§ 4. Mr. Roy Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from the county borough of Newport concerning development area status for the town; what reply he has sent; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Thomas
I have received no recent representations on development area status from the county borough of Newport.
§ Mr. Hughes
Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman appreciate that Newport has the finest communications network in Wales but that, coinciding with this, there have been two major closures, the docks are to lose 3 million tons of iron ore trade annually and many hundreds of redundancies have been declared in various establishments throughout the 910 town? What is the intention of the Government towards Newport? Is it to turn it into some sort of a glamorous Clapham Junction with all industry going elsewhere?
§ Mr. Thomas
I do not think that the hon. Gentleman does any service to Newport by painting a gloomy picture. I am aware of the arguments of Newport for development area status, and the status of all assisted areas is kept under review. I remind the hon. Gentleman that the unemployment rate in Newport is below the average for Wales and significantly lower than the average for the Welsh development areas. There has been an appreciable decline in the unemployment rate over the past 12 months.