairmen of the East and West Economic Planning Councils, and by the Surrey Planning Officer, asking for the spreading of industrial incentives over other areas and the relaxation of I.D.C. policies. These speeches were described as nudging development area policy on to a slightly different course. Similar views have been expressed in this House, and if development area policy were nudged in that direction it would be a disaster not only for Wales but for all the development areas of the United Kingdom.
Development area policies have already been seriously weakened. Doctor Rhodes of the Cambridge Department of Applied Economics has calculated—and this calculation was not challenged in this House—that changes in investment provision have reduced the differential incentive of over £100 of investment from £12 to £2. If the regional policies are further diluted or weakened it will mean that if—and it is a big if under this Government—and when full employment returns to the rest of this country the older industrial areas, the development areas, will still lag far behind. The Government have a special responsibility in this. Some review of regional policies is apparently taking place. The Government must ensure that nothing is done to delay the correcting of the imbalance in job opportunities between the development areas and the rest of the country.
The Secretary of State for Wales has a special responsibility to the people of Wales in this, for unless he speaks and acts for Wales and asserts the rightful demands of Wales inside the Cabinet what we shall see is a continuance of the two-nation policy which has been the historical record of the Tory Party in Wales.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Tom Ellis (Wrexham)
The hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Michael Roberts) claimed that the Government were as concerned and as compassionate about the unemployed as the Opposition. I do not question their concern; but I differ from my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda, West (Mr. Alec Jones) in this respect because, apart from any other reason, their political future is at 1761 stake. What I question is their competence, and I do not mean to imply that the record of the previous Labour Administration was impeccable—far from it; but it was never so profoundly misconceived as the attitude of this Government when it took office in June, 1970. If I have time, I will enlarge on that later.
It is ironic that we should be debating the Welsh economy and Welsh unemployment at a time when the House is preoccupied—a litte tediously some of us feel—with the European Communities Bill, and when strong speeches from both sides proclaiming the sovereignty of the House and of British institutions are still ringing in our ears. The irony arises from the acceptance by almost everyone that the greatest single determinant of the condition of the Welsh economy is the condition of the greater whole of which it is a part, and the Secretary of State went out of his way to make this point at the beginning of his speech. Sickly though the British economy is, there is no doubt in my mind that it is healthier than would be the sum of the parts taken individually. Wales benefits from her association with England as much as England benefits from her association with Wales.
So any consideration of the economic affairs of Wales must start with the British economy. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has fired his starting gun on numerous occasions since last July when the Government abruptly, though not a second too soon, completely abandoned their original economic posture—I can hardly dignify it, as did my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. George Thomas) with the term "policy". However, there now seems to be general agreement that at long last the country is on the edge of expansion, and that the Government should aim to make the rate of expansion a high one.
We in Wales this week have received from the Welsh Council an excellent document on the Welsh economy, happily in time for this debate, in which the Council argues cogently that:…it is a matter of imperative importance to Wales that the overall growth rate target should be at least 6 per cent. for two years.I am sure that no hon. Member on this side of the House will disagree about the importance to Wales of that figure of 6 per cent. It is based on the assumption 1762 that the level of unemployment in Wales would be reduced to an acceptable figure within 12 months.
There are two points about that figure which have to be borne in mind, one of which the Welsh Council has been at pains to stress. First, if the economic history of Britain over the last 27 years, let alone the last 21 months, is to be regarded as any guide, 6 per cent. is a wildly optimistic figure to sustain for any length of time.
The Secretary of State claimed that the 4 per cent. growth rate in the 21 months of the Conservative Government was double the growth rate of the previous Labour Administration. This is absurd because a 21-month period is too short; it is doubly absurd in that minutes previously the Secretary of State had disclaimed responsibility for unemployment which he said was a legacy from the previous Labour Adminisaration; and it is trebly absurd in that if a particular feature is immediately responsive to Government action, it is unemployment rather than growth rate.
It is a telling indictment against the Government, and the sheer desperation of the unemployment situation in Wales has driven a body of the eminence of the Welsh Council to talk of the imperative importance of achieving so improbably high a figure as 6 per cent.
The second point spelt out in the Welsh Council Report, and a second indictment of the Government, is the overwhelming importance of business confidence as a factor in the economy. That a Tory Government with its built-in presumption of concern for business men should have so rapidly evoked the biggest loss of business confidence since the death of Helen of Troy is a remarkable fact that we now have to record and deplore. The great tragedy is that the money which in their panic the Government have since had to pour into the economy has done nothing so far to undo either nationally or regionally the great harm already done.
A Government can pump away furiously at the economy, as this Government have done in an effort to retrieve the mess which their early doctrinaire bigotry got them into, but until they can set out sensibly a long-term course and follow it sensibly, and firmly adhere to it over a long period, business confidence will be an elusive entity. So long as 1763 people continue to regard the Government as an obdurate lot, the prospects are forbidding. The present Government, alarmed at the unemployment situation which they have contrived, have stimulated consumer demand, but have failed in the far more crucial matter of capital investment in manufacturing industry.
I want to try to be constructive because I am a kind-hearted man and I feel sorry for the Government which is at sixes and sevens and in a terrible mess. I want to make a constructive suggestion —[AN HON. MEMBER: "That they should resign."] Apart from the suggestion of my hon. Friend that they should resign, which would be perhaps the most constructive suggestion, I propose to look at one of the issues raised by the Welsh Council in its document, "Wales Employment and the Economy ".
The Council suggests three factors which have adversely affected the building up of confidence. I want to consider one of these which in my view is far and away the most important. It is theinfluence of changing policies of inflation and deflation over an expensive period of timeas the Council calls it, or stop-go, as it has been more graphically called. I think many people would accept that this perhaps is the single most decisive influence on confidence. The remedy clearly is to break into the virtuous circle of steady permanent expansion, building up confidence, leading to steady permanent expansion and so on. This is the only hope of our becoming more competitive and achieving adequate growth to reduce unemployment and to do all the other things that need doing in Wales and elsewhere.
