HC Deb 01 May 1972 vol 836 cc15-6
17. Mr. Probert

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what further steps he is taking to implement the recommendations of the Welsh Council's Report, "Wales: Employment and the Economy."

Mr. Peter Thomas

I will keep the report under review. A very substantial part of it has already been implemented through the Government's economic measures.

Mr. Probert

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there is growing concern in South Wales now at the recent trend whereby long-established factories in South Wales are closing and withdrawing to places in non-development areas? One such closure is taking place at present in my constituency, and another is taking place in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John). What does the right hon. and learned Gentleman propose to do to rectify this position very quickly, before the rot sets in?

Mr. Thomas

The question asked was about the Council's recommendations. To a very large extent, the recommendations of the Welsh Council were covered by the massive measures announced in the recent Budget and in our White Paper on regional policy, and these measures have been warmly welcomed by the Welsh Council.

Sir A. Meyer

Can my right hon. and learned Friend think of a single suggestion emanating from the other side of the House which would prompt firms to set up profitable enterprises in Wales and thus to improve employment there?

Mr. Thomas

Unless right hon. and hon. Members opposite radically change the policies they were pursuing when in Government, I cannot.

Mr. John

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman so ignorant of the statistics that he does not know that firms were coming in at a massive rate under the so-called unprofitable Labour Government but are not coming in at all now? Will he stop being complacent about the problem of Welsh unemployment? Is he now pretending that the answer to unemployment is what his hon. Friend the Member for Conway (Mr. Wyn Roberts) said last week, namely that one million unemployed is not such a grim prospect after all?

Mr. Thomas

The hon. Gentleman is not correct. There has been a considerable upsurge of interest in Wales in the last few months.