HC Deb 09 April 1973 vol 854 cc913-4
8. Mr. Probert

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he has received the inspector's report on the inquiry into the proposals for a new town at Llantrisant.

Mr. Peter Thomas

No, Sir.

Mr. Probert

Does not the Secretary of State agree that, whatever the contents of that report may be when he has received it, he should examine now with extreme caution any proposals for a new town at Llantrisant in view of the thousands of projected jobs lost or likely to be lost at Ebbw Vale and Cardiff and the consequent loss of jobs in the Valley communities if such a scheme were to go ahead?

Mr. Thomas

Complex issues are involved. I shall take my decision on Llantrisant when I have received and studied the report of the public local inquiry.

Mr. John

Does not the strategy of the Welsh Office in this matter as in so many others now depend on the talks that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is to have in Brussels about regional policy? Are we to understand his previous answer to mean that different areas of Wales arc to be classed differently—in other words, that there will be some central areas of Wales which will not qualify for regional aid and some peripheral areas which will? Can he assure us that all Wales will be treated in like case?

Mr. Thomas

I am sure the hon. Gentleman tries to be helpful but he is being singularly unhelpful because the negotiations have not even started yet. The Commission has not yet produced a consultative document. Once it is produced, that document will then have to be discussed by the various institutions. After that, there will be a final document for discussion and negotiations will start. Until a decision has been taken, it is impossible for me to give an answer such as the hon. Gentleman asks for.

Mr. Alec Jones

Would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that the best news that he could announce for the Valleys of South Wales is an immediate decision to abandon the Llantrisant project?

Mr. Thomas

If the hon. Gentleman expects me to agree to that, he must be very strange. I have not yet received the report.

Mr. George Thomas

Will the Secretary of State bear in mind when he receives the report that local authorities in Glamorganishire are deeply concerned about the proposed expenditure of over £300 million at Llantrisant since this money could be used to revive and strengthen older communities?

Mr. Thomas

I will certainly bear in mind all relevant considerations before arriving at a decision.