The Welsh Council suggests one way of doing this—of stimulating order-book confidence, as it so rightly calls it. That is for the public corporations firmly to accept long-term investment commitments at stated levels. Apart from the slightly question-begging nature of the proposal, I accept this as a step in the right direction, but I cannot see it of itself having anything like the fundamental long-term effect we are looking for, because this is not actually the problem. It is not a question of knowing how to press the "go" button, or at least it was not so 1764 until the bludgeoning of what confidence there was by this Government's economic crudities made even that operation difficult.
The question is how to avoid having to press the "stop" button once the economy has got under way. At the moment we are in an exceptionally favourable position for expansion with an all-time record balance of payments surplus, with improving terms of trade and with substantial, although disputed, spare capacity. Here again the Government are completely exposed. We have had all manner of ingenious monetary and fiscal devices invented during the last decade or so and put to the work of economic steering, but we have not yet developed such a mechanism for safeguarding the balance of payments with anything like certitude under a truly expansionist policy.
I think most people would agree, thanks again to Government crudities, that the omens for an effective long-term and equitable incomes policy, say—only one of the pre-conditions for sustained growth—are hardly propitious at the moment. Our social engineering, which has always lagged behind our economic engineering, now under this Government lags even further behind. It is because of all this that I believe we have a case which can be strongly argued internationally, justifying our use of physical import controls.
I hardly dare hope that this Government will do anything intelligent about it, but I wish that the Welsh Council in its chapter "Demand, Growth and Employment" had gone into the crucial need, as it appears to me, for physical controls on the limitation of imports. I am well aware that all kinds of international consequences arise, and I am not advocating a "beggar my neighbour" policy. I am asking for a serious attempt quickly to legitimise the internationally agreed use of what I believe would be a truly effective tool of economic management in an area where no satisfactory tool now exists. Without this effective control on the balance of payments, business confidence will never be such as to aspire to a growth rate of 6 per cent., and in that event Welsh unemployment will no more respond to the tinkerings of the present Government than would pigs fly.
§ 9.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Neil McBride (Swansea, East)
I have only two and a half minutes in which to talk about the problems which affect the City of Swansea. It is well known that in Swansea every job has many applicants. With the advent of a fast inter-city train service, we are afraid that British Rail's Eastern depot will be closed and the 200 employees there will become redundant. Plenary powers which were granted yesterday to the industrial sub-committee of the city council will support the efforts of my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams) and myself in retaining these jobs. The serious position in the city can be shown by the fact that seven people are chasing every vacancy. No new industry of any comparable size has come to the city since the advent of the present Government. How can we hope for anything in the future when only five advance factories have been notified for approval in Wales since the Government came to power?
I should like to draw attention to the recent report of the British Road Federation on the ports of South Wales. It would appear that the Secretary of State for Wales, despite what is happening in the Common Market, steadfastly refuses to say anything about the use of the South Wales ports generally and particularly the Port of Swansea.
I charge the Secretary of State for Wales with dereliction of duty in terms of the Housing Finance Bill. By not taking a place in the Standing Committee he has failed completely to discharge his duty to the Welsh people. A total of 270,000 local authority tenants look to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who is the Member for an English constituency, and they look in vain.
The Housing Finance Bill will increase cost inflation in Wales and will induce massive wage claims. The imposition of an additional 50p in April will lead to a monthly increase of £1 in October. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
The Prime Minister has invited the Trades Union Congress leaders to see him at Downing Street. If the Secretary of State for Wales is on terms of confidence with the Prime Minister, he must tell him that that legislation is resented throughout the Principality. The Bill will 1766 introduce means-testing of the Welsh people on a scale which they have never before seen. It will increase the cost of living and, in turn, will depress the standard of living.
It will be effected and connived at by the Secretary of State who, along with his Minister of State, has refused to take a place on the Standing Committee which is considering that Bill, as it was their bounden duty to do. As a result we have been left with Ministers on that Committee who do not show very much interest in Wales. One of them even owned up to some Welsh blood, and I told him that it must have come through an Englishman who came to live in Wales.
I must bring my remarks to a close. I conclude by saying that the rent increases which will flow from the Housing Finance Bill will severely affect the economy of Wales. The Welsh income is only 85 per cent. of the national average.
In another respect Wales is a low wage area. Low wages and low rents go together. Paradoxically, the surpluses from these areas will be creamed off to help to finance the larger conurbations. This viciously anti-social, anti-working class Bill should have been condemned by the Secretary of State, and I charge him with abandoning all interest in the Welsh people by failing to defend them in this matter in which socially and economically the Welsh people and the Welsh nation are interested.
§ 9.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan (Cardigan)
We are not the first generation of Welshmen to debate unemployment in this House. Although the general economic policies and the Government's attitude towards development areas are matters which are of general relevance to Britain as a whole, the debate we have had today is more fundamentally pertinent to our nation than indeed to any of the other countries and regions of the United Kingdom.
Unemployment is one of the dread words of the glossary of modern Wales. The mere mention of this problem nowadays causes people in Wales to ask themselves whether it is that Wales is yet again going to re-enact in part or in whole one of the terrible tragedies which it has suffered in this century. The physical scars of unemployment, as every 1767 Member of this House knows, show themselves in many scores of our communities. They will be there for a long time to come, but the scars which this experience has left upon the mind and spirit of Wales will remain for much longer.
In the 20s and the 30s—those two miserable decades—there were periods when as many as 40 per cent. of the insured population of Wales were unemployed. It was during that period that our little nation, with a population of only 2½ million, lost no fewer than 500,000 of its population by migration. This Diaspora and dismemberment of a nation community were brought about by the ruthless and untamed forces of economic ruin. Although it is not for us as Welsh people to live in the past, nevertheless we well know the proverb that those who forget the past are sometimes indeed forced to re-live it.
It is against such a background that we consider the dreadful facts of this situation which we are debating today, with unemployment the highest for 40 years—5.8 per cent. of the insured population. In some areas, that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Goronwy Roberts), it is as high as nearly 15 per cent. male unemployment. Of the 56,000 persons unemployed in Wales at the present moment, no fewer than 36,000 of those have been unemployed for a period of longer than eight weeks. The hard core of unemployment is getting much bigger. This is something which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite might reflect upon. The nature of the unemployment we are now dealing with is different from, and far more serious than, that which it was our lot to experience in years past. At the same time, we saw in 1971 no fewer than 17,600 redundancies notified in Wales. What is more horrifying than that total itself is where those redundancies occur. No fewer than 1,960 of them occurred in mechanical engineering, 1,570 in electrical engineering, 660 in aerospace equipment, and more than 4,000 in the steel industry. At the same time, the number of job vacancies in Wales fell to the pitifully low level of 5,000.
Frightening though they are, these figures reveal by no means the whole truth. 1768 As we have heard already, with activity rates for males and females in Wales down about 15 per cent. compared with the average United Kingdom figure, we have the phenomenon of under-employment which in terms of a community's capacity to produce has exactly the same effect as unemployment.
Again, as hon. Members from rural areas are well aware, there is the factor of outward migration. It is no doubt the claim of the Government that in past years this has slowed down perceptibly, certainly when taken in net terms. But it still means that the young, the robust, the able and the virile leave, and older people come back to Wales to retire. All welcome to them, but it is a poor swap in terms of the strength, virility and future of a community.
In a debate of this nature, it is a great temptation to indulge in out and out vilification of the party opposite. Heaven knows, it deserves it. It is a temptation in Wales which we manage to abjure when we are at home. In Wales, the Tories are almost totally irrelevant in political terms. Ever since the ballot was made secret in 1871, the Welsh people in their wisdom have consistently rejected the blandishments of the Tory Party in every election.
It is not only right for us to look at the statistics of misery. I believe that we have to look also at the philosophies which govern this whole issue, and to consider what must be done in future if we are to rid ourselves of the malady of heavy chronic unemployment. The Government must be judged by their acts. I say clearly to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that it is no part of our case that he has an innate malevolence towards the country and nation of Wales. However, dainty sympathies are of no earthly use. The right hon. and learned Gentleman must be judged by the policies that he has pursued or failed to pursue. There is a yawning abyss between the pledges of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite and the miserable results that they have achieved so far, and they are results which are the direct and inevitable consequences of their acts.
In the Election in June, 1970, the prospectus of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen 1769 opposite was quite clear in this regard. It was a clear pledge to bring about an immediate fall in the level of unemployment. Irrespective of whether some people like the Minister of Agriculture might not have believed such pledges, it remains the fact that millions of people did believe them. They did not view them in such a cynical light, and it was on that basis that they subscribed their support.
One can say a great deal in defence of the Prime Minister. At that time he may have had the certainty that it was impossible for him to win the Election. It may be that in utter and abject despair, with his own failure only days away, waiting for the high priests to drag him as a failure to the sacrificial block, he thought that there was nothing to lose in giving such a pledge. Nevertheless, it was a solemn pledge. It was a pledge incapable of fulfilment and, therefore, a deliberately fraudulent misrepresentation.
The severest indictment which can be brought against the Government is that, when these promises were given, not only could they not have been fulfilled, but those giving them had not the slightest intention, if by some freak or fluke of fortune they achieved power, ever to carry them out. Indeed, I suggest that they had every intention, if such a contingency should occur, to act wholly to the contrary.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer's statement on the 28th October, 1970, was one of the greatest acts of betrayal in modern British politics. It set in train policies which achieved the twin results of creating, on the one hand, a general stagnancy in the economy and, on the other, a wanton destruction of regional policies.
Despite searing regrets, embarrassing public recantations, and a growing crescendo of substantive and presentational measures designed to stimulate growth, they are unable completely to avoid the harsh consequences of the October measures. They have sown the wind, and soon no doubt they will reap the whirlwind.
Nowhere is the Government's failure more apparent than in Wales. At a time when the Welsh economy was going through a process of painful and delicate readjustments—readjustments consequent 1770 upon the run-down of its basic industries and the broadening of its economic base—they decided to change the whole pattern of assistance towards our country and nation.
This need for assistance from outside, as we all know, was very considerable. The natural forces of decline in Wales have been moving by inexorable process for a very long time. It is right for right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to say that there were many matters in which we failed when we were in Government. Of course we failed. We failed within the short span of six years to put right that which had accumulated through the neglect of many centuries. It was these very forces of decline and decay which they were unwilling to combat in Wales.
If one wishes to bring about the ruin of Wales, all that one has to do is to do nothing at all; one merely has to sit back, to recline in doctrinal detachment, rejecting the meddlesome planning which some people found so bound up and intolerable under a Labour Government. All that they had to do was to allow market forces their full and untrammelled play.
Nowhere is this attitude more clearly shown than in the person of the Secretary of State for Wales who maintains an astral distance between himself and the fundamental problems of the Principality. Each big redundancy, each catastrophic closure, each serious rundown, he announces as if it were an act of God and the Government had no more responsibility nor possible influence in relation to it than they had upon the weather.
In the development areas the Government have deliberately abolished the most attractive allurements. At the same time, they have reduced the differential between the development and the non-development areas to a ludicrous nothingness.
As we have heard from my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes) this afternoon, the decision to abolish investment grants was not the product of a lengthy and deeply incisive study; it was the ritual slaughter of a form of assistance which was anathema to Tory theology.
The wrecking was complete with the announcement that R.E.P. would be 1771 phased out in 1974. This measure certainly had the tendency to keep prices fairly low and output and employment relatively high in those areas which it was intended to sustain. It was a form of assistance which, of all the forms of assistance, had the most direct and immediate effect upon employment.
Not only has the scope of regional assistance been greatly curtailed but, most fundamental of all, the differential between the development areas and the rest of the country has been virtually abolished. This of course, in practice, brings development area policy to an end. I have made a calculation of the differential values between development and non-development areas of assistance to developers on the basis of £100 invested in manufacturing industry. In the period 1966–70, in a development area the benefit would have been £57.80. In a non-development area it would have been £48.70. The differential was 12.1 per cent. In the period after 1971, in a development area it would be worth £37.40 and in a non-development area £35.60. The differential has shrunk to 1.8 per cent. That is what I meant by a ludicrous nothingness.
Mr. John Rhodes of the Cambridge Department of Applied Economics puts it succinctly in this way:The value of the Development Area differential investment incentives for manufacturing industry is now very small compared with the grants systems operating in 1956–67".Not only is Wales losing vis-à-vis the development areas; it is also doing very much worse than before in relation to the other development areas.
According to some figures given me by the Welsh Office today, the total square footage allowed in the Welsh development area from 1st January, 1969, to 30th June, 1970, the last 18 months of our Administration, was 10.1 million, representing 21.9 per cent. of all development which went to development areas. The amount from 1st July, 1970, to the end of 1971, under the present Administration, is 5.2 million—just over half, representing no more than 16.2 per cent. Therefore, there is a fall in absolute terms and in relative terms.
The moment of truth has arrived for the Government over unemployment and regional policies. On 24th January the 1772 Prime Minister accepted responsibility for this matter. It was the honourable thing to do. He must now stand up manfully and say what short-term and long-term policies he is willing to operate in this matter.
In that debate on 24th January, my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition put forward a considered statement dealing with 12 separate points of policy. They deserve a detailed answer. Tonight our concern lies with the Secretary of State, who has said hardly anything relevant to the question of the short-term plan to combat unemployment. Of course it is beneficial to Wales if new roads and hospitals are built and derelict land is cleared, but in the main they have little effect upon the level of unemployment, because they are highly capital rather than labour-intensive. It has been calculated that, due to the very expensive equipment used on them, jobs on trunk road works cost £130,000 per job. Such matters have little or no relevance to tackling unemployment.
We want to know the attitude of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to investment grants and R.E.P. Has he pleaded for these matters in the Cabinet? If not, does he intend to do so? Will he use his special position as Chairman of the Conservative Party or will he be nothing more than a "Marshal Yea" of the Prime Minister? Does he intend to deal in detail with the deep and incisive analyses made by the Welsh Economic Council in its report? Does he intend to say in which matters which fall within his province he sees merit and which he rejects, and will he tell us the reasons? Will he publish his views in a document which we can study and discuss?
There are a great many matters to which I should like to refer but time does not permit me to do so. I must, however, mention advance factories. The Secretary of State spoke lightly of them this afternoon, as if there was no difference between the programme which he has announced and that which was announced by the Labour Administration, but let us consider the facts.
In the 20 months tenure of office of the present Administration the right hon. and learned Gentleman has announced five advance factories, three under the Department of Trade and Industry and two under the Development Commission. 1773 Under our Administration we announced 52 under the D.T.I. and 10 under the Development Commission. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman is to retain a shred of credibility, it is imperative that we have full answers to the specific questions that have been put to him today.
I had hoped to have time to mention, if only briefly, Mid-Wales. I can only say that having withdrawn—and having withdrawn for political reasons—the Mid-Wales Rural Development Board, there is a complete vacuum in an area which has particular problems and which has been regarded by successive Governments as being worthy of special treatment.
Where is the comprehensive development which the party opposite promised for Mid-Wales? What will happen after reorganisation when the Mid-Wales Industrial Development Association is broken up among the three new authorities and when there will be many towns with no local authority with any power from the point of view of development?
The Government Amendment to our Motion reads:That this House concerned with the level of unemployment in Wales, approves the substantial measures Her Majesty's Government are taking to stimulate long-term economic growth, and is confident that the policies of Her Majesty's Government will lead to an increase in general prosperity which will benefit the Principality.The vital word there is, of course, "general", for it is not averred by hon. Gentlemen opposite that they will indicate, let alone have, any specific policies to deal with unemployment in Wales.
The Amendment bears the imprint of the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Leader of the House, the Secretary of State for Wales and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. It is appropriate that their names should be appended to it because they are the architects of the despair which now threatens Wales.
It is appropriate that they should be in the dock and it is not necessary to apply any binding conditions on them other than those which they have themselves laid down on previous occasions. For example, when speaking in Dundee on 9th September, 1969, the Prime Minister said:We cannot tolerate the waste of human and economic resources brought about by their 1774 uneven use in different parts of the country. We refuse to condemn large parts of the kingdom to slow decline and decay, to dereliction and to persistent unemployment in pursuit of old-fashioned 19th century doctrines of laissez faire."The Secretary of State for Wales, speaking in the Welsh Grand Committee in December, 1970, said:We must reject policies which have prevented Wales from contributing her wealth to the national economy ".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Welsh Grand Committee, 9th December, 1970; c. 17.]"Amen" say we to those brave pronouncements.
The record of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Government side has made our criticisms of their election policies appear mildly complementary. Their doctrinaire delusions have lured them into the most spectacular errors, from Rolls-Royce to Upper Clyde and from Belfast to Bulawayo. From a situation of inherited strength, they have managed to achieve abject failure. They succeeded to the most massive balance of payments surplus this century, but by their genius they have used it to create stagnation, a stagnation which they have little hope of reversing in the term of this Parliament. Twenty months ago they were the beneficiaries of the most dedicated and determined effort ever made to achieve regional growth. They garotted it in the name of a sterile dogma. They have amassed a catalogue of ruin, and they call it prosperity. When they speak of confidence, clearly such can only be the confidence of blind arrogance or a florid dementia.
I trust that every right thinking Member of the House will support the condemnation of the loss and despair which the Goverenment have needlessly inflicted upon thousands of homes in our country of Wales.
§ 9.36 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Welsh Office (Mr. David Gibson-Watt)
We have had a closely argued debate, and I believe that the House will wish to support the view that the discussion has been timely and has provided the opportunity to ventilate the problems of Wales in a broadly constructive way. Although I shall not follow the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan) in everything he said, I hope that at the end of my speech he will not accuse me of suffering from 1775 any doctrinal delusions; nor, for that matter, do I intend to address half my speech to his hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), because that would upset him a very great deal.
Be that as it may, I agree that much has been said in the House today with the general objective of improving the economy and employment position in Wales. I believe that many of the arguments of hon. Gentlemen opposite have been over-gloomy, but it is in the nature of Oppositions to be gloomy. No one on either side of the House underrates the importance of the high figure of unemployment which Wales suffers today and the challenge that presents to the Government. It is my belief that much greater emphasis needs to be given to the positive indications for the future which we can see in Wales. This was one of the points about which the right hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes) asked. He asked what the positive points for the future are. During the course of my speech I hope to refer to some.
It is agreed by all that the economic prosperity of Wales is bound up with that of the United Kingdom as a whole, and that the first and most important step towards reducing unemployment in the Principality is to get the British economy on a sustained period of growth. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State said, no British Government have taken more measures to reflate the economy designed to create more job opportunities than the present Government. No right hon. or hon. Gentleman opposite has sought to deny this during the debate. They can hardly have failed to recognise the massive strength of the economic measures that have been taken. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State referred to them. They include cuts in taxation amounting to about £1,100 million in the current year and in 1972–73, to £1,400 million, two cuts in Bank Rate and a general easing of credit. All this must improve the liquidity position in industry.
A great deal has been said in the course of the debate about the recent Welsh Council Report. It has certainly criticised the Government but equally it has praised them. The report covers a wide field and there is a broad range of 1776 suggestions covering fiscal issues, nationalised industry policy, office dispersal, communications and so on. Some of the suggestions in the report are already reflected in Government policy and they will all be carefully examined. But the Welsh Council wholly underlined what my right hon. and learned Friend said about the importance of overall national and economic prosperity. If anything, it puts it more strongly than he did. Paragraph 27 says:…a fundamental pre-condition to the successful application of a development area policy is the existence of a buoyant confident economy and a pre-disposition to investment.This is what we have been saying and this is what the Government's measures are wholly directed towards. My complaint is that the previous Government's measures produced neither a buoyant, confident economy nor any predisposition to investment. [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite laugh——
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
Not one hon. Member opposite is particularly proud of their record of industrial investment while the party opposite were in office.
§ Mr. Alec Jones
Is the Minister of State suggesting that he is particularly proud of the increase achieved under his Government?
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I do not think we shall get very far if we are going to play tit-for-tat. I do not believe the Welsh Council is very far wrong when it says that a buoyant, confident economy and a predisposition for investment are needed. It has wholly recognised the enormous range of measures the Government have taken to expand the economy. Paragraphs 3 and 4 of the report are a vast catalogue of positive measures taken by the Government in 18 months. Hon. Members opposite should read them again. The council recognises them as a large measure of reflationary action and sees welcome signs of a revival in consumer demand. I believe it is right and I am not alone in this.
The Government have made more flexible the arrangements for allowances towards new plant and machinery investment in both the development and non-development areas. We have done a great 1777 deal to improve the infrastructure of our country. I stress that the Special Environmental Assistance Scheme, announced last month, will enable local authorities in assisted areas to tackle a large number of minor schemes between now and June, 1973. All but a small part of the cost of clearing these eyesores will be borne by the Government and local authority reaction has been very good.
As my right hon. and learned Friend said, we shall continue to give the highest priority to the roads programme. This is not limited to spectacular schemes such as motorways. We are developing the road programme to cover trunk and principal roads as well. The additional £9 million to be spent on various trunk road schemes in the next two years announced by my right hon. and learned Friend will form part of a record spending of £60 million in 1972–73 and £70 million in 1975–76.
The hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Roy Hughes) referred to the possibility of the junction of the motor industry in South Wales with the motor industry in the Midlands. This underlines one of the factors that must encourage industrialists to Wales, namely, that South Wales stands at the apex of an triangle of motorways between London, South Wales and Birmingham. Any employer thinking of coming to South Wales will realise that he has, first, easy access; secondly, a good choice of factory sites; thirdly, excellent ports with an excellent labour relations record; and fourthly, employees second to none. Firms bringing employees or executives from outside also have the greatest possible advantage that in off-duty times those employees and executives can go to the Brecon Beacons, the Gower or Pembrokeshire, which is an area of such great beauty.
§ Mr. Gwynoro Jones
The hon. Gentleman is accurate on all those counts. Wales has certain paramount advantages, but in the past 20 months the number of factories coming has halved. Fewer jobs are in prospect and fewer are being created. Therefore, if we have all the advantages the hon. Gentleman spoke about, the Government's policy of dismantling investment grants, coupled with their other disincentives, is the reason for the decay.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I was trying to show that the Government had played their part, a significant part, first in increasing and improving the transport and roads to South Wales, and secondly in increasing the speed at which the countryside is being reclaimed. More money is being spent this year and next year on the reclamation of land than has ever been spent.
§ Mr. Goronwy Roberts
Will the hon. Gentleman tell us something about the future of railways in Wales, which are part of the infrastructure, the communications system? The Transport Users' Consultative Council for Wales has come down for the second time in favour of the retention and development of the Cambrian coast railway. Is it now the Government's intention at long last to accept the unanimous and firm advice presented to them by their own statutory advisory body?
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for raising that question. It is a matter we discussed on another occasion in the Welsh Grand Committee. Other railway lines in the Principality have been given an extension for at least two years. The right hon. Gentleman is right when he says that the Transport Users' Consultative Council has made its report on the Cambrian coast line. The report has been made only this week, and it is obviously something that will have to be taken into consideration. Neither my right hon. and learned Friend nor I is in any doubt of the high priority the railway has in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman and many others.
I turn now to another aspect of employment that has not been touched on in the debate. Throughout the greater part of Wales, employment does not rely upon big industry as we have been discussing it; it relies on the continued economic well-being of the market towns, which is inextricably bound up with that of the farming community.
Against that background, it is fair for us to judge tonight which of the two major political parties, the present Government or the previous Government, has contributed more effectively to the prosperity of these areas, because the facts of the situation are that after six years of Socialist Government agriculture was on 1779 its knees. Government had ebbed away in the absence of any clear direction. By contrast—[Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite may not like it, but it is true. By contrast the present Government, by three successive and timely cash injections, have recreated confidence and provided the conditions for expansion on the threshold of our entry into Europe.
If hon. Gentlemen opposite do not believe me, let them look at the markets and at the state of the farms. Quite clearly, hon. Gentlemen opposite do not want to get mud on their boots. The fact remains that if any of us asks the stock farmers of Wales today whether they are doing better under this Government than they did under the last, they will give a pretty quick and definite answer. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman speaks from a seated position. Would he like to interrupt?
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan
Yes. The point I was putting, very shortly and pertinently, was that there was no unemployment in agriculture in Wales, nor has there been, over the last two years.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I was talking about industries which give employment, and I understood that was what right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite had been talking about all the time. What I am saying, and I think with some support, is that as far as the vast country areas of Wales are concerned they can look in vain to the Socialists but in the last two years we have helped them very considerably.
Let us continue on the countryside for the moment before we return to the main economic argument. That is not to underestimate the importance, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer) referred, of the biggest growth industry in Wales, the tourist industry. There is no town or small village which is not benefiting from the increasing revenue brought by the growing number of visitors who seek the beauty of our Welsh hills and valleys. It is no wonder that the standard of hotels and catering is rising so dramatically. Under the present Government the tourist industry sees the relaxation of the Selective Employment tax imposed by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. Under this Government, 1780 it has also seen the amount of spending on the Welsh Tourist Board rise from £512,000 in 1970–71 to £1,294,000 this year and even to £1,810,000 in 1972–73. This shows a confidence in tourism in Wales which will have its effect also upon the craft industries in the smaller towns.
There are one or two other points which have been raised during the debate which I should like to answer. The hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Coleman) asked about the approaches which had been made to the Prime Minister about a meeting to discuss the problems of unemployment in Wales. My right hon. and learned Friend, together with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and other colleagues, is ready to meet and discuss the employment situation in Wales with the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues when a mutually agreeable time can be found.
My next point refers to the European Economic Community. The hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Roderick) was concerned about the prospects for steel and coal. The leaders of both these industries are confident that entry into the Community offers considerable opportunities. They will remain in control of their own enterprises, a point well made by my hon. Friend the Minister for Industry in winding up the recent debate on coal and steel in the Welsh Grand Committee. He said:The British Steel Corporation will however remain in control of its own industry. It will be for the British Steel Corporation to run the industry in the United Kingdom. It will not be the responsibility of any other body or organisation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Welsh Grand Committee, 24th February, 1972; c. 103.]What is true of steel is equally true of coal. I accept entirely the constructive view of the Welsh Council on the implications for United Kingdom regional policies of entry into the Community.
Many hon. Gentlemen will be aware of the recent visit of Mr. Borschette, the E.E.C. Commissioner in charge of regional policies, to South Wales where he met a number of people and set many fears at rest. The Welsh Council says of the E.E.C.:The evolution of common regional policies in the Community is still at an early stage and as a member of the Community the United Kingdom will be able to exert substantial influence over their developments.1781There is nothing in the existing situation which need arouse concern about Welsh interests.I turn now to Government policy towards mid-Wales. This is a matter at which my right hon. Friend and I have looked carefully. My right hon. Friend has had talks with local authority representatives, the Mid-Wales Industrial Development Corporation and hon. Members opposite most concerned. There was strong pressure to extend the remit of the Mid-Wales Industrial Development Corporation and to make an immediate change in our growth policy. My right hon. Friend has undertaken to review what has been achieved at Newtown in the course of the year.
§ During this debate hon. Members opposite have tried to put the blame for the present position on the Government. There is no mention in this Motion of the growth element in the economy which had gone by 1970. There is no mention of the profitability of industry that had gone down over the six years before this Government took office. It is only 20 months since the party opposite left Government and it is trying to forget its past and bury the worst part of it. I should now bury its Motion.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 304, Noes 270.1785
|Division No. 78.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Costain, A. P.||Hannam, John (Exeter)|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Critchley, Julian||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Crouch, David||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Crowder, F. P.||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Curran, Charles||Hastings, Stephen|
|Astor, John||Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Havers, Michael|
|Atkins, Humphrey||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hawkins, Paul|
|Awdry, Daniel||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.Maj.-Gen. James||Hayhoe, Barney|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Dean, Paul||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward|
|Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Heseltine, Michael|
|Batsford, Brian||Dixon, Piers||Hicks, Robert|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Higgins, Terence L.|
|Bell, Ronald||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Drayson, G. B.||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)|
|Bennett. Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Holland, Philip|
|Benyon, W.||Dykes, Hugh||Holt Miss Mary|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Eden, Sir John||Holdern, Peter|
|Biffen, John||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Hornby, Richard|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia|
|Blaker, Peter||Elliott, R. W. (Nc'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Emery, Peter||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)|
|Body, Richard||Farr, John||Howell, David (Guildford)|
|Boscawen, Robert||Fell, Anthony||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Hunt, John|
|Bowden, Andrew||Fidler, Michael||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Bray, Ronald||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||James, David|
|Brewis, John||Fookes, Miss Janet||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Fortescue, Tim||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Foster, Sir John||Jessel, Toby|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Fowler, Norman||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Fox, Marcus||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Bryan, Paul||Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Jopling, Michael|
|Buchanan-Smith Alick (Angus,N & M)||Fry, Peter||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Buck, Antony||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Gardner, Edward||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine|
|Burden, F. A.||Gibson-Watt, David||Kilfedder, James|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Kimball, Marcus|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.G. (Moray & Nairn)||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Glyn, Dr. Alan||King. Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Goodhart, Philip||Kinsey, J. R.|
|Channon, Paul||Goodhew, Victor||Kirk, Peter|
|Chapman, Sydney||Gorst, John||Kitson, Timothy|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Gower, Raymond||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)|
|Churchill, W. S.||Gray, Hamish||Knox, David|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Green, Alan||Lambton, Lord|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Grieve, Percy||Lane, David|
|Clegg, Walter||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Cockeram, Eric||Grylls, Michael||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Cooke, Robert||Gummer, J. Selwyn||Le Marchant, Spencer|
|Coombs, Derek||Gurden, Harold||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Lloyd, Ian (P'lsm'th, Langstone)|
|Cordle, John||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Longden, Sir Gilbert|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Loveridge, John|
|Cormack, Patrick||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Luce, R. N.|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|MacArthur, Ian||Parkinson, Cecil||Sutcliffe, John|
|McCrindle, R. A.||Percival, Ian||Tapsell, Peter|
|McLaren, Martin||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Pink, R. Bonner||Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|McMaster, Stanley||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Macmillan.Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|McNair-Wilson, Michael||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Tebbit, Norman|
|McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Temple, John M.|
|Maddan, Martin||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Madel, David||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Maginnis, John E.||Raison, Timothy||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Marten, Neil||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Tilney, John|
|Mather, Carol||Redmond, Robert||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Maude, Angus||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)||Trew, peter|
|Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Rees, Peter (Dover)||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Mawby, Ray||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Waddington, David|
|Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn.(Worcester)|
|Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Moate, Roger||Rost, Peter||Wall, Patrick|
|Molyneaux, James||Royle, Anthony|
|Money, Ernie||Russell, Sir Ronald||Walters, Dennis|
|Monks, Mrs. Connie||St. John-Stevas, Norman||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Monro, Hector||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.||Warren, Kenneth|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Scott, Nicholas||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|More, Jasper||Scott-Hopkins, James||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Sharples, Richard||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Morrison, Charles||Shelton, William (Clapham)||Wilkinson, John|
|Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Simeons, Charles||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Murton, Oscar||Sinclair, Sir George||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Skeet, T. H. H.||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Neave, Airey||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Soref, Harold||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Speed, Keith||Worsley, Marcus|
|Normanton, Tom||Spence, John||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Nott, John||Sproat, Iain|
|Onslow, Cranley||Stainton, Keith||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Stanbrook, Ivor||Mr. Reginald Eyre and Mr. Bernard Weatherill.|
|Osborn, John||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Stokes, John|
|Abse, Leo||Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Dunn, James A.|
|Albu, Austen||Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Dunnett, Jack|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Eadie, Alex|
|Allen, Scholefield||Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Edelman, Maurice|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Cohen, Stanley||Edwards, William (Merioneth)|
|Ashley, Jack||Concannon, J. D.||Ellis, Tom|
|Ashton, Joe||Conlan, Bernard||English, Michael|
|Atkinson, Norman||Cooper, A. E.||Evans, Fred|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Ewing, Henry|
|Barnes, Michael||Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Faulds, Andrew|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Crawshaw, Richard||Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Cronin, John||Fisher,Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood)|
|Beaney, Alan||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Dalyell, Tam||Foley, Maurice|
|Bishop, E. S.||Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Foot, Michael|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Davidson, Arthur||Ford, Ben|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Davies, Denzil (Lianelly)||Forrester, John|
|Booth, Albert||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Fraser, John (Norwood)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn Arthur||Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Freeson, Reginald|
|Bradley, Tom||Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Galpern, Sir Myer|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Deakins, Eric||Garrett, W. E.|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Delargy, H. J.||Gilbert, Dr. John|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Dempsey, James||Golding, John|
|Buchan, Norman||Doig, Peter||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Dormand, J. D.||Gourlay, Harry|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Grant, George (Morpeth)|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)|
|Cant, R. B.||Driberg, Tom||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Duffy, A. E. P.||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mackenzie, Gregor||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mackie, John||Roper, John|
|Hamling, William||Mackintosh, John P.||Rose, Paul B.|
|Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Hardy, Peter||McNamara, J. Kevin||Sandelson, Neville|
|Harper, Joseph||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Hattersley, Roy||Marks, Kenneth||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Marquand, David||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Marsden, F.||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Hooson, Emlyn||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Horam, John||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Sillars, James|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Mayhew, Christopher||Silverman, Julius|
|Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Meacher, Michael||Skinner, Dennis|
|Huckfield, Leslie||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Small, William|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Mendelson, John||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Millan, Bruce||Spearing, Nigel|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Milne, Edward||Stallard, A. W.|
|Hunter, Adam||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Steel, David|
|Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)||Molloy, William||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Janner, Greville||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Stoddart David (Swindon)|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Moyle, Roland||Strang, Gavin|
|John Brynmor||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Murray, Ronald King||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Oakes, Gordon||Swain, Thomas|
|Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Ogden, Eric||Taverne, Dick|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||O'Halloran, Michael||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||O'Malley, Brian||Tinn, James|
|Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Oram, Bert||Tomney, Frank|
|Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Orbach, Maurice||Torney, Tom|
|Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Orme, Stanley||Tuck, Raphael|
|Judd, Frank||Oswald, Thomas||Urwin, T. W.|
|Kaufman, Gerald||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Kerr, Russell||Padley, Walter||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Kinnock, Neil||Paget, R. T.||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Palmer, Arthur||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Lambie, David||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Wallace, George|
|Lamond, James||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)||Watkins, David|
|Latham, Arthur||Pavitt, Laurie||Weitzman, David|
|Lawson, George||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Pendry, Tom||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Pentland, Norman||Whitlock, William|
|Leonard, Dick||Perry, Ernest G.||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Lestor, Miss Joan||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Prescott, John||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Probert, Arthur||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Lipton, Marcus||Rankin, John||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Reed, D. (Sedegefield)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)||Woof, Robert|
|McBride, Neil||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|McCann, John||Richard, Ivor||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|McCartney, Hugh||Roberts, Rt. Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon)||Mr. Donald Coleman and|
|McElhone, Frank||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Mr. James Wellbeloved.|
|McGuire, Michael||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Main Question, as amended, put:—1786
§ The House divided: Ayes 306, Noes 268.1791
|Division No. 79.]||AYES||[10.12 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Berry, Hn. Anthony||Bruce-Gardyne, J.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Biffen, John||Bryan, Paul|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Biggs-Davison, John||Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N&M)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Blaker, Peter||Buck, Antony|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Bullus, Sir Eric|
|Astor, John||Body, Richard||Burden, F. A.|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Boscawen, Robert||Butler, Adam (Bosworth)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Bossom, Sir Clive||Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Bowden, Andrew||Carlisle, Mark|
|Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Batsford, Brian||Braine, Sir Bernard||Channon, Paul|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Bray, Ronald||Chapman, Sydney|
|Bell, Ronald||Brewis, John||Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Brinton, Sir Tatton||Chichester-Clark, R.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Churchill, W. S.|
|Benyon, W.||Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Clark, William (Surrey, E.)|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Clegg, Walter||Howell, David (Guildford)||Percival, Ian|
|Cockeram, Eric||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John|
|Cooke, Robert||Hunt, John||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Coombs, Derek||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Cooper, A. E.||Iremonger, T. L.||Price, David (Eastieigh)|
|Cordle, John||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||James, David||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Cormack, Patrick||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Costain, A. P.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Critchley, Julian||Jessel, Toby||Raison Timothy|
|Crouch, David||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Crowder, F. P.||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Curran, Charles||Jopling, Michael||Redmond, Robert|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.James||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Dean, Paul||Kilfedder, James||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Kimball, Marcus||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Dixon, Piers||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Kinsey, J. R.||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kirk, Peter||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Kitson, Timothy||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Dykes, Hugh||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Eden, Sir John||Knox, David||Rost, Peter|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Lambton, Lord||Royle, Anthony|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lane, David||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Langford-Holt, Sir John||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Emery, Peter||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Farr, John||Le Marchant, Spencer||Scott, Nicholas|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Fell, Anthony||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Longden, Sir Gilbert||Sharples, Richard|
|Fidler, Michael||Loveridge, John||Shaw, Michael(Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Luce, R. N.||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Simeons, Charles|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||MacArthur, Ian||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||McCrindle, R. A.||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Foster, Sir John||McLaren, Martin||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Flower, Norman||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Soref, Harold|
|Fox, Marcus||McMaster, Stanley||Speed, Keith|
|Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'ftord & Stone)||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Sproat, Iain|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||Stainton, Keith|
|Gardner, Edward||Maddan, Martin||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Madel, David||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Maginnis, John E.||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Stokes, John|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan||Marten, Neil||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Goodhart, Philip||Mather, Carol||Sutcliffe, John|
|Goodhew, Victor||Maude, Angus||Tapsell, Peter|
|Gorst, John||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Gower, Raymond||Mawby, Ray||Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Gray, Hamish||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Green, Alan||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Tebbit, Norman|
|Grieve, Percy||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Temple, John M.|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Miscampbell, Norman||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Grylls, Michael||Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Gummer, J. Selwyn||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Gurden, Harold||Moate, Roger||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Molyneaux, James||Tilney, John|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Money, Ernie||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Halt-Davis, A. G. F.||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Trew, Peter|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Monro, Hector||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Hannam, John (Exeter)||Montgomery, Fergus||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||More, Jasper||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Hastings, Stephen||Morrison, Charles||Waddington, David|
|Havers, Michael||Murton, Oscar||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Hawkins, Paul||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Neave, Airey||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Wall, Patrick|
|Heseltine, Michael||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Walters, Dennis|
|Hicks, Robert||Normanton, Tom||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Higgins, Terence L.|
|Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Nott, John||Warren, Kenneth|
|Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Onslow, Cranley||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Holland, Philip||Orr, Capt. L. P. S||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Holt, Miss Mary||Osborn, John||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Hordern, Peter||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Hornby, Richard||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Wilkinson, John|
|Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard||Worsley, Marcus||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.||Mr. Reginald Eyre and Mr. Bernard Weatherill|
|Abse, Leo||Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.||McGuire, Michael|
|Albu, Austen||Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'hamLadywood)||Mackenzie, Gregor|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Mackie, John|
|Allen, Scholefield||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Foley, Maurice||McNamara, J, Kevin|
|Ashley, Jack||Foot, Michael||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Ashton, Joe||Ford, Ben||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Atkinson, Norman||Forrester, John||Marks, Kenneth|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Marquand, David|
|Barnes, Michael||Freeson, Reginald||Marsden, F.|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Marshall, Dr. Edmund|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Garrett, W. E.||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Beaney, Alan||Gilbert, Dr. John||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Meacher, Michael|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Golding, John||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Mendelson, John|
|Bishop, E. S.||Gourlay, Harry|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Millan, Bruce|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Booth, Albert||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Milne, Edward|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Mitchell, R. C.(S'hampton, Itchen)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Molloy, William|
|Bradley, Tom||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Hamling, William||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Hardy, Peter||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Harper, Joseph||Moyle, Roland|
|Buchan, Norman||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hattersley, Roy||Murray, Ronald King|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Oakes, Gordon|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Hooson. Emlyn||Ogden, Eric|
|Cant, R. B.||Horam, John||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Carmichael, Neil||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||O'Malley, Brian|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Oram, Bert|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Huckfield, Leslie||Orbach, Maurice|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Orme, Stanley|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Cohen, Stanley||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Padley, Walter|
|Concannon, J. D.||Hunter, Adam||Paget, R. T.|
|Conian, Bernard||Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Janner, Greville||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Cronin, John||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Pendry, Tom|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||John, Brynmor||Pentland, Norman|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Dalyell, Tam||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Prescott, John|
|Davidson, Arthur||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Probert, Arthur|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Judd, Frank||Rankin, John|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Kaufman, Gerald||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Deakins, Eric||Kerr, Russell||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Kinnock, Neil||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Lambie, David||Richard, Ivor|
|Dempsey, James||Lamond, James||Roberts, Rt.Hn. Goronwy(Caernarvon)|
|Doig, Peter||Latham, Arthur||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Dormand, J. D.||Lawson, George||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Leadbitter, Ted||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Roper, John|
|Driberg, Tom||Leonard, Dick||Rose, Paul B.|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lestor, Miss Joan||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Dunn, James A.||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Sandelson, Neville|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-underLyne)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lipton, Marcus||Shore,Rt.Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lomas, Kenneth||Short,Rt.Hn. Edward(N'c;tle-u-Tyne)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton.N.E.)|
|Ellis, Tom||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|English, Michael||McBride, Neil||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Evans, Fred||McCann, John||Sillars, James|
|Ewing, Henry||McCartney, Hugh||Silverman, Julius|
|Faulds. Andrew||McElhone, Frank||Skinner, Dennis|
|Small, William||Taverne, Dick||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)||Thomas,Rt.Hn. George (Cardiff,W.)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Spearing, Nigel||Tinn, James||Whitlock, William|
|Spriggs, Leslie||Tomney, Frank||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Stallard, A. W.||Torney, Tom||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Steel, David||Tuck, Raphael||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)||Urwin, T. W.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)||Varley, Eric G.||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Stoddart, David (Swindon)||Wainwright, Edwin||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)||Woof, Robert|
|Strang, Gavin||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.||Wallace, George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||Watkins, David||Mr. Donald Coleman and Mr. James Wellbeloved.|
|Swain, Thomas||Weitzman, David|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
That this House, concerned with the level of unemployment in Wales, approves the substan-
tial measures Her Majesty's Government are taking to stimulate long-term economic growth, and is confident that the policies of Her Majesty's Government will lead to an increase in general prosperity which will benefit the Principality.